When promoting a fighter, it isn’t out of the ordinary to leave things out for the greater good. A promoter may want to present them one way, a network needs to market a likeable star and fans need somebody that they can rally behind all for the purpose of making a star. Some things fall by the wayside, some good and others not, but thankfully I have a lot of time on my hands and found some things about our favorite fighters that was swept under the rug.
So grab a tissue and settle in. These are the five things boxing wants you to forget about the captain of the Bomb Zquad himself, WBC Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.
5. He Knocked Out an Internet Troll
Deontay Wilder is 6’7”, a trained fighter and has a mean streak in the ring, so it probably isn’t a good idea to piss him off, and that is exactly what internet troll Charlie Zelenoff did back in 2014. Zelenoff is presumably insane and goes around trying to pick fights with as many people as he can with a camera in tow, and he usually gets wrecked for his troubles. After months of harassing Wilder, Zelenoff actually challenged him to a fight and showed up at a gym where the future champ was training.
Wilder, who again has knocked people out to a twitching mess, wasted little time in beating Zelenoff half to death in another humiliating episode in the life of a man who is seriously needing some kind of psychiatric help. Though probably not the smartest thing to do on Wilder’s end being that he could have killed Zelenoff, Wilder made himself quite a few fans in bombing out this deranged lunatic.
4. He Was Nearly Knocked Out Early in his Career
There probably isn’t anything we’ll ever remember Harold Sconiers for, but Harold can hold his head up high for giving the future Heavyweight champion hell for four rounds after he nearly knocked Wilder out in his 13th professional fight. After dropping Sconiers twice in the first round, Wilder found himself in trouble after Sconiers dropped him in the second with Wilder looking the worse for wear, but was unable to seal the deal and score the improbable upset.
Wilder stopped Sconiers in the fourth round, but it was in a fight much tougher than he originally expected. It was the first official time Wilder had been dropped, though a knockdown scored by Dustin Nichols in his 10th fight was ruled a slip, but with many questions unanswered about Wilder’s ability to take punishment in a dog fight there is something to be said that this isn’t mentioned at all.
3. He Really Didn’t Want to go to Russia for Alexander Povetkin
Russia isn’t exactly a mecca of boxing or even a top ten travel destination for most people in the world (Sorry Mr. President), and it especially was something Deontay Wilder did not want to do when Alexander Povetkin was made his mandatory opponent early last year. Wilder said about the possibility of fighting Povetkin in Russia that “It’s too cold in Russia.”
Unfortunately, Wilder’s team was outbid by Povetkin’s team and their fight was scheduled to happen in…you guessed it: Russia. Of course, that fight fell apart when it was revealed that Povetkin was juiced up to the gills with PEDs, but Wilder’s apprehensiveness to an opponent that many considered to be the biggest threat to him at that time wasn’t a good mark on the WBC champion.
2.He is Fundamentally Challenged
When you watch Deontay Wilder fight, it is somehow unbelievable that he is a reigning and defending Heavyweight champion. Sure, he’s very strong and can hit very hard, but watching Wilder fight is something to behold. His awful footwork, frequently overreaching on his punches and his propensity to throw punches when he’s not fully set is not the attributes of a Olympic bronze medalist let alone a Heavyweight champion, yet he is both!
Wilder must be the most raw champion since Ricardo Mayorga, and he continues to find success despite these flaws. To his credit, Wilder can buckle down and box when he has to, especially when he put on a clinic in shutting out Bermane Stiverne in the most impressive win of his career, but Wilder’s propensity for being way too wild will eventually get him in trouble against a fighter that actually has that discipline and skill set, then again…
1. His Awful Competition Ahead of Winning the Title
This actually has more to do with the WBC and their propensity to give titles to fighters who they could financially benefit from more so than Wilder, but there has not been a Heavyweight champion that has had such an easy road to a world title. One of Wilder’s loudest criticisms is that despite being a reigning and defending Heavyweight champion, he continues to fight well below his grade even after winning the title.
It would be hard to argue against that. Nearing 40 fights in his career, Wilder was fighting journeyman-level opposition up until right before he won the title and has been fighting prospect-level foes since he’s won it. Wilder, like other recipients of the WBCs good graces such as Saul Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez, is basically learning on the job as champion so when the book is finally closed on him there won’t be much of an excuse of how coddled his development was on his way to a world title.