In its desperation to own the king of a heavyweight division revived by the UK, America hyped up Deontay Wilder like he was Mike Tyson 2.0.
But while he arguably has just as hard a punch as Iron Mike — and undeniable courage — Wilder doesn’t have a quarter of the boxing acumen and was badly exposed as he lost for the first time in Sunday’s seventh round TKO defeat against Tyson Fury.
Pre-fight most of the predictions had Wilder adding the 42nd knockout to his record as his flaws were ignored.
“As Wilder often says, his opponent needs to be perfect for the entire fight and he only needs to be perfect for two seconds — the time it takes for him to land his massive right hand that is the best in boxing and maybe the best in history,” ESPN analyst Dan Rafael wrote.
“Wilder surely will be outboxed for stretches against Fury, who has great skills, but at some point Wilder is going to find a home for the big shot. He did in the first fight, dropping Fury twice. Fury miraculously survived a thunderous knockdown in the 12th round, but this time when Wilder floors him it will be for good. Wilder by highlight-reel KO in the later rounds.”
“Wilder may not have the technical skills of a Larry Holmes, but his unorthodox style and ring IQ are above average,” added former champion Tim Bradley. “If Fury is the boxer, why did Wilder out-jab him in the first fight 248 to Fury’s 224?”
Despite Fury’s insistence he’d take the fight to Wilder and knock him out, most thought the Brit only had one way to win — stay out of trouble and build points on his way to a decision win.
Even when he packed on the pounds and came in 19kg heavier than the American, Fury wasn’t considered a threat to finish Wilder.
But that analysis ignored the glaring reality of the Alabama native’s career entering the fight in Las Vegas.
You can make an argument Luiz Ortiz — who hurt Wilder and had him in trouble in both of their fights before being knocked out twice — was the only world-class opponent on his resume.
Deontay Wilder holds the legs of Tyson Fury after he was knocked down. (Photo by Mark RALSTON / AFP)Source:AFP
The limited nature of his game became quickly apparent in the early rounds. When he landed his signature right hand around two minutes into the fight and scratched up Fury’s face but didn’t wobble him, there was no plan B.
Wilder barely threw any other type of punch than a straight one-two and had his movement and lack of defence exposed as Fury began teeing off.
Tyson’s former trainer Teddy Atlas was merciless in his description of the action. “Full disclosure, I picked Wilder to win, figuring his eraser would take care of a lot of sins,” Atlas said.
“But I’ve been saying since the beginning of his career that Wilder can’t fight. He can’t fight.
“He never learned how to fight, but punchers are not made. They’re born, and he was born with that great eraser, with that thunderbolt in his right hand.
“But tonight it wasn’t there to pull him out of the fire. Tonight, he got exposed because he doesn’t know how to fight because of his technique.”
Despite facing a dangerous puncher, Fury prepared and fought like a man without a fear in the world, proving his greatness and the defensive chops he displayed when he befuddled Wladimir Klitschko in 2015.
“Sometimes it’s good not to care, and just go in there and go after it. That’s what Fury did,” Atlas said.
Face rearranged. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
“He didn’t try and box and didn’t try and use his best assets, his legs, and his elusive ability.
“He used his size and determination, and he took advantage of a guy (Wilder) who was there to be taken advantage of.
“It was a guy whose technique was there to fail him on any given night, and his power was there to save him on any given night. Tonight, his technique failed him, and his power never got a chance to save him.”
Let’s hope Wilder’s trainer Jay Deas comes up with a better explanation for what went wrong and how his man can improve than his first comments after the fight — where he indicated a heavy ring walk outfit was to blame.
Speaking to Boxing Social, Deas said: “His legs didn’t look great to me early on. I didn’t think his legs look like they normally look.
“I know he came to the ring in the outfit, which was very heavy. I don’t know if that had anything to do with it.
“Tyson’s a lot of weight to be putting on you as well. I don’t know all the answers yet but once I see the film, I’ll know more.”
It might be hard to look in the mirror and admit when the mask came off his man was a one-trick pony.
Deontay Wilder arrives in the ring. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)Source:AP
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