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Wilder Vs Fury: Wild Thoughts



“But baby Ooooo, Yooou… Neee-eee-eee-eee-eee-eeded Me.

—Rihanna, who knows a thing or two about “Wild Thoughts” 

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(NEW YORK): After watching Tyson Fury lure Deontay Wilder into the club for a Ludacris presser Tuesday at Pier 86, “Just like that” their December 1 showdown on SHOWTIME PPV at Staples in Los Angeles went Hollywood, where this 3-city “Mayweather V McGregor Lite” tour came to a fitting end. But nothing will top stop #2.

Where there’s smoke there’s usually fire, and like “an intruder” aboard the USS Intrepid, a very bold and brazen Fury (27 – 0 please, 19KOs), full of gypsy bravado, appeared to arrive from London via submarine from the sky before submerging Wilder (40 – 0 really?, 39KOs) on a red carpet in a Big Apple not quite sure if it wants to take a bite.

C’mon… We know better. New Yorkers keep a fully charged battery in the bullshit detector and this event may have malfunctioned all of them.

On a cool and mild fall day missing only Jim McMahon and Hulk Hogan following their rather predictable dust-up at the London press opener, Fury and Wilder went Ringling Bros. on an historic aircraft carrier to christen the past before a curious Gotham crowd enjoying the circus. After winning round 1 in London by getting Wilder to fall apart emotionally, Fury calmly went British Hip-Hop on the urban “Bomb Squad”; owning the stage with a down-to-earth swagger in between constantly insulting, belittling and ultimately upstaging the charismatic yet still largely unproven WBC heavyweight champion. As was “The Notorious” case with Mayweather, it was strange to see a loud mouthed white guy undress and mute a black heavyweight champion with a natural bullhorn.

These two are not yet legends, and perhaps unlikely to ever be considered such, but imagine Gerry Cooney embarrassing Muhammad Ali on stage in front of the world with his mouth. If that’s not enough, try to fathom Eminem owning Tupac Shakur far before ever running into an “8 Mile” journey. “I’m bigger in New York than you are! Nobody knows who you are!” said Fury (among so many other really crass things), which is the very reason why these two are going to square off.

Wilder needs Fury.

In a mock poll conducted on the way over to Pier 86 and Midtown West from Times Square, I showed about 100 confirmed sports fans a picture of a triumphant Wilder after his thriller over Luiz Ortiz in March and roughly 70% of them didn’t know who the hell he was. It was as disturbing as it was perplexing. Wilder will always be more Alabama than Brooklyn or more Apollo Creed than Clubber Lang; neither man is nothing without the other, but Wilder has, at times, been asked to be both before truly being Madison Ave material. Its probably been a mistake to keep him away from Hollywood to truly play the role of WBC heavyweight champion. What he’s been missing is a modern Max Baer presented like Andre “The Giant” in a pair of Everlast trunks.

Almost three years ago now, Fury breathed new life into the division by upsetting a “25 defense world champion” in former lineal champ Wladimir Klitschko as he called it. This prompted a spicey Wilder to quip, “…And you get [hard] off of that every time.” But Fury, a cult of personality, only proved memorable against Wlad moreso by showing up as a fat ass Batman at one of these press events than by actually beating “The Man”. I mean, he won, but Anthony Joshua knocked Wlad the fog out in an absolute classic. Meanwhile, Fury, whose dreadful bout with Klitschko is utterly unrewindable, celebrated victory by appearing to oddly resent it. It left a personality vacuum in his space, leaving Wilder without a dance partner wild enough to captivate audiences together. So when I asked promoter Lou DiBella about an assumed date of April 13, 2019 at the subliminal behest of his pesky rival, Eddie Hearn, Lou blew an understandable gasket on my ass. It was almost as if to say: “Do you know how much shit I had to go through in order to get this fuckin guy back (Fury)?” Moments later, Lou slaps me on the chest and goes, “Look, Eddie was just talking shit and trying to play games. You know that!”

Of course he was. Why would SHOWTIME foray into unchartered PPV waters with Wilder in L.A. and essentially commit to a DAZN fight with Joshua in April 2019 before the numbers came back on Wilder V Fury? It only makes sense if you’re Anthony Joshua’s promoter and you want the WBA/WBO/IBF/IBO heavyweight champion looming over someone else’s event. But what Hearn did was put a massive amount of pressure on Wilder to produce something as magical (and as real) against Fury as what Joshua did to Klitschko last April. The epic come-from-behind banger over Ortiz, has now been trumped by AJ’s smashing of a Russian Mike Tyson-like Alexander Povetkin; a man Wilder was not allowed to face for PED reasons genuine or contrived, depending on who you are. Either way, in lieu of HBO Boxing’s departure and subsequent failure in the PPV sector which lead to its demise, December 1st figures to be of equally massive importance to both Wilder and SHOWTIME. Not only does Wilder need to stop Fury in the same spectacular fashion he did Ortiz, but the network is essentially banking on it.

