Wilder Quizzed Ahead of Fury Rematch
By Robert Ecksel on February 19, 2020
He has experienced several wonderful years in succession. (Amanda Wescott/Showtime)
With Saturday's rematch between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury at the MGM Grand Garden just days away, both men have shared their thoughts about the fight. Like Fury before him, Wilder met the press during a recent conference call and, again like his opponent, was his usual talkative self. The text of his remarks was edited for brevity.
“Yes, baby,” Wilder said. “Hey thank you, guys. What can I say? It’s been a wonderful year for me. Last year was wonderful and this year is a wonderful year starting up as well. I’m just looking forward to February 22. It’s a great moment in time for me. So many different events are happening, and of course we know it’s Black History Month as well, so I’m looking forward to providing my service to my greatness on black history month and like I said, making Tyson Fury a black history trivia question.”
Wilder has experienced several wonderful years in succession. I believe his right hand is the reason.
Like Fury, Wilder has morphed from gangly prospect to global conglomerate in record time. He knows how the game is played. He too wants a seat at the table and now self-edits. Boxing benefits when they keep that wilder stuff to themselves. But for a writer burning shoe leather chasing tips up and down fire escapes and in and out of cabs, it can sometimes feel like panning for gold. Deontay, after thanking his partners in Wilder Inc., suggested “everyone pick up that remote and click that button please.”
“The first fight was an amazing fight,” Wilder said. “It was a very controversial fight. We left people confused about what happened or who won. This is where we come and settle everything. This is judgment day.”
Then he asked, “Any questions?”
The first reporter cut to the chase. Where did Wilder get his power?
“I’ve always had power,” Wilder replied. “I always tell the story of how my grandmother said I was anointed by God, that God is trying to use me for things. It’s just all about living, coming into this world and finding your purpose in life. I think I found one of my purposes in life, and of course that’s whooping ass… I’ve just been blessed tremendously.”
Another blessing is the gash Fury received from Otto Wallin in his last fight. That baby need 47 stitches. Scar tissue doesn’t grow on trees. It takes time to form. Has there been time enough for it to heal completely? Not according to the experts.
“If that eye cut open again and it got blood in his face, then that’s going to be up to the doctors, because I’m coming in for the kill,” said Wilder. “I don’t play around at all and especially with this fight right here. So I’m looking forward to this fight, this is everything to me, this is the breaking the tie of consecutive title defenses with me and Muhammad Ali, my all-time great idol. I’m looking forward to setting history with that.”
Mentioning Wilder and Ali in the same breath may seem sacrilegious, but Wilder has earned his due. He graduated magna cum laude from the School of Hard Knocks and returns the favor when the opportunity arises. But before he starts trying to scramble Fury’s brain, he wants to get inside his head, the old psyche job at which he hero, Muhammad Ali, was so proficient.
Wilder said about Fury, “Deep down in his heart, I really feel that he’s nervous. I really feel that he’s very, very nervous from the first time of what happened. When you knock a person down and give him a concussion, you never forget that. You never forget who did it to you and how they did it. And when you crawl back in the ring with him a second time to relive that moment all over again, there has to be stress; you definitely can’t sleep at night.”
I can imagine Fury not sleeping at night, tossing and turning, all 6-feet-9-inches of him rattling the foundation upon which so much depends. His personal demons may sometimes keep him awake, but there’s no proof that Wilder is among them. Fury is confident, he has every reason to be confident, and his time he says he'll knock Wilder out. That might be a leaked game plan. Or it might be a red herring, one of Fury’s Jedi mind tricks.
Fortunately for fight fans, Wilder has tricks of his own. He summed it up.
“An interesting fight and short night. You can count me in, baby.”
Fury respects Wilder’s power. He knows what to expect. He’s had a taste.
The feeling isn’t mutual.
“Going back on that fight, reminiscing and going back in that fight, I can’t tell you any rounds where I felt like I was threatened by his power,” said Wilder. “I don’t respect his power. Like I said before, and many quoted me on it and you can continue, that he has pillow-esque fists, that’s how soft they were in that fight. He’s just a tall big man that can move around a ring and that’s about it. As far as power, there’s none there.”
When asked about Fury’s ring IQ, his calling card as it were, Wilder said, “He has to have the confidence to think that he has some type of skill in this sport to survive in this sport, especially at the elite level. You have to have some kind of confidence to differentiate you from the rest. So he’s only expressing what he feels.
“Anything that Fury is saying he’s going to do, I really don’t care at all. As far as what he’s saying and what he says he’s going to do—what he’s saying and what he’s going to do, I think are going to be two different things. See who is all talk, and who’s not. May God be with him on that night of that fight, because God may have mercy, but I won’t.”