Esther Lin

The final stat has now been filled in for the Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) vs. Tyson Fury (27-0, 19 KOs). The fighters stepped on the scales and the difference between each fighter was clear: Wilder 212.5 pounds, Fury 256.5 pounds.

That’s a 44-pound difference, or 3 stone and 12 pounds if you’re British. Either way, it’s the largest weight difference Wilder has faced since winning the title in 2015. The other typical stats, height and reach, are also slightly in Fury’s favor.

However, the stats never tell the whole story. They are nice to look at and allow those with a quantitative mind to embrace the differences. The real contrast on display was not the slight weight loss by each fighter from their last fight. It was how each came to the weigh-in on Friday.

Fury arrived first to the weigh-in, held in front of the Los Angeles Convention Center, first. His fans were loud and boisterous. Singing and chanting and Fury did so along with them. Fury continued to put on a show on stage with the scales, taking his shirt off on the walk and encouraging his fans along. This will come at no surprise to anyone who has ever followed Fury, it’s typical to his demeanor.

Then Wilder came. His fans were noticeably quieter, and so was Wilder. The champion had a new mask on with the outline of a skull and said absolutely nothing the entire time. In comparison to the Wilder we saw earlier this week, it was a complete 180-degree turn. Without saying one word, Wilder sent a message: This isn’t a game, he’s ready.

Fury’s fans taunted Wilder from the time he was walking towards the scales to the time he weighed in to the time he left. They yelled “Dosser” at him. They made fun of his footwork. They did everything they could to try and get into his head. What they don’t realize, what they cannot realize, is this is fuel for Wilder.

Deontay’s first televised main event card took place in Mobile a little over six years ago. In that fight a journeyman named Kertson Manswell told Wilder at the press conference he was going to bury him in the Port City. Wilder didn’t take kindly to it and knocked him out in the first round. Similarly, Bermane Stiverne told Wilder he was going to knock him out in Brooklyn in November of 2017. A brutal knockout took place again in the first round. Are you seeing a pattern? These tactics do not work against a boxer as focused as Wilder. They are likely not to work the way his detractors want them to on Saturday night at the Staples Center.

Once the opening bell rings, the differences will be apparent. One man will leave the ring as the WBC Heavyweight Champion and will have a true claim as Lineal Heavyweight Champion of the World. The other will be picking up the pieces. The signs point to a Wilder victory by knockout, but strange things can happen in heavyweight boxing. It’s something even the casual fight fan should want to watch.