by Jordy McElroy
That’s the weighted number boxing phenom Deontay Wilder believes stood between him and victory in Saturday night’s heavyweight boxing showcase with Tyson Fury. Never mind Fury’s shifty footwork and ability to open up even the strongest of defensive poses like a can.
Wilder believes the weight from the 40-pound costume he wore as a tribute to Black History Month led to a weakened state, prompting Fury’s seventh-round TKO victory. It’s an outcome that caused him to officially enact the rematch clause in his contract for a third fight.
The costume earns a solid 20 on a 1-10 coolness scale, but the post-fight excuse gets a zero. How disappointing for the resurging moment of heavyweight boxing to get sullied by a controversy of Wilder’s own doing.
An elaborate costume like that doesn’t come together overnight.
One would have to assume Wilder had plenty of opportunities to try it on before the fight. It’s hard to believe any grown man would pass up the chance to strut in front of a bathroom mirror with a suit that makes some of Marvel’s costumes look like child’s play. So Wilder knew exactly what he was getting into before he ultimately decided to green light the walkout prop.
The Sweet Science lesson that ensued was due to Fury once again proving unequivocally to be the better boxer. That isn’t going to suddenly change with Wilder shedding a 40-pound costume. A more conscientious decision would have been taking some time away from fighting, going back to the fundamentals and accepting a couple fights to work his way back to the mountaintop.
Unlike every other opponent Wilder has faced, a puncher’s chance isn’t enough against a technical magician like Fury. There was some seriously sloppy boxing on display that would have been frowned upon at any other level of combat sports. The flailing overhand, loose hooks and plodding footwork—there was nothing to like about the way Wilder fought.
There were points in the bout when he looked surprised that the few flush punches that landed didn’t separate Fury’s soul from his body. The Englishman simply continued to press forward and forced the one-punch hitman to fight in a phone booth.
That isn’t to say Wilder doesn’t have plenty of reasons for wanting redemption on the spot. Fury beat him down and then went on to sing “American Pie” after the fight. There was no chance Wilder was going to let him walk away without eventually running it back.
But timing is everything.
Instead of owning up to his mistakes, Wilder is starting to play the blame game for his reasons for losing the fight. He even went as far as dragging his own corner through the mud for throwing in the towel in an effort to look out for his well-being. Every fighter is willing to go out on their shield, but it’s the job of the referee, ringside doctor and cornermen to make sure they don’t.
Blatantly ignoring the real reasons for the outcome negates any chance of growth from Wilder. He’ll go back to training the exact same way and likely end up with the same result—a Sweet Science lesson, sore face and another karaoke session from Fury.