LAS VEGAS — Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury walked onto a stage Wednesday at the south end of the MGM Grand Garden where, in 72 hours, they’re scheduled to fight for the WBC and lineal heavyweight titles in a joint Fox/ESPN pay-per-view bout that is expected to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in gross revenues.
Throughout the entire two-plus months of build-up, they were largely respectful to each other and refrained from trash-talking and over the top antics. That all changed when they were introduced to a national television audience and met nose-to-nose on stage.
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An extended staredown predictably turned into a shoving contest, with each man giving the other a two-handed push to the chest.
They were nose-to-nose and talking to each other when Wilder asked Fury, “You ever heard of David and Goliath? You know that story of what happened? It’s going to happen again.”
Now, there is something to be said for a 6-foot-7 heavyweight who says he’ll weigh around 230 on Saturday who has 41 knockouts in a 42-0-1 career casting himself as David, the small man in the Biblical story who slays the giant.
Fury laughed and said, “Even you don’t believe in David and Goliath. You couldn’t keep me down before when I was training like a dosser.”
Fury and Wilder fought to a split draw in Los Angeles on Dec. 1, 2018, in Fury’s third fight on the comeback trail after overcoming mental health problems, when he ballooned to 400 pounds.
Wilder knocked Fury down in the ninth and 12th rounds of their first fight, and he taunted Wilder that he joined Bermane Stiverne as the only men in Wilder’s 43 fights to go the distance with him.
“The 12th round of our first fight was a good round, and credit to Wilder, he got me with two of the best punches I have ever seen thrown in a 12 round heavyweight fight,” Fury said. “As we have seen, that has become very famous, the old knockdown of the ‘Gypsy King’ was very active online and all over the world. But the thing Wilder must be thinking is, ‘I hit that guy with my hardest punch in Round 12 and he got up. What do I have to do to keep him down?’”
Wilder, who said repeatedly that he’ll finish the job he started in the first one, said he believes that final round in Los Angeles has played on Fury’s mind since.
“Round 12 has been in his mind since Day 1,” Wilder said. “That’s why he ran away from the rematch. In the back of Fury’s mind, he will think about how I gave him a concussion and how he had no idea how he even got on the ground. So, I do believe that round is in his head, and if he says otherwise, he is lying.”
Wilder has been bet up to a -130 favorite at the MGM Grand Sports Book. Fury is +110. The over/under is 11 full rounds. Will go 11 full rounds is a -120 favorite, with won’t go 11 full even money.
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