They were getting all pretty darn well in the leadup, weren’t they?
Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder had jawed at each other, but you got the sense that there was a bit of a WWE sort of aura to it, even when Fury got ramped up and jawing, with his A game yapping.
But now, just maybe, there’s genuine animosity in the air, if you judge by the mood and atmospherircs at the Wednesday press conference which saw a scrum form, and which was capped by a rather majestic pissed off monologue by Wilder at reporter Radio Rahim.
Tom Brown is promoting the heavyweight faceoff, pitting the 6-7 American versus the 6-9 British Traveller, and he told NYFights that he had learned from the press conference they did in LA, which ended with Fury taunting Wilder to come at him now. One or two folks were mildly trampled, and Wilder advisor Shelly Finkel took a tumble. “I hired six big dudes, all over 6-5,” the CA based deal-maker Brown told me.
Indeed, you saw the big lads present and interceding between Fury, before he took off his shirt to 1) show off his admirable physique, as he was down from near 400 pounds and 2) take his shirt off, because why the hell not?..and Wilder, on Wednesday.
Yep, Brown learned from the last time—“I’m a lil too old to jump in there!”— and so a lid was put on the hjinks, as Jimmy Lennon told watchers where to go to see the animosity play out for real. Brown told me he thinks this wasn’t theatricality on display, that both athletes are in combat mode, and that intensity spilled over. He knows that the chill mode from the opening presser might not hold to the final presser, when guys understand the stakes, that one will win, one will lose, one will be in line for an AJ payday…and one won’t.
So this was real deal animosity? “No doubt about it,” Brown said. “These are two big personalities and I think the casual fan is being drawn into this fight. It’s a crossover type fight. Since the opening, press conference, this has piqued the interest of the casual fan. And I think they dislike each other now.” You heard multiple F bombs from Wilder in that Rahim interview (3:47 the fun starts); yes, he's wired up, ready to seek to separate Fury's head from his shoulders.
Brown said that if Fury gets hit with the right hand that Steve Cunningham managed to land a few years ago, it will be lights out for Fury..and that Wilder is an offensive dynamo, whose aggression will be able to manufacture drama even if Fury is in smart defender mode for much of the time.
So he thinks tix buyers and PPV patrons will get a good bang for their buck? “I truly do,” Brown stated. “This is a fight the sport needs. We are at a high and this is the heavyweights, and this will deliver.”
My three cents: I am a believer. I think that if Wilder is feeling 80% of the intensity toward Fury that he was feeling when talking about how black people have been fighting off the ropes for 400 years, then Fury is in trouble.
PS Rahim and Wilder hashed it out not long after the heated monologue.