Deontay Wilder’s infamous smack talk came back to haunt him in embarrassing fashion on Saturday against Tyson Fury.
Wilder was made to look very foolish after taunting Fury about his mental health battle in a pre-fight press conference, only to lose in brutal fashion when it was time to step into the ring.
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“Don't you ever forget that when I found you, you were strung out on coke. You were like a big house, contemplating killing yourself,” Wilder told Fury before their heavyweight showdown.
“Don't you ever forget who brought you to big-time boxing.
“I brought you back, dragged you back, I put food on your table for your family to eat and I'm doing it again for a second time.
“I'm the one who sells the pay-per-view and tickets. They come to see me.”
Fury and fans were outraged by Wilder’s comments, with some labelling them ‘vile’ and ‘disgusting’.
Wilder talking about Fury’s depression and suicidal thoughts is disgusting, I really Hope fury folds him for that #FuryWilder2— Stevie (@StevieeeWx) February 19, 2020
This is actually vile from wilder. Using fury’s mental health and suicidal thoughts against him is disgusting https://t.co/AFMwOvVWCI— Laura 🏴🏴 (@LauraS_442) February 20, 2020
I understand trying to sell fights, but Deontay Wilder bringing Tyson Fury's mental health issues into it is pretty low...— A. Ruth Beasley (@beasleypeasley) February 20, 2020
How Wilder’s taunts sparked Fury’s comeback
Fury defeated Wilder on Saturday with a definitive seventh-round TKO, but it was also a full circle moment that Wilder created with more trash talk.
Fury beat Wilder in the ring, but outside of the ring Wilder played a vital role in helping Fury out of a dark place.
Three years ago, when Fury was in bad shape, he sent Wilder a video.
At the time, Fury had gained a lot of weight following his defeat of Wladimir Klitschko in late 2015, and admitted to Rolling Stone in 2016 that he’d been depressed, abusing alcohol and cocaine, and contemplating suicide.
The video, which features a much heavier Fury running to Eminem’s “Without Me,” marked the beginning of Fury’s journey on the comeback trail, and he wanted to thank Wilder for helping him get started.
“Guess who’s back? The one and only. Shout going out to the big ‘Bronze Bomber’ Deontay Wilder,” Fury said in the video.
“Big respect, for giving me the motivation. Telling me I can’t do it and that I’m finished. I’m coming back for you baby. I’m coming back for you!”
Tyson fury sent deontay wilder this video 3 years ago when he was over 25 stone and on the brink of suicide and tonight they fight for the world heavyweight title.— James English (@jamesenglish0) February 22, 2020
This man is a true inspiration and goes to show what can be achieved when you believe in yourself and never give up pic.twitter.com/GpdklgIQ32
Wilder’s famous smack talk helped Fury get right and start training again.
Since then, Fury has been open about his struggles with depression and substance abuse. Just before he returned to the ring to fight Sefer Seferi in June 2018 — 924 days after his last fight — he shared some of his story with the BBC.
“I woke up every day wishing I would not wake up any more,” Fury told BBC Sport. “But I am living proof anyone can come back from the brink.
“There is a lot of people out there suffering with mental health problems who think all their days will be grey, but life can improve again and you will start to enjoy the little things again.”
Wilder beat Seferi, and six months later he stepped into the ring to fight Wilder. The two fought to a draw, which set Saturday night’s rematch into motion.
Now Fury is on top of the world - and you can bet he won’t forget everything he went through to get there.