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December 05, 2018

By G. Leon


Promoter Lou DiBella: "We got really treated to a sensational night of boxing on Saturday. A historic heavyweight bout that brought us back to the great heavyweight fights of old...Saturday night we got the best of both men. We got the ferocious punching of Deontay Wilder and tremendous boxing of Tyson Fury. We had rounds that were close and we had rounds with devastating knockouts, and then we had a man rise from the dead in the last round. These men are the talk of water coolers all over America and the fervor and the excitement, and the debates after Saturday are still going on and that's a great thing for heavyweight boxing."

Showtime's Stephen Espinoza: "This fight was given every superlative in the book after Saturday night. We've heard it described as one of the most compelling matchups in the glamour division's recent history. This is what heavyweight boxing has needed for so long and the embodiment of what made heavyweight championship boxing the most gripping of any American sporting events. The good thing is that we have two fine heavyweights in their prime who are still undefeated. There's a lot of debate behind that and there's going to be even more after we re-air the fight on Saturday night."

Deontay Wilder: "Saturday was an amazing fight and better than what I expected it would be. Being here in America with the heavyweight division being down for so long an I'm fighting so hard to bring the attention back to American boxing. They saw once the heavyweight division falls so does the sport of boxing. I believe in having a strong American fighter to have the division lit and keep boxing exciting. My ultimate goal was to bring the heavyweight division back here to America. To see the turnout, it was amazing to have the attention. It was overwhelming for me and to go in the arena it almost felt like pressure for me. We had the world's attention and this is the moment I've been waiting on, this is the moment I've been looking for, to have the audience's attention and I had that. It was a very emotional situation for me and I got overanxious to knock Tyson Fury out. This was my first time on PPV and I know I had a lot of stuff going on, but this was the moment. Me being anxious and wanting to knock him out got the best of me, I wanted to end the event on a great note with a devastating knockout and I pressed that too much for myself. I think I applied more pressure on myself than anything. It allowed me to get out of character and abandon the game plan. 

"I was going back to the corner after the third round like why are you over-shooting the right hand? You know what you can do. He's bending over, step back and lead with the jab and come with the right hand. I kept doing the same thing over and over again and it was like I was fighting Fury and myself. It was a lot of emotions going through me. You're looking at a guy who weighed in at 212 and the night of the fight I came in at 209. I couldn't believe my weight dropped even more and that kind of bothered me as well. I've always been the type of guy where I'd rather be the part than look the part. I don't care about looking the part, I know I have the power. Fury has big man power, I don't have that. I have punching power. I know that right there exceeds all expectations of me because no matter what, with me I'm dangerous and you have to be cautious from the first round to the last, that's what's so unique about me and makes me special. I was giving up over 50 pounds and still was able to put him on the floor like I did. 

"The amazing thing about this whole event is that it's being talked about around the world. Everybody is talking about this fight and it's about to be happening again. You had one side going for him, one side going for me and then there's those who think it should have been a draw. When you have people talking about you like that, I mean it was the number one trending event that was going on around the world and it was amazing to put the heavyweight division back on top. I got the opportunity and the experience that I"ve been looking forward to for so long. Pay-per-view is not something I ever thought too deeply about, I always just thought about bringing the heavyweight division back to America. You always hear about he Golden-era and times and you get tired of hearing about that when you're the athlete in the sport. I wanted to bring that back and I want people to be excited about this era and I had a taste of that the other night. Being on PPV, I had to go through so many other things to get there and I'm willing and ready to give Fury the opportunity ASAP. If you have so many different sides, then it's only right to give Fury  a rematch as soon as possible. I'm ready to do it whenever he wants to do it, I'm ready to give the fans what they want to see and end this talk once and for all. I don't know how this man got up, he doesn't know he got up. I feel like he had an army of prayers around him and God got this man up for the rematch. 

