LAS VEGAS – Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury pushed each other, traded insults and promised knockouts during an often-crass, unusually long press conference Wednesday at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Wilder told moderator Joe Tessitore that he doesn’t believe anything Fury says. The unbeaten WBC heavyweight champion particularly took issue with Fury’s contention that he is responsible for Wilder’s inclusion in “big-time boxing.”
“And don’t he dare ever, he better not ever say he got me to big-time boxing,” Wilder exclaimed. “Ever again, or I’m gonna slap him. Because if anybody brought anybody to big-time boxing, it’s me. Don’t ever forget! When I found you, you was strung out on coke. When I found you, you was a big house, contemplating about killing yourself. So, don’t you ever forget who brought you to big-time boxing! I drug you back! I brought you back! I provided food and put food on your table, for your family to eat. And I’m doing it for the second time. So, don’t you ever forget that. I brought you to big-time boxing.”
England’s Fury battled depression, cocaine addiction and alcoholism, and came close weighing 400 pounds prior to launching his comeback two years ago.
Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs) and Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs) made their respective pay-per-view debuts when they fought to a widely disputed split draw in December 2018 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. That fight reportedly produced approximately 325,000 buys, but it created the heavyweight division’s most noteworthy rivalry and enabled them to make more than $20 million apiece for their rematch Saturday night at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The 34-year-old Wilder was guaranteed more than $20 million for his last fight as well, a seventh-round knockout of Luis Ortiz on November 23 at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Fury also has made eight figures apiece for each of his two fights since his draw with Wilder 14 months ago. Neither of those fights – a second-round knockout of Germany’s Tom Schwarz and a 12-round, unanimous-decision defeat of Sweden’s Otto Wallin – drew large crowds to MGM Grand Garden Arena and T-Mobile Arena on June 15 and September 14, respectively.
According to Nevada State Athletic Commission reports, 5,489 tickets were sold to the Fury-Schwarz card and 3,577 tickets were sold to the Fury-Wallin show.
“Last time you were here, what did you do?,” Wilder said, referring to his win over Wallin. “Who came up and showed and saw you? How many? Fifteen [hundred] the first time, [3,500] the second time. When I came, how many showed up? Damn near sold it out. I sold the pay-per-view, too. And this time around, they here for me to see unfinished business.”
A total of 7,403 tickets were sold to the Wilder-Ortiz card, according to the NSAC. Regardless, Fury disputed Wilder’s version of how they’ve reached the point where they’re making so much money.
“Untrue,” Fury replied to Wilder. “All untrue. I was the man who beat Wladimir Klitschko and took over the division, not you. And I brought you to big-time boxing. I give you your biggest paydays you’ve ever had. … You’re a bum! Nobody knows you in your own country! No one knows you. You thought you could cherry-pick me, and you couldn’t, you little p-ssy!”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.