More than 14,000 frenzied fans jammed into a wild Barclays Center on March 3 for Wilder V Ortiz, just as 1.1 million viewers tuned in to watch on SHOWTIME. According to metrics, that automatically made the potential for Wilder V Fury outside of the operation budget for a fight on standard SHOWTIME programming. If 1.1 million watched a largely unknown Wilder against an unpopular Cuban monster for free, the consensus is that the wildly popular Fury will help put over 18,000 asses inside of Staples in LA and help considerable portion of those fans mash “Buy” on their remote controls. This was confirmed by a gracious (and candid) Exec. V.P. of Sports Stephen Espinoza, looking for Wilder V Fury to be a mainstream hit as 2018 comes to an end. Because SHOWTIME is generally averse to the PPV model that doomed HBO and has long partnered with Al Haymon and his #FREEBOXING4ALL slogan bearer Premiere Boxing Champions, Espinoza…

..wanted to clarify any semblance of incongruity with respect to a pivot in philosophy and gave NYF’s a few exclusive thoughts to remember. Here’s a few things that stood out from Espinoza, whose hood card remains good everywhere after famously rocking that “FREE MEEK MILL” hoodie.

On why Wilder V Fury is on SHOWTIME PPV  

In my view, PPV shouldn’t be a crutch when you want to do a fight and you don’t have the budget. There are lots of fights I’d like to do that I don’t have the budget to do. If you put a fight on PPV and it does 40K, 50K, or even 100K, that just shows it shouldn’t have been made. But then there are certain fights that won’t happen unless they have the revenue stream of PPV. I have to give it to these guys because PPV is basically eat what you kill. So if they’re going to not talk to you guys, go into training camp and not market the fight then their paycheck will reflect that. If they’re going to work their asses of and show the personalities we know they have, then the results will show. Its the purest form of Capitalism. I’d love to put this on SHOWTIME, but I couldn’t pay the license fee to get them to fight. Financially it would just wreck the budget. But when you do it – occasionally – for the fights that need it, I don’t think the fans mind that because the value is there. Its when you go to the well too often with fights that don’t really merit PPV, that’s when you’re hurting your business.

On the risk of having Wilder fight Fury, which could derail Joshua V Wilder 

Look, and I’m not selling, there’s risk here. Everyone knows Deontay is a murderous puncher but he is not the most skilled boxer; we have the most skilled boxer here (pointing in the direction of a departed Fury). So the question is, will Deontay be able to catch him? Because if he doesn’t then its going to be a long night.

On Eddie Hearn’s ultimatum to put a deal in place for Joshua V Wilder on April 13, 2019 in advance of December 1

If he’s true to his word and he means what he says about wanting a deal before December 1, then he knows that isn’t going to happen. Neither Wilder nor Fury is interested iin that (distraction) and he knows that. They’re not going to be interested in signing any deal before December 1. Its not customary and there’s really no reason that that deadline is there. There’s still a few months before the fight and there’s plenty of time to negotiate after December 1, so its a really strange statement to make from someone you assume wants the fight. That seems like creating an obstacle where there isn’t one or shouldn’t be one. So if he’s true to word and he insists on that point, then that’s bad news for the likelihood of the winner facing Anthony Joshua.

On SHOWTIME PPV expectations for Wilder V Fury

I think in the abstract if you look at the PPV debuts of whether its Mayweather, De La Hoya or even Canelo, they’re all pretty consistent in the 300’s range. I would say if we’re in that range then we’re in good shape, because historically that’s where some of the biggest stars have launched. Now having said that I think we have a real opportunity because its the heavyweight championship featuring two great personalities. Could it become something much bigger than that? Absolutely. Its up to all of us to put in the work to get it out there.

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So at 500K he’d be ecstatic. As for Wednesday’s shenanigans in Lala Land, I leave you with Ted Greene.

Don’t you love a farce? My fault, I fear
I thought that you’d want what I want, sorry my dear
But where are the clowns? Send in the clowns
Don’t bother they’re here   


Senior correspondent for NY Fights and author of upcoming book, "The Fist Club." Conscious indie recording artist "T@z" and humanist advocate for the Green Party.