"For me it's a lose-lose situation because people were already making excuses about Fury. He wasn't in the ring, he took too much time off, he's not ready and Wilder is going to knock him out early. They already had the excuse, but y'all doubted him and if I would have knocked him out early that would have been the excuse. Now because he survived people are jumping on his ship now. This is a very emotional sport so given the fact that I did do that I'm still losing. God allowed this man to get back up for the rematch, so when the rematch happens there's no excuses. We see what he could do, especially with that get up, which still surprises me because I seen the guy's eyes roll slowly into the back of his head. Many people feel it should it have been waved off, I also felt like the count was very slow, there was a lot of delays in there, but I'm not going to complain because we put the heavyweight division on notice and we did it with me and Fury. It's not about anyone else. We did it like true champions, we got together, we coversed among ourselves and got the fight done without involving all the other extra stuff. We are the best in the division and we wanted to prove who the best is, that's why we did that and I'm ready to do it again."

Q: Do you feel the draw was the best possible scenario because now if there's a rematch you'll get full credit for the win?

Deontay Wilder: "That's exactly how I feel. I was in a lose-lose situation because people have always made excuses about my victories from the beginning. He had excuses coming into the fight so I was damned if I do, damned if I don't. Being the fact that he did survive, I think this makes it better for the rematch. There's no excuses to be said at this point in time for the rematch and when I do knock him out the second time I want my full credit. I want the heavyweight division and America to be on notice that the baddest man on the planet resides here."

Q: How do you feel about [WBA/IBF/WBO heavyweight champion] Anthony Joshua now following this outcome?

DW: "I don't feel nothing about Joshua. They're getting what they deserve. They felt like they was the only people in the division that people cared about. They thought they were running this sport and we had to show them that they're not the only ones. Me and Fury came together to show the world what it looks like for the best to fight the best and look at the outcome. Nobody has talked about Joshua since I don't know how long and I plan on keeping it that way. They had their opportunity. They had four months to have their opportunity, but they lead people on, they said certain things and it could have been me and Joshua who had this excitement going on. He could have had me, he could have had Luis Ortiz, he could have had Tyson Fury, but their ego's got the best of them. Let them keeping on fighting second tier fighters, who knows? But we don't care about them no more. My main goal is on Tyson Fury, I'm looking forward to giving him the rematch as soon as possible and that's that. It's the biggest fight in the heavyweight divison, it's the most exciting fight in the heavyweight division and I'm ready to give the fans what they want to see."

Dan Rafael [showing how little he knows about boxing]): I'm in the minority as one of the guys who scored the fight for you, but have you had a chance to watch it or score it yourself?

DW: "I haven't personally gone back to see the fight. I'm hearing many people say I won, I'm hearing people say he won, I'm hearing people say it was a draw. I'm hearing all versions of the fight. I knew I was the more aggressive fighter in there and I know I landed the more effective punches. He was able to land some punches, but most of that was pitty pat punches that didn't effect me. Giving up fifty-something pounds I feel like you have to take the title from the champion and I don't feel like Fury took the title. He had a great performance and he didn't have no pressure on him. He was a visitor in this country, they got excitement in their country because people support boxing. It didn't matter to him if there was one person in the audience, but it mattered to me. I cared about that and I felt like I won that fight."

Q: How quickly do you think a rematch can happen? 

DW: "I think both sides want it to happen. I don't see why we wouldn't. The build-up for it is already starting right now. We can't get away from this fight, everyone is talking about this fight and it's only right for us to go back in there and do it again. I don't want no other fights to happen between him or I. He doesn't have to worry about me moving past him to fight anybody and I hope he doesn't fight no one else. I want to give Tyson Fury the rematch asap. Some people feel like I might not want the rematch? Why wouldn't I? I'm the baddest man on the planet. I don't know anybody who fought back to back killers like Ortiz, everybody still avoids him now. Then I follow up with the undefeated lineal champion, a guy who beat Klitschko and do that after beating the boogey man in the division. I'm more excited and motivated than anything else. I'm ready to go...early next year, maybe March, maybe April, I'm ready to go. I don't want nobody else but Tyson Fury. He deserves the rematch, I think the fans deserve a rematch to settle this score once and for all. I really feel God lifted this man up off the canvas for the rematch."

