Oct 7, 2021
Tyson Fury was jovial, sarcastic and helpful as he worked with the young heavyweights training alongside him at Warriors Boxing Gym in Hollywood, Florida. Just days earlier, the 6-foot-9 “Gypsy King” found out that his dream fight — an undisputed heavyweight championship bout with Anthony Joshua — wasn’t going to happen.
Despite speaking to the Saudi Arabia defense secretary three days prior and on the precipice of a career-high payday, Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) now had the realization that he would be back in the ring with Deontay Wilder for a third time.
This wasn’t supposed to happen. Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) had exercised his contractual right to a rematch shortly after the second fight, but for months, Fury, his promoter Bob Arum and Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn talked about that scenario as if it was a mere formality. Nothing, they believed, would halt the biggest fight in boxing from taking place in Saudi Arabia in the summer of 2021.
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ESPN2, ESPN+, Saturday, Oct. 9, 7 p.m. ET: Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder 3 prelim fights
ESPN+ PPV, Saturday, Oct. 9, 9 p.m. ET: Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder 3 main card
Discussions of step-aside money arose — after all, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia reportedly was set to dole out an approximately $155 million site fee to deliver the fight. But Fury would have none of it.
“The guy’s a sucker,” Fury said on May 20. “I wouldn’t give him $20,000. I pay in ass [whippings]. And that’s what I’ll give him. I’ll walk right through him. I’m not interested in giving anyone any money. They gotta earn it like I did the hard way: by fighting the best of the best. Then they can earn good money.
“No step-aside money for nobody. … I’d rather give him them big fists right in the face.”
Instead of dwelling on a lost cause, the heavyweight champion — clad in white boxers with a boxing glove pattern and nothing else — set his sights back to the heavy bag in front of him, hammering away while taking turns with the three young fighters. When one didn’t perform the team drill to Fury’s liking, he immediately halted the round and admonished the fighter, demonstrating the proper way to connect with the bag.
The second heavyweight championship fight between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder was one of the most anticipated bouts in recent boxing history. ETIENNE LAURENT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
An advocate for mental health who has been open about his struggles, Fury wasn’t about to let the disappointment of the arbitrator’s decision affect his training. There was still a dangerous opponent to prepare for, after all.
“Whoever it is in [my] next fight… they’re getting smashed to bits,” Fury said. “I don’t care if it’s King Kong, Godzilla, the great white shark. …. They’re getting knocked out badly as well. Badly damaged. Severely, severely damaged.
“You had a boxing lesson the first time around [with Wilder]; humiliation. He missed with 95% of his punches. Then you had an absolute destruction in the second fight. So I hate to think what he’s going to get the next time. He tells people I cracked his skull last time. I’m going to crack his skull wide open this time. I’m going to have two sets of knuckle dusters this time.”
The road to a third — and perhaps final fight — between Fury and Wilder is one that started in 2016, with many stops and starts along the way leading to Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (9 p.m. ET, ESPN+ PPV).
Here’s how we arrived at this trilogy battle for the WBC and lineal heavyweight championship:
The start of a rivalry
Jan. 16, 2016: After Wilder scored a brutal ninth-round knockout of Artur Szpilka in Brooklyn, New York, Fury crashed the ring and challenged Wilder to a fight. A skirmish ensued, setting the table for a future clash. Fury had stunned Wladimir Klitschko to win three heavyweight titles on Nov. 28, 2015, but a fight between Fury and Wilder would not have crowned an undisputed champion since Fury was stripped of the IBF title on Dec. 8, 2015.
July 16, 2016: In his next bout, Wilder defended his title with an eighth-round stoppage of Chris Arreola. He suffered an injury to his right hand and biceps in the win.
Oct. 12, 2016: Fury vacated his two remaining heavyweight titles and announced a hiatus from boxing to seek treatment for his mental health, one month after testing positive for cocaine in two random drug tests. He never defended the unified championship he won from Klitschko.
