Deontay Wilder has yet to find a sympathetic ear from any given cornerman, nor are too many of his peers rushing to his defense. (photo by Ryan Hafey)
Much has been made of the litany of excuses offered by the recently dethroned heavyweight titlist, who has placed assistant trainer Mark Breland directly in the crossfires in the aftermath. Wilder took issue with the 1984 Olympic Gold medalist and former two-division titlist-turned-trainer literally throwing in the towel in the 7th round of his stoppage loss to Tyson Fury (30-0-1, 21KOs) in their rematch last Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
“My people, all my guys know that I’m a warrior,” Wilder told BoxingScene.com senior writer Keith Idec earlier this week. “I fight on my shield, and that’s what I abide by. Look, if I say I’m gonna kill a man in the ring, I’m gonna abide by that same principle as far as receiving that same punishment.
“I always said my pride would get me killed in life. I’m talking about speaking things into existence, believing it would happen that way. So, I have to abide by the same principle of the reaction of what I abide by.”
Wilder (42-1-1, 41KOs) was floored in rounds three and five, and had only won a single round on one scorecard when the fight was mercifully stopped at 1:39 of round seven. Within 48 hours, the 34-year old dethroned champ took issue with referee Kenny Bayless not discipline what he claimed were repeated dirty tactics employed by Fury, his own 40-pound ring outfit which he insisted had weakened his legs before the Pay-Per-View event had even begun, and ultimately Breland’s call to have the fight stopped.
The latter was in line with his mindset of wanting to fight to the bitter end and also in part due to his otherworldly punching power having bailed him out several times before. Wilder floored Fury in the 9th and 12th round of their first fight nearly 15 months ago, with the latter knockdown being the distance between a split decision loss and the disputed 12-round split draw that ultimately came of the night.
While not as drastic, Wilder was also trailing on the scorecards in another rematch prior to his sequel with Fury. The 34-year old from Tuscaloosa, Alabama was down 59-55 twice and 58-56 through six rounds in his rematch with Luis Ortiz last November, when a right hand dropped and stopped the Cuban contender in round seven, delivering Wilder his 10th consecutive successful title defense.
In that vein, his comments on wanting to leave himself a puncher’s chance regardless of circumstance were understood by most —but only in appreciating the makeup of any given boxer risking their lives every time they ply their trade.
“At the end of the day, I get it,” Shawn Porter, a former two-time welterweight titlist stated during Wednesday’s installment of Inside PBC Boxing, for which he serves as a recurring guest host. “They had a talk. There's a mutual understanding—'Nobody's going to let me quit but me.' They've already said that.”
The acknowledgement of such a mindset wasn’t an endorsement, however, for Wilder—and head trainer Jay Deas—taking issue with Breland’s decision. The overwhelming feedback from industry cornermen has been that Breland performed responsibly in saving Wilder from further punishment—and from himself.
As much was suggested by a pair of former titlists who’ve both long grown fond of the Alabama heavyweight.
“He is the assistant coach. After this fight, he should be the head coach,” Abner Mares, a former three-division titlist and recurring guest host explained. “He cared for Deontay Wilder. He cared for the human.
“When my life is on the line, I would want someone to save me. I got kids, I got a family. I need someone to save me from letting the machismo out.”
The sentiment offered by Mares was enthusiastically shared by his in-studio peer.
“Mark knew it wasn't going to get any better,” notes Porter, who is trained by his father Kenny and would have expected him to do the same if he were in the same position. “Deontay's emotions are running high. I agree with Mark Breland 100%. I actually think they should have thrown in the towel a round sooner.
“I do understand, you always have that puncher's chance. I understand that mentality of Deontay Wilder. At the same time, it didn't just save his life, it saved his career. We've seen too many times in the past what happens because of too much of this (points to heart). Every now and then, you need someone else in there to come in and make the decision.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox