By Scoop Malinowski
There’s always been a sense that the Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder fight is a calculated business collaboration with two purposes – to raise each of their public profiles and to discredit and diminish the reigning supreme Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.
And today’s press conference had the appearance of a publicity stunt to stimulate the public to buy the Fury vs Wilder heavyweight bout as an artificial replacement for Joshua’s soccer stadium filling championship fights.
It’s more than clear the Wilder camp does not want to fight Joshua though all they do is constantly project their duckery on Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn.
Wilder and his team of protectors have chosen the Fury option instead of the riskier Joshua option because they think it’s better for their long term plans. Fury is coming off a two year break and two comeback fights this year that were less than sensational vs substandard opposition. Fury today insisted that he was the one who picked Wilder, not the other way around.
Today’s press conference featured the typical threats and yelling and posturing but nothing outrageously unscripted like the infamous Mike Tyson-Lennox Lewis assault and brawl which looked like a desperate attempt by Tyson to try to intimidate Lewis to try to gain a mental edge but it backfired miserably when Lewis stood his ground and made Tyson look like an uncivilized idiot.
The 6-foot-7-inch Wilder and the two inches taller Fury traded insults and threats and subsequently came face to face when Fury demanded to feel Wilder’s renowned punching power. As Fury barked verbal disrespect at him, Wilder finally shoved Fury who stepped back and then marched forward again, only to be blocked by security. Shelly Finkel and Frank Warren stood around nearby watching with no concern or worry that a brawl might erupt, it was as if they were in on the script and knew it was just pre-planned bluster. Their body languages suggested they knew what the limits were and no punches would be unleashed.
But it was all a good show. “Can we have a little spar now?” Fury asked Wilder before they got out of their chairs and came together, closer for the viewing press and photographers to view. “Let’s have a little tickle. Come on. Let me feel this power of the Alabama slammer. Come on. Let’s have a little body spar. I wanna feel it.”
Wilder kept his cool and played along with the gag. He replied, “This is no game at this point. This is no game. This is real. As you see, we’re at the press conference. This is a real fight. So we’re announcing this fight is on. So at this point in time, my mindset is on. You’re gonna feel every power you need to feel. You’re gonna feel everything you need to feel. Let’s do it. Let’s do it. Let’s make it happen. Let’s make it happen. Let’s make it happen. It’s getting real, baby.”
Fury of course, as always, offered a response.
“You think it’s a game,” Fury said. “I’m gonna punch your face in. There ain’t no playing, either. I don’t play games, especially not with bums like you. You’ve got power, have you? You think you can hit a bit? Let me feel it. Let me feel that power, BOY.”
Was it real? Or was it a carefully crafted WWF episode to sell a fight that could easily fall through the cracks in the over-saturated American December sporting event market. Fury and Wilder are not proven, household names that can command and generate major revenues. They are both largely unknown but colorful, misfit, clownish characters who may not be able to sell in the US market. Unless they can produce a captivating pre-fight hype up that attracts transcending fan and media interest.
Was today’s showbiz press conference successful? Only time will tell.
Fury, 27-0, 19 knockouts, and Wilder, 40-0, 39 KOs, will do it again tomorrow (Tuesday) at the USS Intrepid in New York City and then a third press conference in Los Angeles. The two heavyweight behemoths will clash on Showtime pay-per-view fight December 1 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.