Senior Boxing Journalist @JamesDielhenn
Wilder vs Fury 2: Tyson Fury mind games already affecting Deontay Wilder?
"Their strategy? I don't know how to take it," Wilder admitted
Last Updated: 27/01/20 11:27am
Deontay Wilder looked genuinely puzzled when he was asked if Tyson Fury would really target a two-round KO win.
Fury rarely approaches fights so gung-ho and few dare go near Wilder without caution, yet the challenger doubled-down on his prediction to beat the champion explosively and quickly.
"I stand by that wholeheartedly," a deadpan Fury said at Saturday's press conference before their rematch on February 22 with the WBC heavyweight championship at stake.
But will he really storm Wilder? Or have those words already caused their intended harm?
Fury did record a two-round KO last year, against Tom Schwarz, but his next fight is a very different kettle of fish. In total he has eight stoppage wins inside the first half of 10 or 12-round fights. It is not what Fury is known for.
"Their strategy? I don't know how to take it," Wilder admitted. "Are they trying to throw me off my game?
"I don't know what he will do. He's crazy, man."
Wilder is already second-guessing Fury's strategy, not sure whether to take the eccentric Brit at face value.
Last time they fought Wilder was visibly wound up by Fury's pranks pre-fight and, second time around, will have promised himself not to get drawn into any mental warfare.
Suddenly he cannot shake the image of Fury, who spent long periods on the back foot during their draw 13 months ago, charging straight at him.
"Of course, it would play into my game-plan because when you come forward, you give me more momentum to land a shot," Wilder told the crowd. Or was he telling himself?
"I've got to back him up," Fury shot back with a poker face.
Fury explained his thoughts with a tale from his past - he was knocked down by unfancied opponents such as Steve Cunningham, a former cruiserweight, because he never respected their ability to hurt him.
"When you underestimate someone's power, you come unstuck," Fury warned.
Fury has replaced trainer Ben Davison with Sugarhill Steward, an American whose Hall of Fame uncle Emanuel helped Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko become knockout machines while staying out of the firing line.
Steward has already told Sky Sports he will rebuild Fury this way, the Kronk gym way.
There were moments in the first fight that Fury staggered Wilder but lacked the instinct to hurt him more. Promising a two-round KO next month is a high-risk strategy but it has already got Wilder's mind whirring.
Or maybe Fury is serious?