LAS VEGAS — The last time Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder stood face-to-face, it was in June at a news conference in Los Angeles. They stared into each other’s eyes for more than six minutes without moving.
But on Wednesday, three days before they meet for the third time with Fury’s WBC heavyweight title on the line at T-Mobile, promoter Bob Arum saw to it that there wasn’t another one.
After a contentious news conference in which Fury and Wilder hurled insults at each other during a made-for-TV event in which the only one who had an opportunity to ask questions was Fox’s Kate Abdo, she invited Fury and Wilder to square off.
Arum made sure it didn’t occur, and was incensed later that Abdo wanted them to go nose-to-nose after things got heated during the news conference.
“This is still a sport,” Arum said, clearly exorcised. “In the ring, they can kill each other and beat the s*** out of each other. But before the fight, you’ve got to control them so they don’t do something like that. You know that if they had done a face-off here, they’d have shoved each other. There was no security up there. There was this broad [Abdo] egging them on. Because she’s with Fox, she was totally prejudiced [for Wilder], but Tyson wouldn’t let her get away with it. Who was going to stop anything?
“They’re emotional. They’re fighters. They’re human beings and they’ve insulted each other in front of the world. They were saying the worst things about each other, which is acceptable. Words don’t do any damage. Now you put them together like they’re angry dogs.”
Arum said Top Rank and PBC officials had agreed before the news conference not to have the fighters face off. Both are on edge as the fight nears and they clearly do not like each other.
In the last segment of what was a live TV show, Abdo opened it up for questions. Fury walked around stage as Wilder was seated, mocking Wilder for the excuses he’d made for his loss in the second fight, and denouncing him for the way he fought.
Wilder finally hit back and said Fury didn’t have power. They spent the last three minutes of the segment talking over each other and it was difficult to understand what either was saying.
Then, Abdo ordered them to square off and Arum got involved. But he saved his greatest anger for Fox, which he said overruled Top Rank and PBC officials and tried to do the face-off.
Arum was asked why there wasn’t security on stage, particularly when Abdo wanted the fighters to go nose-to-nose.
“Fox ran this event [and] of course you should have security,” Arum said. “Of course. PBC did its job. They were arguing with Fox, ‘No face-off, get security, etc.’ They understand. They’re boxing people.
“These friggin’ people from Fox, they don’t know crap. They bring this woman in from the U.K., and she’s slanting all of the press conference to Wilder. I don’t give a damn, but it’s obvious that’s what she was doing. She knew that the understanding was no face-off. Tom Brown [of TGB Promotions] argued with Fox for no face-off. We said no face-off. What does she say? ‘We’re going to do a face-off. [Expletive] her and [expletive] them. No face-off and we saved the fight.”