“I’m unable to defend at this time and I have taken the hard and emotional decision to now officially vacate my treasured world titles and wish the next-in-line contenders all the very best as I now enter another big challenge in my life, which I know, like against Klitschko, I will conquer.”
2017: Wilder stayed busy with a fifth-round stoppage of fringe contender Gerald Washington on Feb. 25 and knocked out Bermane Stiverne on Nov. 4.
Fury was still out of action.
March 3, 2018: Against his stiffest competition yet, Wilder struggled mightily with Luis Ortiz and was badly hurt, but rallied to score a stoppage in Round 10.
April 12, 2018: Fury, who ballooned to nearly 400 pounds during his time away, announced his return to the ring — a June 9 bout against Sefer Seferi. Fury, at 276 pounds, would score a fourth-round TKO over Seferi.
Aug. 18, 2018: Fury, at 258 pounds, made a quick return and defeated Francesco Pianeta by decision.
Sept. 27, 2018: A fight between Wilder and Fury was officially announced for Dec. 1 in Los Angeles, a Showtime PPV. Wilder opened as a slight favorite to win the fight.
Deontay Wilder seemingly had Tyson Fury out for the count in the 12th round of their first fight, but Fury just beat the referee’s count to make it to the final bell. The fight was ultimately scored as a split draw. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
Dec. 1, 2018: In one of the best heavyweight bouts in recent memory, Wilder and Fury battled to a disputed split draw. The lasting image of the bout: Fury’s recovery from a 12th-round knockdown.
“That man is a fearsome puncher and I was able to avoid that,” Fury said after the fight. “The world knows I won the fight.”
“I think with two knockdowns, I definitely won the fight,” Wilder said.
Feb. 18, 2019: Fury announced a co-promotional deal with Top Rank. The six-fight deal pays Fury eight figures per fight. Fury and Wilder were in talks for a rematch, but Top Rank’s Bob Arum said the plan is to build Fury into a bigger star before staging a second fight.
Wilder’s big decision
March 2019: Lou DiBella, who promoted many PBC events headlined by Wilder, orchestrated the parameters of a deal with DAZN chairman John Skipper that would deliver Wilder to the streaming service on a three-fight deal guaranteed in excess of $100 million.
During a meeting in New York, Wilder, accompanied by co-managers Al Haymon and Shelly Finkel, listened to Skipper’s pitch; DiBella was also present.
The first bout would come against Dominic Breazeale in May and guarantee Wilder $20 million. A victory over Breazeale, a fringe contender, would trigger $80 million in guarantees. The second and third fights would pit Wilder against Joshua for all four belts and pay him $40 million apiece.
DiBella claimed Haymon and Finkel weren’t receptive to the offer. When Skipper said “$120 million was unprecedented guaranteed money,” Haymon and Finkel “jumped all over” him.
Wilder rejected the package, which also included 10 Bomb Squad Promotions shows worth $1 million apiece. He instead pursued a multifight path laid out by Haymon and PBC that paid him $65 million over three fights: $20 million for Breazeale, $20 million for the Ortiz rematch and $25 million for the second Fury bout.
“I didn’t take the deal with DAZN because DAZN roped me in with the Joshua fight, but they didn’t have Joshua [signed], so they couldn’t guarantee a Joshua fight,” Wilder told ESPN on Friday.
“I’ve never been driven because somebody wants to throw money at me. There has to be a purpose and a reason for all things and it has to make sense to us.”
Finkel’s main point of resistance in the DAZN offer was the lack of transparency.
“They would never tell us what the deal was with Joshua,” Finkel told ESPN. “The fight was almost as big as they say they were getting for Fury-Joshua; say it’s $120 million. If we’re getting $40 million that leaves $80 million. Our team asked the DAZN people, ‘What is the deal for Joshua?’ … After we asked a few times [without an answer from Skipper], we got up and left.” After the meeting in New York concluded, DiBella was stopped from entering the vehicle with Wilder, Haymon and Finkel. He was no longer part of Team Wilder.
The road to the second fight: Tough challengers and a scary cut that almost ruined it all
Wilder stepped back into the ring five months after his split draw against Tyson Fury and knocked Dominic Breazeale out in the first round of their May 2019 fight. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
May 2019: Wilder brutalized Breazeale with a first-round KO on Showtime. He earned more than $20 million for the fight.
Meanwhile, Joshua was set to fight Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller, but the American tested positive for multiple performance-enhancing substances. Andy Ruiz Jr. stepped in as a late replacement. On the night before the Joshua-Ruiz bout, Wilder shocked the masses with an announcement that he signed a contract to fight Fury again, but that he’d first meet Ortiz a second time. Fury would also take a fight in the interim.
“The match is hot now,” Arum said he told Haymon and Finkel. “Let’s do it in the fall.”
However, Haymon had already promised Ortiz a rematch with Wilder after Hearn approached the Cuban with an opportunity to fight Joshua that summer.
June 1, 2019: Joshua was stunned by Andy Ruiz Jr., via seventh-round TKO, and lost three heavyweight titles in one of the biggest upsets in heavyweight boxing history.
Finkel pointed to this result as one of the major flaws in the DAZN offer.
“The way I see it now, that fight [Wilder vs. Joshua] would have never happened because we fought Breazeale and he was fighting Jarrell Miller at the time,” Finkel said Friday. “Miller fell out. He fought Ruiz and lost. And he had the rematch [clause] to get his belts back [if he lost]. So he wouldn’t have even fought us.
“If Deontay knocked him out, as we believe he would, we don’t believe Joshua would have come back for the second Deontay fight right after it.”
The deal with DAZN, however, guaranteed Wilder $80 million for two fights, even if Joshua lost.
June 15, 2019: In the first fight of his new deal with Top Rank, Fury scored a second-round TKO of the unheralded Tom Schwarz in Las Vegas.
Sept. 14, 2019: Fury survived a tremendous scare against Otto Wallin, battling through two nasty cuts over his right eye to score a decision victory and preserve the fight with Wilder.
The wounds required 47 stitches and plastic surgery. With a Wilder win over Ortiz in November, Wilder-Fury 2 is on.
Fury survived a deep cut over his eye against a previously unheralded Otto Wallin in September 2019, and earned a unanimous decision win. ETIENNE LAURENT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Oct. 31, 2019: Fury briefly stepped away from the boxing ring and into a different squared circle, as he took on Braun Strowman at WWE’s Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia. In the lead-up, Fury appeared on WWE programming, and ostensibly, increased his profile along the way.
“I probably am the biggest boxing star in the sport today,” Fury said. “I know I’m the biggest personality in our sport. Crossing over into [WWE], it’s a whole ‘nother lot of fans. It’s only going to make me bigger in my sport.”
Fury, risking injury and the possibility of reopening his recently stitched up cut ahead of another big bout, won the match.
Nov. 23, 2019: Wilder dealt with his own problems in his interim fight, seemingly losing every round to Ortiz before delivering a spectacular knockout of the Cuban boxer in Round 7.
The rematch now just needed a date and location. The revenue split was 50-50 for the December 2018 meeting and the fighters would have the same share in the second bout. The first fight was a PBC promotion but the second encounter would be a co-promotion between Haymon and Arum, two men who rarely conduct business with each other. It was also a rare joint PPV between ESPN and Fox.
The deal contained a rematch clause that the loser must exercise within 30 days of the bout, with 60% of the revenue going to the winner of the second fight.
Dec. 27, 2019: Wilder-Fury 2 was officially announced for Feb. 22 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
“That was the best you will ever, ever see of him,” Wilder said, referring to the first meeting. “He ain’t getting no better. For me, that wasn’t my best. … Trust me, it’s going to be an easy fight.
“It’s life and death when you get in there with me. Literally. He’s going to get knocked out and that’s going to be the end. I’m going to make sure I end him. Watch.”
Deontay Wilder makes a bold prediction for when he faces Tyson Fury for the third time on Oct. 9.
Feb. 22, 2020: Fury laid a tremendous beating on Wilder before cornerman Mark Breland threw in the towel in the seventh round.
“The best man won tonight, but my corner threw in the towel and I was ready to go out on my shield,” Wilder said. “I had a lot of things going on heading into this fight. It is what it is, but I make no excuses tonight. I just wish my corner would have let me go out on my shield.”
Feb. 24, 2020: Wilder expressed his displeasure with Breland for stopping the fight and said the former welterweight champion was no longer part of the team.
“For Mark to do it, I was very heartbroken,” Wilder said. “If I say statements like I want to kill a man [in the ring], then I have to abide by those same principles in the ring of him doing the same thing to me. I’d rather die than go out with someone throwing the towel in.
“[Breland] knows these things. It’s been premeditated. I understand what it looks like, but when you have power like me, I am never out of a fight no matter what the circumstances.”
At the time, Wilder also blamed the loss on an elaborate costume he wore during his ring walk, which he claimed weighed more than 40 pounds.
“I paid a severe price because my legs were how they were because of my uniform,” he said. “My uniform was way too heavy. … We had it on for 10 or 15 minutes before we even walked out and then put the helmet on. … It was like a real workout for my legs. When I took it off, I knew immediately that the game had changed.”
Tyson Fury says he still wants to improve following his TKO victory over Deontay Wilder and even cracks a joke about Wilder’s pre-fight trash-talk.
March 1, 2020: Wilder officially exercised the rematch clause. Per the contract, the fight must take place within five months of the first bout. Arum announced the third bout would take place July 18 in Las Vegas.
Delays, emails and doubt
March 9, 2020: According to the contract, if either fighter claims injury, the bout can be delayed an additional 90 days. Wilder had surgery on his biceps following the bout and informed Fury’s representatives, who didn’t object. The fight would now take place by Oct. 16.
Meanwhile, the sports world essentially shuts down in mid-March, just weeks after Wilder-Fury 2. The second bout generated $16,916,440 in gate receipts — a Nevada record for a heavyweight fight. Live boxing returned in June, but with no live audiences to help drive large guaranteed purses, discussions for the third fight were essentially put on pause.
Summer 2020: With the pandemic still blocking live audiences, the parties, after consulting with ESPN and Fox to find a mutually agreeable PPV date, looked to Dec. 19.
Sept. 28, 2020: To the surprise of Fury, Wilder and their teams, the college football season proceeded, and the ACC Championship was scheduled for Dec. 19 — rendering the date far less appealing for Fury-Wilder 3.
Oct. 1-2, 2020: Top Rank president Todd duBoef and PBC executive Bruce Binkow were the main points of contact throughout the entire process as the sides tried to find a viable date that worked for both ESPN and Fox.
Top Rank sent an email to PBC indicating that ESPN and Fox preferred Feb. 20, 2021 for the rescheduled date. Jan. 30 was listed as another potential date. The email also mentioned the sports schedule (on Fox and ESPN) on every Saturday between Dec. 19 and Feb. 20, but did not provide any dates earlier than Dec. 19. The sides discussed Jan. 30 and Feb. 20 as two possible dates for the rematch.
There were many points in time between late February 2020 and October 2021 in which it felt Fury-Wilder 3 would never happen. Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images
Oct. 10, 2020: Fury’s representatives inform Team Wilder that “The Gypsy King” was unwilling to push the trilogy fight into 2021. Fury himself said he was not personally aware of Wilder’s proposed dates of Jan. 30 and Feb. 20.
In response, the Wilder side proposed Dec. 26 and Dec. 31. No alternative dates in 2020 or 2021 were offered by Top Rank.
Wilder said he doesn’t recall being informed that Fury was unwilling to fight him in 2021.
“If I did hear it, it went into one ear and out the other,” Wilder told ESPN on Oct. 1. “I knew that he would have to face me or retire. And that was just the bottom line to that. There was no way he could get around me because he signed that contract. That’s just the end of it.”
“They didn’t say in July or August, ‘If we don’t get this fight on in the next 60 days, it’s over because of the contract,'” Finkel said. “They just kept running the contract.”
Oct. 11, 2020: Fury announced that he’s “moved on” from a third bout with Wilder, at least for now, because “Wilder and his team were messing around with the date.”
“They know how it ends, the world knows how it ends: with Wilder on his ass again,” Fury said. “They asked me if I would agree to push it to December. I agreed to Dec. 19. Then they tried to change the date again into next year. … When they tried moving off Dec. 19 and pushing to next year, enough was enough. I’ve moved on.”
Fury hoped to stage a stay-busy fight on Dec. 5 in the U.K. instead, to set himself up for a 2021 fight with Joshua.
Oct. 13, 2020: Three days before the expiration of the injury extension, Top Rank sent a letter to PBC asserting that the rematch clause had expired.
Oct. 14, 2020: Wilder responded to Top Rank that he was “ready, willing and able to participate … on December 19, 26, 31 or any other reasonable date, with or without fans in attendance.”
Finkel said that they mentioned Texas as a possibility (PBC staged Gervonta Davis-Leo Santa Cruz with more than 10,000 fans in attendance on Oct. 31 in San Antonio). However, Top Rank believed they couldn’t charge enough for tickets in Texas, per Finkel.
“Whatever it was, they didn’t want to,” Finkel said. “They didn’t feel the economics were maximized. The feeling to me was there was a large guarantee with Fury and Arum couldn’t meet his guarantee without a site fee.
“As a result, he kept pushing the fight back and then at one point he cancelled it,” Finkel added. “And then used that to try and say the contract’s over, it ended in October. But you’re the one to breach it. … We were willing to fight without a site fee per the agreement. They were not.”
Shortly after, the Fury and Wilder sides engaged in mediation in an attempt to resolve their conflict surrounding the third fight, as the contract called for.
Oct. 31, 2020: Wilder broke his public silence on the drama to finalize a bout with Fury and unleashed with a litany of serious accusations that have never been proven. Among the accusations: that Fury doctored his gloves.
“It’s impossible for a new 10-ounce glove to bend, to keep a smushed-in form or to have loose space,” Wilder said. ” … I highly believe you put something hard in your glove, something the size and the shape of an egg weight. It’s the reason why the side of my face swelled up in an egg-weight form. And it left a dent in my face, as well.”
Bob Bennett, the executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, said Wilder’s allegations were “absolutely false.”
“When you were going through your darkest time, I told you that if you got yourself together I would give you a title shot,” Wilder said. “Being a man of my word, I gave you the title shot. When that fight was a draw, I told you that I would give you a rematch. You know I was offered more money to fight Joshua than I was getting to fight you. Again, being a man of my word, I fought you like I said I would.
“In the rematch agreement, there was a rematch clause. Now it is time for you to be a man and honor your word, instead of trying to weasel out of our agreement.”
March 4, 2021: Wilder triggered the dispute resolution clause in the contract, which called for binding arbitration decided by an independent party in an attempt to have his right to a third fight enforced.
Joshua enters the picture
March 15: Sides for Fury and Joshua signed contracts for a two-fight deal, with the parameters similar to the Fury-Wilder pact: 50-50 for the first bout, 60-40 in favor of the winner for the return bout.
With COVID still an issue and both fighters commanding such large purses, a site deal was needed to make this fight reality. “We’d like to get a site deal confirmed in the next month,” Hearn said. “The hard part is always getting everybody to put pen to paper. But this was a major effort from all parties to get this over the line. You had rival promoters, rival networks and rival fighters.”
