Loss, Blame & Excuses Give Deontay Wilder Attention He Never Achieved As Champion

By William Trillo

Just before Fury and Wilder took center stage in Las Vegas last week the in-house MGM Grand Arena Twitter feed flashed results of one of their polls on the big screen over the ring. The poll question was easy; Who are you here to support tonight in tonight’s main event Heavyweight Championship bout? Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury?

Simple enough.

The result was a whopping 78% of the 15,000+ crowd were there to cheer on Fury. That left a paltry 22% of the crowd rooting for Wilder. Considering Wilder was fighting on his home turf that was a pretty pathetic but not surprising number.

Yes, the Brit boxing fans are ravenous and they came over in droves to support Fury, but for Wilder that lack of home court advantage had to smart a little. Truth be told, as American Heavyweight Champs go, Wilder just never became a household name.

That poll was proof of that. So is this little diddy I am about to share with you.

Let’s step into “The Wayback Machine” and allow me to enlighten you. It was very early in 2018 and I was covering fights in Las Vegas. To put things into perspective for you; two months earlier Wilder had just successfully defended his Heavyweight Title for the sixth time.

As I took my media seat before the very first fight of the day a former world contender got my attention and I went over to sit with him next to his second-row ringside seat. As we were talking, fans directly in front of us, (4 or 5 of them), couldn’t help but turn around to meet the fighter whom they easily recognized. They were great knowledgeable boxing fans. It was a pleasure to chew the fat with them for a while. After the opening bout came to its conclusion one of them, knowing I was a boxing writer, turned around and asked me what happened to boxing? Why wasn’t it as popular as it used to be?

As if I was E.F Hutton, all the guys he was with turned in my direction as I answered his question with a question of my own.

I replied, “You guys are here for the very first fight of the night and shelled out some serious coin for those front row ringside seats. It’s obvious you all are very astute boxing fans. You want me to tell you what is wrong with boxing?”

They all shook their head in unison saying yes!

I asked, “OK…Who is the current Heavyweight Champion of The World?”

They all had blank stares on their grills while shrugging their shoulders! I might as well have asked them to explain Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

They were without a clue.

I told them that’s your problem with boxing, no one knows who the champ is. I then revealed the Champion was Deontay Wilder. One of them said, and I quote, “Oh yeah…I think I’ve heard of him.” Somehow, I doubt that statement was ever uttered when the names Muhammad Ali or Mike Tyson were mentioned.

Spin it any way you want, Wilder just wasn’t a popular Heavyweight Champ. That’s the fact.

That being said, and I am sure he didn’t plan it this way but…taking that beating from Fury last week and his subsequent laundry list of excuses and blame have become the best career move Deontay has ever made. Dude has been trending on every social media platform on the internet this past week like never before. At the crux of his new found popularity is that 70 pound costume excuse that will go down in history as an all-timer.

According to reports this weekend, Wilder has triggered the rematch clause. That is the only thing he has done this past week that makes any sense at all. He may never be as popular as he is right now, waiting or taking a pass could be very costly in the long run.

Of course, with the trilogy fight only months away it’s doubtful Wilder can learn anything new or break any of his old habits that have been engrained in him over the years. At the end of the day he will still be the same flawed fighter who carries a huge eraser in his right hand. Outside of landing that one huge punch it is likely Wilder will come up on the short end of the stick once again.

If Deontay didn’t have the “It Factor” when he was Champion, it’s safe to assume losing to Fury a second time won’t do his popularity (or lack thereof) any favors at all.

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