Deontay Wilder still doesn’t believe ‘till this day that Tyson Fury deserved any better than a draw in their first fight. Nor does the defending heavyweight titlist believe his divisional rival can improve on that performance, much less match his power.
“I still think Tyson has pillows as fists,” Wilder (42-0-1, 41KOs) insisted to Fox Sports’ Heidi Androl during a special pre-fight press conference held Saturday at Fox Studios in Los Angeles ahead of their rematch which takes place February 22 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. “He’s a skillful fighter, though. We can’t have it all. People say I don’t have the skills but I have the punch.”
Wilder’s power bailed him out from what would have been his first career loss, scoring a pair of late knockdowns which was good enough to punch his way to a split decision draw in their December 2018 clash. Most observers felt Fury deserved the nod, even after twice hitting the deck including a dramatic 12th round sequence where he miraculously rose from the canvas to recover and box his way to the final bell.
There were times when England’s Fury (29-0-1, 20KOs) took the lead in their fight, but for the most part out-finessed Wilder as he’s done nearly every opponent he’s faced to date. It’s how he soundly outpointed Wladimir Klitschko to win the World heavyweight championship in November 2015 and—for the most part—how he’s remained unbeaten as a pro.
With that, it came as a mild surprise when Fury not only insisted but doubled down on his claim of knocking out Wilder inside of two rounds in their upcoming rematch.
Few believe it will happen, if anyone at all. Of course, the man standing in the opposite corner on fight night doesn’t suspect it will be the case, although he doesn’t doubt that Fury will carry that mentality into the ring.
In fact, he’s banking on it.
“Who knows. Fury is crazy,” quipped Wilder, who attempts the 11th defense of the heavyweight strap he claimed five years ago this month. “One minute he’s one way, then he’s something else.
“Who knows what he’s gonna do. But if he says he’s gonna do that, all I can do is take him at his word. Like I say, speak it, believe it, receive it. But if you’re coming forward, you’re giving me what I need to knock you out.”
The rematch will headline a Pay-Per-View event presented as a joint venture between ESPN+ and Fox Sports.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox