LAS VEGAS – At the end of the weigh-in on Friday, there was no traditional duel for the rematch of the WBC heavyweight championship on Saturday between champion Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury. The Nevada Athletic Commission decided against it after the two fighters exchanged bumps and verbal mockery during Wednesday's press conference at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Bob Bennett, the executive director of the commission, broke off the duel to avoid the kind of trouble that would endanger the highly anticipated pay-per-view struggle.
"What about the fans who bought their tickets, bought plane tickets, made hotel reservations, and spent a considerable amount of money to watch this world-class fight?" Bennett told the post on Friday. "It is the task of the Commission to have good judgment and to take care of the safety of the fighters, the safety of the public and the safety of the fans."
After Fury weighed 273 pounds and Wilder 231 pounds, the two combatants stood about 12 feet apart and began to worry about what would happen on Saturday night. There were no incidents.
You can't blame Bennett for being careful. He has seen press conferences and considerations for boxing and MMA that turned into hand-to-hand combat. What he saw during Wednesday's press conference was enough to avoid further problems. He called both camps on Thursday and told them that he would not end the duel while weighing.
"We will be on the lookout for the event so we can get there," said Bennett, a former Navy and FBI agent. “We want to be proactive instead of reactive. What happens if someone twists an ankle or suffers a cut? We don't want any delay in this fight. "
It shouldn't matter that you have no allusion. The heated exchange on Wednesday was played a lot on television and on social media. Another face-to-face photo would hardly increase the hype. Around 6,000 mostly Fury fans packed the weighing.
"This is the commission that does its job," said Bennett. "We are paid for that."
Bennett said he was confident that the judges and referees assigned to the fight would do a credible job. They are among the best in the industry. The judges are: Glenn Feldman from Connecticut; Dave Moretti from Nevada and Steve Weisfeld from New Jersey. The umpire will be Kenny Bayless.
The Englishman Fury had no problem with three American judges.
"My order to march is to have the best officials for every fight," said Bennett. "I don't care where they come from. Just give me the best officials and we'll try to do that."
The judges in the first fight were Alejandro Rochin from Mexico, who saw it for savages between 115 and 111; Canada's Robert Tapper, who had it 114-112 for Fury and Phil Edwards of Great Britain, saw it a 113-113 draw.