Wilder and Fury exchanged insults as Wednesday’s press conference began
|WBC world heavyweight title: Deontay Wilder v Tyson Fury|
|Venue: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas Date: Saturday, 22 February Time: About 05:00 GMT on Sunday, 23 February|
|Coverage: Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website, plus daily podcasts on BBC Sounds.|
Deontay Wilder said he “rehabilitated” Tyson Fury from being “on coke and as big as a house” as they traded insults at a packed final news conference for Saturday’s Las Vegas rematch.
The pair faced off instantly at the MGM Grand and shoved each other, prompting their teams to rush on stage.
Their verbal sparring was often circus-like and continued as US television networks paused for advertising breaks.
“I brought you back, put food on your table,” Wilder said.
“And I’m doing it for a second time,” he continued. “Don’t you forget that.
“I found you when were strung out on coke, as big as a house and contemplating killing yourself.
“I brought you to big-time boxing. I rehabilitated him back.”
An underlying animosity
Fury fought Wilder to a controversial draw in December 2018, six months after returning to the sport after 30 months away during which he used drugs and alcohol while battling mental health issues.
The last time the two faced off at a pre-fight news conference in Los Angeles things boiled over, resulting in an on-stage melee.
At the time, some back in the UK felt the altercation was conveniently staged. Those there largely felt it was genuine as the energy and air of nastiness in the room grew and grew until it reached tipping point.
Since then the pair have shared stages to hype this rematch but have each spoken about their once friendly rapport becoming strained. At a UK TV studio last year, they were made to share a sofa in a waiting room and barely uttered a word or looked at one another.
This time around their initial face-to-face clash did feel a little false, but some of the vitriol they went on to exchange pointed to an underlying animosity sure to culminate in a fight that will captivate Las Vegas.