LAS VEGAS – Deontay Wilder wasn’t the only one who didn’t want his assistant trainer to throw in the towel Saturday night.
Jay Deas, Wilder’s head trainer and co-manager, revealed during the post-fight press conference that he instructed assistant trainer Mark Breland not to throw in the towel when Breland brought up that possibility in their corner during the seventh round. By the time the press conference began at MGM Grand Garden Arena, Deas hadn’t had the opportunity to speak to Breland, a former WBA welterweight champion, about why he threw that white towel into the ring anyway.
A battered, fatigued Wilder was still standing, but backed into a neutral corner and absorbing hard right hands from Fury when Breland threw in the towel. Referee Kenny Bayless immediately stopped their scheduled 12-round WBC heavyweight championship rematch at 1:39 of the seventh round.
“Mark threw the towel,” Deas explained. “I didn’t think he should’ve. Deontay’s the kind of guy that’s the go-out-on-his-shield kinda guy. He will tell you, straight up, don’t throw the towel in. In fact, in the dressing room, when Tyson was getting his hand wrapped, in one of the earlier fights on the screen which they show in the locker room, they had a guy that got stopped. And we were like, ‘Stop the fight. Stop the fight.’ And right when the ref stopped the fight, the towel came in. And Tyson looked at his people and said, ‘Never,’ like that.
“And I said, ‘Yeah, that’s the same kinda guy that Deontay is. He does not want that. And then you’ve always gotta consider also that Deontay is a fearsome puncher. So, that’s always a difficult thing because, you know, he does always have that shot to land a big shot and turn things around. So, that’s what happened there. But Deontay is doing well and he’ll be back. He’ll be all the better for it.”
England’s Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) dropped Wilder twice, once each in the third and fifth rounds. The previously undefeated Wilder couldn’t recover from the first knockdown and appeared exhausted by the fourth round.
Alabama’s Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) also bled from a small cut inside his left ear, which Deas said might’ve impacted the former champion’s equilibrium.
His physical state notwithstanding, Deas emphasized his belief that Breland shouldn’t have throw in the towel. With Wilder’s pulverizing power, Deas feels he still could’ve come back to land a shot that would’ve changed the course of what had become a one-sided fight.
Deas also explained the dynamic in Wilder’s corner that allowed what happened to occur.
“Well, I’m the head coach of the team, but we do things a little bit differently,” Deas said. “Ninety-nine percent of the time, the head coach of the team is also the guy that’s the lead in the corner. Ours is a little bit more like a football team, American football, where the head coach doesn’t necessarily call the plays. You have an offensive and defensive coordinator. So, ours is a little bit like that. … During the round Mark said something about throwing the towel in, and I told him, ‘Don’t do that.’ I didn’t think he should do that. Then the fight went a little bit longer and then I saw the towel go in. So, I haven’t talked to Mark about it. But we’ll talk about it and figure out what exactly happened there.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.