RECENTLY, renowned trainer and ex-Olympian Mark Breland revealed a lot about his former client, Deontay Wilder especially about what transpired in the training camp leading to that loss to Tyson Fury in their rematch.
His revelations were quite shocking. Apparently, Wilder thought he knew more about boxing than anybody, owing to that spectacular knockout streak. Wilder didn’t want to hear about throwing a perfect jab and would not do the usual drills like skipping rope, running, hitting the heavy bag if he didn’t feel like it.
He was very moody and Wilder’s co-manager Jay Deas would warn ahead the training team of Wilder’s mood that day so that they would not be on the receiving end of his wrath.
PRIMA DONNA. If that’s the case, then Wilder was quite the prima donna. And that pretty much explains why he lost badly to Fury in that rematch.
Just a couple of weeks ago, on Feb. 11, to be exact was the 31st anniversary of Mike Tyson’s loss to James Douglas. This was dubbed as the greatest upset in boxing history and it may not be amiss to invoke that fight in analyzing Wilder’s antics.
Tyson at that time was also undefeated and was at the top of the food chain. Tyson was at his peak and athletic prime and the word was he had too many good nights in Japan in the week leading up to that fight.
Tyson at the age of 20, became the youngest boxer to be crowned the heavyweight champion of the world and won his first 19 fights by knockout with 12 of them coming in the first round. Coming into that Douglas fight, he had won the first 37 bouts of his career.
Sounds pretty much like the mindset Wilder had before that humiliating loss to Fury. The question is—has he recognized that as a humbling and defining experience?
Years later, Mike Tyson in the brilliant clarity of hindsight would admit that he took Douglas lightly and had to eat his slice of humble pie.
But in Wilder’s case, the post-fight allegations became bizarre. All sorts of excuses had been offered— from his water being spiked to Fury loading up his gloves, all the way to blaming that gladiator costume he wore to the ring as having been too heavy.
TRAINERS. I am not a big fan of former trainers spilling the beans on the fighters they trained and exposing their weaknesses. If this were the legal profession, we would be bound by the sacred lawyer-client confidentiality and would not be able to disclose what we learned in the course of that professional relationship.
But in boxing this happens quite often, and I recall when Freddie Roach later on laid down everything about Oscar de la Hoya leading up to the Manny Pacquiao fight and exposed the former’s weaknesses, providing the latter an inherent advantage.
But this is boxing, and so fighters better beware and be mindful that trainers see everything and are not duty bound to keep everything sacred.
In Breland’s defense, I think he means well. Wilder isn’t exactly the most technical of all fighters out there and he needs to learn he can’t knock out all of his opponents with his powerful right hand.
On record was an offer from heavyweight boxing legend George Foreman to train Wilder. I think it would be in the best interests of the “Bronze Bomber” to take up that offer.
I also think he needs to be smacked into reality and Big George is the guy who can do that.
VERBATIM. “If I learned a valuable lesson, you always need to prepare. I’d beat guys on intimidation alone, I got comfortable and somebody said, ‘I’m gonna fight back.’” (www.sportscasting.com)
LAST ROUND. It’s on my favorite southpaw, my lovely wife Hon. Judge Charina Navarro-Quijano, who recently celebrated her birthday. Cheers!