Image Credit: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions
Deontay Wilder broke his silence recently about his next moves and inner circle.
The two-time world champion and Olympic gold medalist has been an assistant coach for Jay Deas for Wilder’s career for a minute. However, after the seventh round towel throw, Wilder made statements that seemed like Breland’s job was also on the ropes.
However, logical it was for Wilder to believe that he was still in the fight or that it would be better to go out on his shield, the reality is that Breland saved his career in that one move.
“The trainer, Mark Breland did what he was supposed to do. Imagine the optics if Deontay Wilder gets knocked out cold, face first or if he’s left in a heap in that corner. Do you really think a third fight would sell?”
-Andre Ward, Max On Boxing
Wilder’s Biggest Folly
Immediately after Wilder vs. Fury 2, there was the traditional post-fight press conference. Bob Arum of Top Rank and Frank Warren, Fury’s U.S. and U.K. promoters respectively were there beaming on one side of the dais. Eventually their champion came in with new genius trainer “Sugarhill” Steward excited and ready to hit his afterparty after some questions.
However, across the aisle sat Wilder’s head trainer Jay Deas and manager, Shelly Finkel. All speculated whether Wilder went to the hospital for a supposed busted eardrum. Then it was revealed that Wilder merely suffered a cut in his ear and required local stitches in his room.
No post-fight presser handshake in defeat. Wilder was a no show.
In the days that followed, the public wondered what happened to the champ for his performance to look so degraded from past ring time and they were served a bevy of excuses.
First, the lit up Black History tribute outfit was too heavy and it threw his legs off. Later, the receipts would show that Wilder admitted to training with a 45lb vest which totally annihilated this theory.
Deontay Wilder confirms during a guest appearance on @joerogan podcast in December 2018 that he specifically trains wearing a "45-pound vest" to carry extra weight to activate his "twitch muscles"?
Bizarre then that his ring costume weighing an alleged 40 pounds is blamed? pic.twitter.com/qwWMLuG7sc
— Against The Ropes (@ATRboxinguk) February 26, 2020
Then it was referee Kenny Bayless’ fault for according to Wilder, unfairly delivering warnings to Wilder that he didn’t enforce on Fury. Albeit it, Fury was given a point deduction in the fifth round for unleashing a punch after breaking them apart.
Next, it was Anthony Dirrell, the former super middleweight champion’s fault for yelling, ‘throw in the towel’ at the Wilder camp. According to Wilder, Breland and Dirrell have a relationship and Dirrell’s head coach is also Fury’s in Sugarhill Steward.
Man ppl crazy I don’t know why y’all keep thinking that was me it wasn’t wow ?
— Anthony Dirrell (@Anthonydirrell) February 26, 2020
Last, Mark Breland himself, according to Wilder, should have recognized that he was still in the fight. Wilder rationalized that he could have survived the onslaught in the seventh round to possibly come back and KO Fury.
In a career full of KOs and relative grace, save the time he admitted to wanting to kill a man in the boxing ring, Wilder was bugging.
Unlike his contemporary in Anthony Joshua who took an ‘L’ against relatively unknown Andy Ruiz with grace, Wilder turned into a magic eight ball of excuses.
However, not once did that hypothesis ever turn to himself, the fighter that couldn’t get it together under the brights.
“In order for Deontay Wilder to even have a remote chance to to put himself in a position to land that shot (right hand) is to do away with the excuses,”
-Andre Ward, Max On Boxing
Trust Your Corner
Remember Manny Pacquiao’s tragic loss to Juan Manuel Marquez?
It was a moment that both boxings diehards and casuals won’t forget. In part because it was such a dramatic face plant fall and also because the internet is unforgiving.
The one thing you didn’t see amid all the face smashes Deontay endured, was a face plant finish.
You can thank Mark Breland for that. It is a wonder why Breland isn’t the head coach for Wilder apart from current head coach Jay Deas’ proximity to Wilder’s birthplace in Alabama. Breland the Brooklynite has seen it all in the ring and like Mayweather, famously said in the past, its easier to trust a trainer who has boxed before.
They know what is happening in real time because they have probably been there.
Breland knew that Fury smelled blood and was about to have his thirst satiated even further. To avoid a highlight reel finish, he threw in the towel and saved Wilder’s manhood while his invincibility was eroded.
Former undefeated two-division world champion, Andre Ward recently made a great point about Breland’s decision:
We keep talking about Deontay Wilder going out on their shield, I guarantee you, if you talk to the former fighters who actually went out on their shields, talk to them 5 years down the road, talk to them, 10 years down the road, talk to them 15 years down the road. I guarantee you they’re not talking the same talk.
Boxing is a life or death business. Breland chose life for Wilder’s health and longevity.
We are in a sport where right is considered wrong and wrong is considered right. Mark Breland had more credibility in that corner and on that team than anybody else. He had been knocked out before, he’s taken losses before.
Perhaps after some time off and reflection before the third fight in July, Wilder will come to his senses and thank his coach publicly for doing him the biggest service a corner can do for a fighter.
Throw him a lifeline.