Welcome to the craziness.
Welcome to the latest heavyweight circus featuring two modern boxing giants, their entourages, a travelling troupe of jesters, hacks and three stages in three great fighting cities.
Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury had exchanged promises, hugs, handshakes and more importantly signatures before they had to be separated in London at the start of a hectic week. The roadshow moved to New York and then finished with a glorious flourish in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
They pushed, pulled, sang and danced and it was not all genuine, but unlike what too many people have claimed, it was not all choreographed fakery. They never said they hated each other, never warned that there would be violence, but with each insult they certainly moved a bit closer to disliking each other.
In 2007, Ricky Hatton and Floyd Mayweather Jr were thrown together in a similar transatlantic sideshow and with each minute, hour and day spent together the pair grew steadily more resentful of the other. "When it finished in Manchester I just wanted to get home, have a bath and get rid of him -- right then. I just wanted to punch him," Hatton remembered.
At the London conference, the suggestion by Fury of a pre-fight spar was spontaneous, the security looked on from the sidelines as Wilder accepted the invite, stood up, and for just a few brief seconds the pair were opposite each other and on their own.
Fury immediately went up on his toes, his vast shape instantly transformed the way Muhammad Ali did at every single opportunity when face-to-face with an opponent in front of the cameras.
Fury floated, flicking out jabs and just before Wilder could start to shadow box, the restraining arms of the concerned started to stretch out, keeping the men away from each other. Had it been a planned stunt, the pair would have carried on shadowboxing at a safe distance and the pictures from that would have been fabulous.
"I was between them and I could sense what was going on," said Frank Warren, the co-promoter of the Dec. 1 fight. "There were a lot of laughs, but there was also something a lot more serious. They are heavyweights, proud fighters and they don't like to think that somebody has got an advantage. None of us like to think that somebody has got one over on us."
Warren is right. Fighters are always just a short misunderstanding away from getting very upset, very quickly and from where I was 10 feet away, it was clear that both were on the edge.
It is possible to crack jokes, sing, pay a compliment or two, seem reasonable and calm and still want to rip your opponent's head off. In New York the pair were pictured sitting side-by-side on a sofa backstage and the image was used by people to show that the entire tour was an act, a con on the public.
They are putting on an act. They are doing their very best to hype their fight, but it is an act where they each get very close to losing their cool, and at any second when they are together on stage the whole show could be ruined by something sinister and stupid.
They have to put on a show to get the attention, however, and that is a thin and treacherous line to tread with two volatile men, both with the ability to push the slapstick too far. Only a fool could fail to hear the raw emotion in their voices and see the intent in their eyes during some of the rowdier moments this week, but fortunately they were professional enough to get through the conferences without crossing the line and landing in deep trouble. It was, trust me, very close in London.
"Right now I'm living rent-free inside Wilder's head and he doesn't even know it," Fury said. "I won every round, every appearance so far. He has no idea what to do and it will be the same on the night of the fight. He thinks he is mentally strong, but I'm in his head and he is confused." Wilder, as expected, made the same claim: "Fury is weak mentally, I feel sorry for him."
In London, New York and Los Angeles two terrific heavyweights, both unbeaten, both uncertain about the other man, were thrown together in a dozen studios, hotels, planes and in front of hundreds of cameras to perform. We wanted blood, then complained when the riot police intervened, but what we got was a searing insight, a rare glimpse of two fighters exposed under the lights and having to perform to avoid getting smothered by the other. It was brutal to watch at times.
When Wilder and Fury talk about fearing "no man" they are telling the truth. There will be no pantomime attached to that claim when the first bell sounds at the Staples Centre in early December.