Whether or not what he’s said is true, it’s been unfortunate to see how Deontay Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) has handled his one-sided loss to Tyson Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) in their rematch last February in which he surrendered his WBC Heavyweight title to “The Gypsy King.”
From the attire he wore during his walkout being too heavy, to blaming and ultimately firing his assistant trainer Mark Breland, who threw in the towel in the seventh round, to claiming his water was spiked, to questioning the legality of Fury’s gloves and the length of his fingernails, “The Bronze Bomber” has offered up a multitude of reasons as to why he came up short against Fury in a bout in which he was dropped multiple times.
The only issue, however, is that he hasn’t taken any accountability for the loss. In other words, he’s never simply admitted that perhaps Fury was just the better man on that night. Instead, he’s resorted to labeling the Englishman as a cheater.
“He cheated. He flat out cheated,” Wilder told Brian Custer on The Last Stand PodCast via BoxingScene.com. “That wasn’t the best man. That was a coward. He got a long reputation of being a known cheater. And if you known to be a known cheater, why you gonna stop now? The gist of it, if they have the opportunity to cheat and you don’t cheat, you’re known as a sucker.”
In boxing, fighters seem to have an obsession with maintaining an undefeated record, and for obvious reason. Floyd Mayweather certainly played a role in this way of thinking, as his perfect 50-0 boxing record was undoubtedly part of the aura that made him the sport’s top attraction.
Not every fighter can be like Mayweather though, which is why it’s important how fighters deal with losses, especially the first of their career. Offering excuses, for example, is often the wrong approach, as the boxing community typically sees right through them. Taking this approach only hurts a fighter’s reputation and we’ve already begun to see this with Wilder.
It doesn’t have to be this way though. In fact, the 35-year-old American has a lot going for him.
He has an incredible story, for example, as a black man from Alabama who was facing tough times and turned to boxing in order to support his young daughter who was born with spina bifida. In addition, he’s an influential figure as well as a marketable figure given his outspoken personality as well as his otherworldly power, which has led to 41 of his 42 wins coming by way of T/KO.
In other words, there’s no reason for Wilder’s reputation to take such a hit following just one loss. He likely would’ve been better off had he accepted the loss and moved on and at this point, that may be his best option.
Following the rematch between Fury and Wilder, the two were set to run things back for a third time, but injuries as well as other circumstances including the COVID-19 pandemic have continuously pushed the fight back.
And for a moment, it seemed as if Fury had had enough, as he voiced his interest in taking a fight on Dec. 5 in England, although that may no longer be the case as Wilder still seems to be pushing for a third bout next year.
For numerous reasons, however, The Bronze Bomber could seemingly benefit from stepping back from the situation and accepting another fight.
First off, fans have simply gotten tired of hearing him talk about Fury. And secondly, the rematch was extremely one-sided and Wilder had little to offer The Gypsy King.
By taking on another fight in the meantime, Wilder can begin to build himself back up both from a physical standpoint as well as from a reputation standpoint. And if he chooses to so, he certainly has options. A fight against fellow former champion Andy Ruiz Jr., for example, could make a ton of sense for both men.
Ultimately, despite the loss against Fury, Wilder remains one of the top heavyweights in the world and he can certainly still be a star. But in order for those things to be true and for him to continue to land the big fights he’s after, he needs to change his tune, move on from Fury for the time being, and get back to doing what he does best.