Q: Have the PPV numbers come in yet? (Prior to this question Espinoza spent time going over months for the potential rematch and spoke about its magnitude being such that it would supercede everything else. Clearly Showtime wants/needs a rematch)

Stephen Espinoza: "Normally I would have them. The satellite numbers, which are the first to come have been delayed. I've been promised that by the close of business today I will have initial projections. I will have a good sense of things by tomorrow."

Lou DiBella: "The PPV numbers that are going to come in, obviously we want to see it do as well as it possibly can, but when you look across all social media and what's been trending not only in sports, but in general since Saturday, this event is off the charts. Whatever is going to come in for this fight is going to come in, but I think the next time these two men get into the ring on PPV it's an exponentially bigger fight. This is a fight that has literally captured the attention of the entire world, so what these numbers look like are going to be a little more more irrelevant than what it might have been otherwise."

Q: Will the buzz from this fight help you crossover?

DW: "I think it should. Like Lou said, everybody in the world is talking about this fight. Even homeless people are talking about this fight. It's amazing to see the attention it's stirred up. From start to finish it was an amazing fight and to have a rematch is going to take it over the top. Everybody is wondering what's going to happen in the next fight? Everybody wants to know what's going to happen and it's going to be a much bigger event. I want the heavyweight division to win, I want American boxing to win. I felt like I've always been the one who had to carry that on his back, to bring the heavyweight division back to America. We risk our lives in the ring and may God be with Adonis Stevenson's family. We deserve all of the praise and glory for this because this is a difficult sport to be in. Ain't nobody trying to be a fighter because it's a tough sport to be in. We could get hit one time and that could be it, so that demands respect. Whether these fighters love me or hate me, because there's a lot of them that don't want to see me win. I don't care about being the face of boxing by myself, I want to share it with you guys. I want to share it with all of the fighters, but the heavyweight division is back."

Stephen Espinoza: "The question about Deontay's stardom has been answered. There were 17,000 people in the Staples Center and I believe that's the most they've had for a fight there since the De La Hoya-Mosley fight. We did a snapchat series starting the Saturday before the fight and all week long, every single day on a 24/7 basis those videos were doing 4-5 million views per day. We've never had that type of activity on a snapchat series. We know where that narrative is coming from and that is false. This is not the UK, boxing is competing with college sports, so whether somebody in Time Square recognize Deontay is not the issue because short of Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson that's not where boxing is in the United States because it's a big and diverse country with lots of options on other sporting landscapes. After Saturday we know Deontay's place and he's at the top of the heap. He's one of the sports biggest draws at this point."

Q: How cool was it to have an opponent like Tyson Fury champion you after the fight?

DW: "We have a relationship together and it's a strong one. When you can get two guys to get in the ring and risk their lives and then hug each other afterwards and tell the other guy you love him. We're both gentleman with a job to do. We have to get in there and fight to support our families. We share the same passions and emotions and that's to be the best. When you're trying to be the best you're going to fight your heart out, but then you come together in the end...I appreciate him for saying that and I can't wait to give him a rematch."

Q: Do you think Hearn and Joshua overplayed their hands?

DW: "They were throwing up. They didn't want to see this fight do well at all. They want to be the global face of boxing and they don't want nobody to be close to them or equal to them. They want to be the main source that everyone goes to. Well if he wants that to be then he's got to be the unified undisputed champion. If that what he wants to do then he needs to leave no doubt, but they didn't because they thought they were better than everyone else and now they could look at everyone talking about our fight. You was already in hiding, don't come out now because nobody is talking about you. That's enough talk about him, I'm excited about Fury, I can't wait for the rematch and we all have something to look forward to now."

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