IN less than half-an-hour, Deontay Wilder was transformed from statistically one of history’s biggest heavyweight punchers to being condemned as a useless, crude novice.
In one fell swoop, a man with an Olympic bronze, a five-year reign as the WBC champion who mustered 10 defences was deemed useless, over-hyped and under-skilled.
was too old to change. He’d never mastered the basics. He was on the boxing scrapheap with a record of 42-1-1 (41).
He only had Luis Ortiz on his record. Dominic Breazeale was only a footballer. Bermane Stiverne didn’t count. The draw with Fury? A gift. Forget former WBO champ Liakhovich, or Molina, or Szpilka or Arreola. Useless. All of them.
While I concur, the resume doesn’t indicate greatness, it wasn’t always about who he was beating but how he was beating them. It was the inevitable knockout.
You don’t beat fighters like that if the only thing you have is a punch. That’s not how the sport works.
You need something about you. You need more than a few crumbs of talent. You need more than to be a one-hit wonder. You need to take your licks. You need to do the work. These fighters didn’t just bow down before him, roll over and play dead.
There were some seasoned observers who noted that to get as far as he had, you can’t just rely on Thor’s hammer for a weapon. That was a gift, but not the only thing that made him a champion.
Yes, I’ll intentionally fall short of calling him great because greatness can and is frequently only revealed in adversity, and goodness me is he facing it now.
Sure, he didn’t have fancy feet, he might have depended upon his punch, never worked downstairs too much but that didn’t make him rubbish.