By Keith Idec
Deontay Wilder doesn’t blame only Anthony Joshua for the former heavyweight champion’s upset loss to Andy Ruiz Jr.
The unbeaten WBC heavyweight champ holds his promoter accountable for Joshua’s surprising defeat, too. Wilder feels Eddie Hearn helped build Joshua into an unbeatable, larger-than-life figure before Ruiz scored one of the biggest upsets in boxing history by stopping Joshua in the seventh round June 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Wilder discussed Joshua’s downfall with Scott Van Pelt on the ESPN host’s show Wednesday night, when he explained that Hearn’s hyperpole helped apply even more pressure on the British superstar prior to his debut in the United States.
“You just can’t look past guys,” Wilder said. “And you know, Joshua coming over here, the first time in America. He’s been built up and boost up and hyped so big, you know, and he had to come over here and then fighting a guy you’re looking past and getting knocked out like that, man, you know, to me that was, with everything that was built up in there, that was – I would’ve felt embarrassed. You know, he quit. The guy gave up in the ring. He got dropped four times and gave up.
“And he’s supposed to be this big guy, you know, bigger than life. But I blame his promoter for all that. I blame his promoter for building him up like that, always wanting to be on videos, always wanna do the interviews. It’s one thing about this sport, man – you know, having people on the outside, you cannot talk for people. You know, ‘Oh yeah, I talked to Josh yesterday and he said this.’ Or, ‘Yeah, my man gonna do this.’
Wilder and Hearn have a contentious relationship due to failed negotiations for Wilder’s ill-fated heavyweight title unification showdown with Joshua. The undefeated knockout artist has taken exception, too, to Hearn talking trash on Joshua’s behalf.
“You’ve gotta be modest and mild with it a little bit,” Wilder said. “You can’t say so much because you’re not the one gonna be in the ring, fighting, at the end of the night. So not only was Joshua having to back up stuff that he says, but now he have to back up the stuff that the promoter so love to have the attention and get in front of every camera that would give him the attention, and talk all this mess. And then, when you get in there with an opponent like Andy, when people least expect to see what’s gonna happen or they look at him and judge a book by its cover, and then you get knocked down four times and then you give up? That’s humiliation. And that’s embarrassment, at the top of the class.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.