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Deontay Wilder: ‘Redemption is upon us!’

Deontay Wilder
Al Bello/Getty Images
John Dennen considers what makes Deontay Wilder a dangerous man

IT’S easy to mock Deontay Wilder’s litany of reasons, excuses really, for his defeat to Tyson Fury in their second fight. Fury certainly has. At Wednesday’s press conference he ridiculed Wilder’s conspiracy theories, that have encompassed everything from loaded gloves, poisoning and betrayal by one of his own trainers. (Mark Breland got unceremoniously fired for throwing in the towel and saving Wilder in that February 2020 fight.) By Friday’s weigh-in Fury was angry. He dismissed Wilder’s changes in camp and the elevation of Malik Scott to becoming Wilder’s main trainer.

“It’s one s**thouse teaching another s**thouse how to fight. Both are a pack of losers and they both ain’t worth a sausage. So he couldn’t teach him anything. Man couldn’t fight himself, he was a s**thouse. So when you’ve got a s**house teaching another s**thouse how to fight, you’re in for a real pack of s**thouse cowards,” Fury bellowed at Wilder and his team.

It is virtually unprecedented for a fighter to bring in an unproven trainer whom he himself knocked out inside a round for heavyweight championship fight, potentially the most crucial bout of Wilder’s career. It begs the question, does Wilder really want to change? Has he come to terms with his loss to Fury and addressed what really went wrong?

Bob Arum, Fury’s promoter, naturally has scoffed at Deontay’s explanations. “It makes no sense,” he said when speaking to Boxing News. “Pick one thing and argue that… Pick six bizarre things that happened and who’s going to believe it?”

Wilder is picking his own reality. “That’s exactly the problem. Real reality means less than it ever did and alternative reality takes over,” Arum said. “It’s part of the political climate in the United States. For the first time that I can remember a man runs for president and loses, clearly loses and tries to convince everybody that the election was rigged and he really won and really still should be president… It’s the same mentality, say any s**t and they’ll believe it. Sometimes you say so much s**t that nobody can believe it but look at how many people believe Trump.”

Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder

But does that make Deontay Wilder a dangerous man? For us onlookers he was soundly beaten by Fury last time out and that makes the Briton the clear favourite going into this third fight. But if Wilder doesn’t acknowledge that, if has convinced himself over the course of the time that’s elapsed since that he was only ‘cheated,’ so to speak out, of victory last time then, while he won’t have made the technical changes that might help improve his performance, his confidence might well be genuine. When a fighter refuses to admit he’s beaten, he’s dangerous. And Wilder always has that equalising power in his right hand.

“Calmness is the key to the storm,” he said yesterday. “I know that when I’m not calm my mind is cloudy. So when your mind is cloudy it allows you to make bad decisions. But when you’re calm you can weather the storm. When you’re able to see certain things, you’re able to decide, make great decisions. I’m looking to be calm this fight so I can make the great decisions and show people what I’m all about. We have rejuvenated myself, we have reinvented myself. Redemption is upon us and I can’t wait to show the world what I’m all about. I’m reintroducing myself to the world as Deontay Wilder.”

He finished with a familiar shout: “BOMB SQUAD!” A new man, unlikely. But the same danger? Potentially.

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