By Joss Gooseman: First off, I am a huge fan of Deontay Wilder and I feel sad that the only heavyweight belt we had was taken and flew over to the other side of the pond, but I always had doubts about Wilder’s boxing ability, even before his seventh-round knockout loss to Tyson Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) last Saturday night at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.
Former WBC heavyweight champion Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) and his team were so focused on his thunderous right hand that every other basic and fundamental boxing techniques were overlooked.
The Wilder-Fury 2 fight has shown us three things:
1.The flaws of Wilder as a boxer
2. The responsibilities of trainers to their fighters
3. Sportsmanship and excuses in defeats.
1. The flaws of Deontay Wilder as a boxer.
Wilder always had the eraser, the equalizer, the finisher in that concussive right hand. In fact, he built his career out of that right hand. His stance is too wide, he frequently crosses his legs which creates balance problems, said balance a fundamental principle in boxing and he can’t fire combinations effectively, just that range-finder jab followed by the right hand, sometimes a subsequently left hook.
Every technique and skill of a boxer is missing or underdeveloped in Wilder, except for that right hand, that nuclear-bomb right hand. This is akin to one who only has one tool in his toolbox.
Luis Ortiz had more tools, but he wasn’t able to take away that one tool from Wilder.
Along comes Fury, who not only had more tools but managed to take away that one thing that Wilder had, that right-hand bomb by closing the distance and making Wilder fight backward. Wilder was manhandled, it was a systematic demolition by Fury last Saturday night. This is an irrefutable and indisputable fact.
2. The responsibilities of trainers:
There is an unwritten code about the responsibilities of the trainers in making sure that their fighters don’t get hurt unnecessarily in fights. A good number of boxing fans agree that Mark Breland did the right in throwing in the towel.
Was it justified? It’s a matter of perspective.
Wilder fans may disagree, given the fact that Wilder’s right hand which just needs seconds, can somehow change the result of the fight. On the other hand, most fans do, as it was clear that Wilder had no way of executing and firing that right hand.
From a general perspective, it was the right thing to do as Wilder was taking unnecessary punishment. It was all one way, and Tyson Fury was not even gassed out and was coming on stronger as the fight progressed. It’s a matter of perspective from reality.
3. Sportsmanship and excuses
After the fight, Deontay Wilder stated that he was not making excuses. Excuses after a defeat are not uncommon to fighters. To some, it is how they psychologically deal with the defeat. It is how they want to keep their ego intact. What they are not aware of is that they lose the respect of some fans when they do so.
It is possible that Wilder can not accept the fact that his aura of invincibility is now shattered. And it is possible that the people around him tried to help rebuild his ego by feeding him rationalizations by blaming everyone and everything, i.e., from the referee to Breland throwing the towel, to the costume, that is, except blaming Wilder himself.
Did the costume really affect his performance?
That can only be answered by Wilder himself, no one else. The question is, is he being honest with himself? And now, there are some reports that Wilder fired trainer Breland for doing what he did in having the fight stopped in the 7th round. As has been stated by many, trainers have a responsibility to protect their fighters from themselves.
Sometimes, some fighters acknowledge that and appreciate the act. And sometimes, some fighters don’t. From the fans’ standpoint, it takes courage to get in that ring, that’s not something to be debated on.
From a fighter’s standpoint, it takes more courage to acknowledge the fact that on that given night, on that given fight, the better man won.