While Deontay Wilder and Robert Helenius kept it civil, the tension between Caleb Plant and Anthony Dirrell was on full display.
The four boxers appeared at the Barclays Center for the final press conference on Thursday, ahead of Saturday night. Wilder emphasized how highly he and Helenius respect one another while Helenius reiterated that he’s definitely ready for the fight.
“He’s got a warrior heart and a warrior mentality, and everyone knows I have a warrior heart and mentality, as well,” Wilder said.
“When you’re fighting with your heart, you’re willing to go out on your shield. That’s what it’s going to be, we’re going to go out on our shields.”
“I’ve given my life to this sport, so of course this means everything to me,” Helenius said.
“I’ve been doing all the work I can do to give my best self in this fight. I’m ready.”
Aside from Wilder’s upcoming fight, the “Bronze Bomber” has also been in headlines for talks about taking on unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk next — given he beats Helenius.
“Many people have said many things to me about fighting me, and when the time came, they went the other way. I reached out and some of my guys that are close to me that know him…,” Wilder said.
“I asked if he’s a man of his word, and they confirmed to me that he is. I’m going to hold him to his word. Hopefully he’s a man of his word, and upon being victorious, we’ll see what happens. That’s the great thing about being a heavyweight in a small division, you’re always one fight away from a title shot.”
Meanwhile, Plant and Dirrell, who will be in the co-feature, didn’t show the same affection.
“Are you a bum? Are you a bum?” Plant asked in a back-and-forth conversation.
“‘Cause you said all I fight is bums. I’m fighting you. That’s all you need to worry about. He said all I fight is bums, but I’m fighting him. Anything we’ve done before this, it’s not gonna matter once the bell rings. He’s gotta fight me, I’ve gotta fight him.”
“Who have you fought? Tell me. Tell me who you’ve fought. Shut up. Stop talking.”
“You ain’t never whooped nobody like that, what are you talking about? Who have you whooped like that? The only way you could retire me is running around the f—’ ring until I get old. That’s the only way you can retire me, you can’t do nothing, man. F– you can do? You can’t hit. Keep on laughing, b—,” Dirrell replied.
Plant has not fought since losing in November 2021 to undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez. Throughout fight week, Plant said that he has changed since then and that fans will see the difference come Saturday night.
Dirrell — who will be celebrating his 39th birthday on Friday — also last fought nearly a year ago against Marcos Hernandez, who he defeated by TKO. Before that he fought to a split draw with Kyrone Davis and was knocked out by David Benavidez.
Plant, who has not fought Benavidez, one of the division’s top contender, was asked when will he fight Benavidez — or Jermall Charlo, another top contender — but he said that’s focusing on Saturday night for now.
And though Wilder and Helenius are friends, he said there’s nothing holding him back from putting on a good show.
“Although we’re sparring partners and we respect each other highly, understand that the beast will come out on Saturday night. People ain’t gotta worry about, ‘Well, they’re friends, and he said he loves him and all that.’ It’s going to be fire, that’s for sure,” he added.