The sides seemed to ignore the ongoing proceedings between Fury and Wilder.
April 12: Team Fury asked for summary judgment and took the position that the rematch clause expired on July 18, 2020 (five months after the second fight) or on Oct. 16, 2020 (allowing for the 90-day exception for Wilder’s injury).
They claimed Fury should be free to pursue whatever fight he wanted without any constraints or obligations.
April 16: The parties decided that the hearing would address both liability and whether injunctive relief would be awarded, all in one phase. Initially, those matters were to be decided in two different phases.
All the parties also agreed that the arbitration hearing would take place at Weinstein’s residence in Napa, California, with the option to attend in person or via video conference.
April 21: Following a full round of briefing and hearing, the arbitrator, Daniel Weinstein, denied the motion for summary judgment.
April 27-30: The hearing took place and testimony was presented from Fury, Wilder, Finkel, Arum and other parties.
May 11: Hearn said the Fury-Joshua bout would land on either Aug. 7 or Aug. 14.
“I think it’s a very bad secret that the fight is happening in Saudi Arabia,” Hearn said. “It’s the same people we did the deal with for Andy Ruiz; the event was spectacular.”
“massive announcement” FURY VS JOSHUA IS ON AUGUST 14 in The kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The worlds biggest sporting event all eyes on us. @SCEEKSA @gsaksa_en @trboxing @mtkglobal @frankwarren_tv @marbella @wowhydrate #LETTHEGAMESBEGIN #saudiarabia #TYSONOFARABIA pic.twitter.com/ZKIAXLictV
— TYSON FURY (@Tyson_Fury) May 16, 2021
May 16: Fury received assurances from the Saudi defense secretary that the fight with Joshua would land in Saudi Arabia on Aug. 14, 2021. A site fee of around $155 million was expected.
“He told me this fight is 100% on,” Fury tweeted. “I cannot wait, repeat, cannot wait, to smash Anthony Joshua on the biggest stage of all time. This is going to be the biggest sporting event ever to grace the planet Earth.”
The arbitrator ruled
May 17-18: The arbitrator, Daniel Weinstein, ruled in favor of Wilder, granting him a rematch that must happen by Sept. 15.
“It was a great process,” Wilder said. “It was a waste of time, but it was a great process. We had great lawyers on it and thank God the judge was fair with it.”
“Because of the complex of interdependent and unusual factors at play, including the role of the COVID pandemic and the network partners, I have elected not to use hindsight to criticize or second guess the conduct of the parties,” Weinstein wrote.
Weinstein found a legal ruling from 1984 as precedent for this unique circumstance where it stated “acquiescence in delay effectively converts the contract into one under which performance within a reasonable time was all that was required.”
Weinstein found that the rematch clause didn’t expire. All the while, Arum publicly expressed confidence that even if Weinstein ruled in Wilder’s favor, he would issue damages in the form of financial payment, not injunctive relief insisting the rematch happen next.
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Weinstein took an opposite position from Arum.
“The value of the opportunity to regain the heavyweight championship while Deontay Wilder still has the ability to do so cannot be measured or compensated for in money damages,” Weinstein wrote.
“Wilder never actually had the opportunity for the rematch,” he continued, noting Top Rank was instead “declaring a retroactive expiration of the rematch provisions soon after the agreed-upon Dec. 19 date was cancelled.”
With the ruling, Fury-Joshua appeared to be dead — at least at that moment. Fury-Wilder 3 was on, and no further negotiations would need to be had as all the parameters were already set.
The only action that would clear a path for Fury-Joshua on Aug. 14? An agreement from Wilder to step aside and wait for his chance at the rematch.
