Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder: The Bickering Married Couple Boxing Always Needed

Boxing at Windsor Park
Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder will renew their heavyweight rivalry Saturday night in Las Vegas | Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

"I'm talkinggg," he said in the midst of being interrupted, the perfect verbalization of an annoyed eyeroll. It was the kind of response readily suited for "you never put away the clean dishes or take out the trash." And though this was no weekday evening at home -- it's the run up to a Saturday clash for the heavyweight championship of the world -- Deontay Wilder's apparent condescension toward Tyson Fury was still no match for his authentic, even earnest regard for the man.

After all, that's what companionship is all about. And beneath all the bluster and profanities and admittedly personal digs during this bang-bang fight week, one thing became clear: Fury and Wilder's successes cannot be separated from one another. Their paths (and pay days) are inextricably linked. At this point, they're two interlocking halves of a freaking locket.

Their respect for one another isn't even the begrudging kind. It's real. And it's what makes the Bronze Bomber and the Gypsy King heavyweight boxing's perfectly imperfect couple.

"When I found you, you was strung out on coke. When I found you, you was like a big house, contemplating about killing yourself. Don't you ever forgot who brought you to big-time boxing," Wilder sneered at Thursday's final press conference, dragging up the darkest moments of his opponent's past -- because he's the only fighter on earth who's earned the respect to get away with it.

"I gave Wilder the biggest payday of his life and brought him to the biggest stage," Fury fired back, the 6-foot-9 Beatrice to his Bomb Squad Benedick. "Deontay owes me everything. I brought him to this level, and this is his second fight at the top.”

Translation, in both cases: "You never even thanked me for what I got you for Valentine's Day. Don't you understand how long I had to wait in line at the jewelry counter at Neiman's?"

All told, they couldn't hate each other if they tried. Because these guys were made for each other.

Relationships are predicated on intermittent exchanges of power, and power has rightly been a recurring theme these last few weeks. Wilder's hand cannon of a right cross is the most devastating weapon in combat sports, but to hear each man discuss it is somehow adorable. Fury, typically larger-than-life brash, is anything but apprehensive about discussing how punishing that right hand was when it knocked him down twice when these two first met in December 2018.

"[C]redit to Wilder, he got me with two of the best punches I have ever seen thrown in a 12-round heavyweight fight," he said, bringing boxing banter as close as it gets to a familiar peck on the cheek.

Notably, the Bronze Bomber couldn't help but smile as he re-lived the sight of the Gypsy King's resurrection after getting flattened by a devastating one-two in their 12th and final round. He made no effort to hide that he's impressed to know that one man -- literally just one up to this point in his career -- was able to scrape himself up off the canvas after such a carpet-bombing. The giddiness is palpable. Telling.

Like so many squabbles between long-married couples, the first fight between them ended in a controversial draw that has been continually relitigated. But no matter how the dust-up ends when they renew their vows Saturday night, we know already that these two are lucky to have found each other. Whether we want to know it or not, we all need to meet our match before we lose the plot (or our ability to wipe our own hind parts in old age). Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder are attractive and eligible by themselves, but whether the subject is fame or money or destiny itself, don't let anyone tell you they aren't better together.