Deontay Wilder has been uncharacteristically quiet for the past few months, but only needed a minute—literally—to let his voice be heard loud and clear.
The former heavyweight titlist and one of the sport’s most outspoken authorities on racism and oppression took to social media to break his months-long silence. A video posted on his verified Twitter account showed the Tuscaloosa, Alabama heavyweight standing in the middle of the road, sporting a red hoodie which read ‘Fighting ‘Til This Day’—a way of life he has long ago adopted and chose to remind the universe.
“It isn’t about Blacks Vs Whites, It’s about Blacks Vs Racism,” Wilder (42-1-1, 41KOs) stated in a tweet accompanying his minute-long video statement on what’s currently taking place in the United States.
“‘TIL THIS DAY. As if 400 years of slavery wasn’t enough. From the womb, as a black man we were born to be tough. Lynched, whipped, burned was a thing of the past but ‘TIL THIS DAY—jail, rape, gun, how long will it last? “As if Malcolm X and MLK wasn’t a must. As Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, Trayvon Martin all died from just being us!”
The message came right on time, as the United States has been more divided than ever in recent weeks. The recent murder of George Floyd, a 46-year old African-American whose life was taken by four now-former police officers in Minneapolis has sparked protests in all 50 states and also throughout the world.
Floyd’s death wasn’t the cause for the current civil unrest; rather, the tipping point. It was also enough to inspire Wilder—who has chosen to lay low following his 7th round stoppage loss to England’s Tyson Fury (30-0-1, 21KOs) in their rematch this past February—to revisit a subject that has always resonated with the heavyweight.
“Dark like molasses, black like the night,” Wilder continued. “United we stand, together we fight. Fighting for Ahmaud Arbery and all of the others. Tell me, why y’all killing our sisters and brothers ‘TIL THIS DAY!
“I don’t remember a time when none of my people did anything to you people, other than work hard and try to be equal. Now y’all mad at protests and riots? We showed you nothing but peace. We’re done being quiet.”
Wilder popularized the “‘Til This Day” mantra during an interview with videographer Rahim Davies prior to his first fight with Fury in December 2018. The now-viral exchange saw Wilder passionately speak on 400 years of slavery and continued oppression endured by African-Americans.
A third fight between Fury and Wilder was due to take place this summer, only to get postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. A tentative date of October 3 was assigned, although current social distancing measures and health codes could cause yet another delay in their heavyweight series.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox