LOS ANGELES — Heavyweight world titleholder Deontay Wilder was so animated and emotional during the traditional faceoff with lineal champion Tyson Fury that the two wound up scuffling at the end of the final prefight news conference Wednesday.
But at Friday’s weigh-in outside the Los Angeles Convention Center, next to Staples Center, where Wilder and Fury will meet for the heavyweight championship on Saturday (Showtime PPV, 9 p.m. ET), the promoters played it safe.
No nose-to-nose faceoff after the fighters weighed in.
Wilder, wearing a black mask, weighed in at 212.4 pounds, the lightest he has weighed for any fight of his career other than his pro debut in November 2008, when he was 207.25 pounds and fresh off claiming a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics.
Fury weighed 256.6 pounds, the lightest for any of his three comeback fights that came after he sat out for 31 months after winning three major world title belts and the lineal championship from Wladimir Klitschko in a massive upset three years ago this week.
Fury’s layoff was caused by a slew of personal problems, including drug and alcohol abuse, mental health issues and a massive weight gain that saw him balloon to around 400 pounds. But England’s Fury appeared to be in the best shape of the comeback that began in June, and he soaked in the cheers from the British fans who turned out for the weigh-in.
Instead of the up-close faceoff, Wilder and Fury stood on opposite sides of the stage and stared each other down. While Fury shouted and pointed at Wilder and had to eventually be restrained by his team from making a charge, Wilder did not say a word and did not budge until turning to walk away as the crowd cheered.
While Fury left the stage and did not do an interview with Showtime’s Steve Farhood, Wilder returned to the center of the stage to speak with him.
Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs), 33, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was still wearing his mask when he explained why he did not engage in any of the shouting with Fury (27-0, 19 KOs), 30, after they stepped off the scale despite a promotion filled with trash talk from the friendly rivals.
“Talk is cheap. Tomorrow it’s time. Actions speak louder than words,” said Wilder, who will defend his belt for the eighth time. “So come [Saturday] I get to release everything that’s inside of me. I can’t wait.
“It’s definitely the most important [fight of my career], but definitely not the most difficult. I fought way tougher guys than him. My last opponent [Luis Ortiz in March] was way tougher than him. This is just another step to making it where I want to go. I’m gonna knock him out.”
Junior middleweight world titleholder Jarrett Hurd (22-0, 15 KOs), 28, of Accokeek, Maryland, idle since April because of left rotator cuff surgery, weighed in at 152.6 pounds for his third defense of his 154-pound title in the co-feature.
Challenger Jason Welborn (24-6, 7 KOs), 32, of England, was 152.5 pounds.
There are two other 10-round heavyweight fights on the pay-per-view broadcast.
Luis “King Kong” Ortiz (29-1, 25 KOs), 39, a Cuban southpaw who fights out of Miami, Florida, will be in his second fight since getting knocked out by Wilder in the 10th round in March. He weighed 241 pounds, and opponent Travis Kauffman (32-2, 23 KOs), 33, of Reading, Pennsylvania, was 229 pounds.
England’s Joe Joyce (6-0, 6 KOs), 33, the 2016 Olympic super heavyweight silver medalist, was 262 pounds, and Joe Hanks (23-2, 15 KOs), 35, of Newark, New Jersey, weighed 247.6 pounds.
Among other undercard bouts there is a vacant strawweight world title fight on the card between Mark Anthony Barriga (9-0, 1 KO), 25, of the Philippines, and Carlos Licona (13-0, 2 KOs), 23, a Mexico native fighting out of Westminster, California. Barriga was 103.6 pounds and Licona 104.8 for the 105-pound title bout.
Also Friday, the California State Athletic Commission released the purses for the card. Wilder and Fury will both earn career-high paydays. Wilder’s official purse is $4 million and Fury’s is $3 million, but both stand to earn millions more because each is entitled to a percentage of the profits from the event.
Hurd will make $1 million; Welborn $30,000; Ortiz $375,000; Kauffman $125,000; Joyce $40,000; Hanks $50,000; Licona $30,000; and Barriga $25,000.