“The arrogance of both Eddie and Bob — before we won the arbitration — they were throwing around numbers; they were both going to earn $75 million,” Finkel said. “Why not offer $20 million? It’s $10 million each side. Never happened and we never asked; we were going forward with the arbitration. But we would be a fool if we’re offered $20 million and didn’t listen. It’s not a lot of money [for them, compared to $150 million].
“You have to be out of your mind to at least not try. Just pick up a phone and say, ‘Hey, we want to make an offer. Is there something you would consider?’ You never know. After I won I wasn’t going to do anything like that.”
Hearn was surprised and disappointed with the outcome.
“It was a shock to the system,” Hearn said. “This negotiation’s been going on for three to four months now and we were always assured that [the arbitration] wouldn’t be a problem. It was a very strange decision from the arbitrator to say the least.
“I think [Arum] was in complete and utter shock and I’ve never really heard him speechless.”
May 20: There would be no step-aside offer to Wilder, to allow Fury-Joshua to take place. “No step-aside money for nobody,” Fury said. “I’d rather give him them big fists right in the face.”
Tyson Fury heads to the ring on a throne and Deontay Wilder wears a lighted mask ahead of their much-anticipated rematch.
June: The trilogy fight between Fury and Wilder was formally announced for July 24 in Las Vegas, another joint PPV between ESPN and Fox. At a news conference in Los Angeles, Fury and Wilder came face to face for the first time since their February 2020 fight. The faceoff lasted more than five minutes.
“I’ve been training nonstop during the pandemic and I’ve been building,” Wilder said. “All this time between fights is going to be good for me and bad for him. I’ve had nothing but time to progress.
“Whatever he does on July 24, we will have an answer for it. I’m training very hard and my mind is very violent. I’m ready to go.”
Wilder, who was joined by a new head trainer, former opponent Malik Scott, and was wearing headphones during the news conference, refused to answer any questions.
July 15: The fight was delayed once again after it was announced that Fury tested positive for COVID. The new date for the fight: Oct. 9.
Wilder accused Fury of faking COVID to postpone the bout.
“There would be no reason for me to want COVID and get out of a Deontay Wilder fight,” Fury said. “Why would I want to chuck away $20 to $30 million to fight someone I’ve already knocked out quite comfortably?”
Tyson Fury lands a looping right hand that drops Deontay Wilder in the third round.
Oct. 5: Fury and Wilder made their grand arrivals in Las Vegas, just four days before they’ll meet for a third time.
“I think the guy’s a real piece of s —,” Fury said in front of T-Mobile Arena. “Nobody or nothing will ever change my mind. When we was first gonna fight I thought he was a decent man … but now I know he’s a real piece of garbage … and I’m going to knock him spark out on Saturday night…. I might take it slow and punish him, make him say ‘no mas.'”
Wilder, despite the lopsided nature of the second bout, was brimming with confidence.
“I see me beating him up and then knocking him out,” Wilder said. “This time around, it’s just a different feeling.”
Oct. 6: In the final prefight news conference, three days before the fight, Fury and Wilder exchange barbs once again. The festivities were so heated that the traditional faceoff was vetoed by Arum.
“Mark Breland, he saved your life that night,” Fury said. “You ought to give him a pay raise. … If I only won because I cheated, what was the point of changing everything?
“Wilder is a weak person mentally and I’m going to knock him out on Saturday night. I obliterated him in the rematch and I see much more of the same in the third fight.”
Wilder retorted that Fury doesn’t possess knockout power despite suffering a seventh-round stoppage loss in the rematch.
“You’re not a knockout artist,” he said. “I went out on my feet, I had a disloyal trainer. … I’m well alive right now. My energy is like my mind, it’s very violent.”
Said Fury: “He says he wants to do bad things to me and that he’s got all this anger and malice and aggression. I don’t want to hurt Deontay Wilder. I just want to beat him in a fight.
“Those who hold hot coals with aggression are the ones who get burned. He knows he’s lost twice and that he’s going to lose the third time.”
ESPN’s Marc Raimondi contributed to this story.