One day before the most significant heavyweight event in the U.S. in over 15 years, heavyweight legends have descended on Los Angeles to discuss the Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury showdown that will be live on SHOWTIME PPV® Saturday night from STAPLES Center in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
A media roundtable featured heavyweight greats Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, Riddick Bowe, Gerry Cooney, Earnie Shavers, Buster Douglas and Michael Spinks as they broke down Saturday’s battle of unbeaten giants.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by BombZquad Enterprises and Queensberry Promotions, in association with TGB Promotions and DiBella Entertainment, are on sale now and are available via AXS.com. Wilder vs. Fury will be produced and distributed by SHOWTIME PPV. The suggested retail price (SRP) for the pay-per-view telecast is $64.99 for standard definition.
The roundtable was hosted by SHOWTIME Sports award-winning reporter Jim Gray from the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites, Los Angeles. Here is what the heavyweight legends had to say Friday:
“I feel that Deontay Wilder will win because eventually he’ll land that right hand. He’s very patient. He’s a thinker, but he can also take chances. When people take chances, they win.
“Deontay might not have as much experience as we did in our day, but he’s got the power. That’s what the people want to see and I think they’re going to be happy when they see it.
“There was a point in time where every great heavyweight was from the United States. We had a very good amateur program. I was the last true heavyweight champion from the U.S. before Wilder and until I lost the decision against Lennox.
“To be the heavyweight champion of the world, and to say you’re the best, you have to fight any man.”
“I think it’s going to be a great fight. Deontay Wilder has a terrific right hand and when it lands, not too many people can stand up to it. I also think that you can’t hurt what you can’t hit. Tyson Fury is not an easy person to hit. He has great ability and movement. I’m going with Deontay early or Fury late.
“We all know how it feels to lose the heavyweight championship. We know how hard it is to gain it back. Fury has lost it, and now he wants it back. I can see now that he’s sacrificing and saying to himself that he shouldn’t have lost it, and now he has to regain it.
“I think the view in the U.K. is that Tyson Fury is the man that stepped up. The gauntlet was thrown out there and he stood up for Britain. Deontay came to England to challenge Anthony Joshua, but it was Tyson Fury who answered the call.
“I would say that there are a couple of meccas in boxing that are places where everyone wants to fight. Las Vegas, New York and of course, Los Angeles. My fight against Vitali Klitschko at STAPLES Center was a great fight. My plan that night was not to box to go the distance, I boxed to go a short distance and it did.”
“I’m going with Deontay Wilder tomorrow night. He’s going to put on a great show for everyone and get another knockout.
“Tyson Fury is skilled and tall, but to me, he doesn’t do enough on offense. He moves but he doesn’t move his hands enough.”
“I think it’s a great fight tomorrow night. We know that Fury is coming back motivated. If Wilder finds a home for that right, he’s going to take Fury out. I think he’s going to connect at some point during the fight.
“I think Tyson Fury is a great man for how far he’s come back in his life and for standing up to Deontay Wilder. Fury called him out, so maybe he knows something we don’t know.
“I’m so glad to be up here. Look at all these great heavyweights and great guys. It’s special and they’re all here to watch this fight tomorrow night.”
“Me and Deontay are both from Alabama. I’ll be inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame soon and Deontay will be there one day as well. Deontay is a great puncher and I’m pulling for him tomorrow night.
“I fought in a great era. If you fight guys on the same level, you’ll get good fights. These guys today could get in there in our day and put on a good show.”
“I think this is going to be a good competitive fight. If I had to pick, I’d take Deontay Wilder by knockout in the eighth round.
“I feel like Tyson Fury has already won by battling back and getting into great shape and being in this position. I’m sure many people thought they’d never see him back here. That’s a victory in itself.
“My victory over Mike Tyson changed my life in a great way. I was now the heavyweight champion of the world. My dream had come true. Seeing my two youngest kids being born was the only thing that could top it.”
“May the best man win. I don’t know who’s in the best of shape but I think Fury being out of the ring makes me lean toward Deontay Wilder. If Fury is as big in person as they say he is, he’s got a great chance.
“If you’re the underdog, you just have to go on what you know and what you’ve worked on. You can’t pay attention to the doubters. You focus on what you’ve prepared yourself for and give it your all. I always saw myself winning. It’s the greatest feeling to come out of the ring victorious.”