DEONTAY WILDER and his team deny that the scuffle with Tyson Fury at the end of Wednesday’s final press conference exposed a weakness in the WBC heavyweight champion.
The bad feeling had escalated suddenly.
Wilder suggested it was easier to be a success in Britain than in the USA, Fury – who has been fighting since he was child – said the opposite. Tyson then claimed his rival, who was a comparative late starter in boxing, is not the natural born fighter that he is.
By the time the two went head-to-head, it was a cultural row between Wilder the African American and Fury the Traveller. By the end of the day, the State Athletic Commission had contacted show promoters to warn them that a repeat of these scenes on Friday’s weigh-in could lead to purses being withheld.
“People always to make you explain things because they do not understand, they do not come from the same culture or world, they do not feel the same heartaches and pains,” Wilder said afterwards.
“People see it every day but are blind to it. It’s still going on today and people say ‘why are they so mad?’ If it happened to you or your culture then you would understand but people stick to their own naive way.
“This man talks about history, that he comes from a fighting tribe of 200 years, but we have been doing it for 400 years.
“I cannot even watch the news, do we deserve it? What have we done to people? I commend him on his accomplishments so far, but I am putting the end to it. He has never faced anyone with my power.”
That might be true, but the manner in which Wilder appeared to lose his cool undoubtedly encouraged Fury – a master of mind games – ahead of Saturday’s showdown at the Lons Angeles Staples Center.
“If Fury’s team think all that stuff was a sign of weakness then I cannot wait to show them strength on Saturday. They know it was not weakness they just needed something to say.
“You can sense fear, I know the look and the smell and he is scared and he should be.
“We do not play around, we put our lives on the line and I am a very dangerous person and I am in the right sport to be dangerous.
“The promotion has been amazing and I thank God for Tyson Fury because I have had to promote all of my old opponents. They were too scared to say what they would do.
“This event is big for me, all the guys before brought something to the table to take me to the next level.
“A lot of people doubted me before I fought a certain calibre of fighter… I want you to witness greatness.”
Jay Deas, Wilder’s co-trainer, told Boxing News afterwards that the row was merely a consequence of frayed tempers that are inevitable this close to a fight.
“It didn’t surprise me at all,” he said. “This is what happens when you put two fighters close together before they’re due to fight each other in a boxing ring.
“Deontay is in an exceptionally good place, believe me. People have suggested that we have underestimated Fury, but we have not underestimated him. How could we underestimate Fury when it is the biggest fight of Wilder’s life? Why would we do that?”
Did they encounter any problems finding the right sparring to prepare for Fury?
“There is no Tyson Fury clone,” Deas admitted. “They won’t have found a Deontay Wilder clone, they will have found it hard to practice for what Deontay is going to do.
“But what we did do was find sparring partners who could do certain things that Fury does. We have focused on different things with different sparring partners. We didn’t go looking for a 6ft 9ins man who fights like Tyson Fury because there is probably only one.
“We found boxers who are 6ft 4 and 6ft 5 who were quick on their feet like Tyson. Deontay has worked harder than he’s ever worked to win this fight.”
And the last word from Wilder, who promised that Wednesday’s chaos was not an act designed to sell the fight.
“Do not misconstrue my mindset, this is not for the cameras, this is real, I could not care less,” he said. “For 10 years I have been doing this so why should I care now.
“I have a job on Saturday night and I am great at it. I cannot wait to provide my service.
“My mindset is like no other. I was ready two weeks ago.”