Playful talk turned into shoving match on the stage at The Novo—just a mere walk from where the two unbeaten heavyweight champions will meet December 1 at Staples Center.
LOS ANGELES — Another stop on the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury international press tour, another fracas on stage that saw both fighters’ teams separate them from blows.
Is it for show? Who knows? One thing is for certain: these two guys know how to sell a fight. Today they dropped into The Novo in downtown Los Angeles—walking distance from where the two will tango December 1 at the STAPLES Center and live on Showtime PPV (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
While tempers might have flared in front of the Showtime cameras, this pair of heavyweight giants aren’t completely filled with hate towards one another.
“I like him a little bit,” a smiling Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) told Showtime’s Jim Gray.
“I don’t like him, I love him,” Fury (27-0, 19 KOs) countered. “I love the guy. But it’s a fight. We can do all the stuff on stage. I can walk around here and I can talk as good as any man in the country.
“But when it comes to the actual fight, it’s going to be a helluva fight,” Fury continued. “Deontay Wilder—massive puncher, me—skillful boxer. It’s going to be an epic night.”
The two traded one-liners and barbs like we hope they’ll trade straight right hands and hooks in two months. It’s the first pay-per-view fight for both guys in the United States, and both the lineal and WBC heavyweight titles are on the line. The winner certainly can stake a claim to being the best heavyweight in the world.
“You know what I come to do and you know what I’m coming to do December 1,” Wilder said. “When you come to see fights you come to see somebody get knocked out. You’re not coming to see 12-round fights. I know you’re coming to see some skills but you’re coming to see this man’s body on the canvas and that’s what I’m going to deliver to you.”
Wilder asked which foot Fury wanted to use when he stepped over his body after scoring the knockout.
“Deontay Wilder needs Tyson Fury but Tyson Fury doesn’t need Deontay Wilder,” Fury replied. “I chose Deontay Wilder as an easy victim. This is going to be the easiest fight of my career.”
Though it was mostly playful, tensions rose when Wilder and Fury went face-to-face.
“I’m ready,” Wilder said.
“Well let’s go then!” Fury shot back. “Let’s put the fight forward to this weekend, you (expletive)!”
The two exchanged shoves as their entourages quickly intervened. Wilder tried getting one more shove in as Fury egged him on over the microphone. Smaller security guys for The Novo tried to squash the skirmish, but the 6’7” Wilder and 6’9” Fury towered over the crowd continuing their banter to the crowd’s delight.
If the fight carries half the heat of the press tour, we’re in for a treat. It’s been 15 years since Lennox Lewis survived a scare from Vitali Klitschko at STAPLES Center in the swan song of his career. This fight is in that same ballpark in terms of significance.
There’s a reason Showtime is giving this fight the All Access treatment (a three-part ALL ACCESS: WILDER VS. FURY premieres Saturday, Nov. 17 on SHOWTIME). Few fights of this magnitude feature two guys who can talk the talk and back it up. With a combined record of 67-0 with 58 knockouts, they’ve proven they’re up to the task.
For a closer look at Wilder vs Fury, check out our fight page.