By: Sean Crose
So far, it’s been a hell of a ride.
Following the career of Deontay Wilder has been a fascinating endeavor. Emerging from the United States during the staid Klitschko era, Wilder, an Olympic Bronze medalist, presented himself as a walking, talking knockout machine as he blasted his way to a world title. By the time Wilder squared off against Tyson Fury in their first high profile WBC championship bout, the man had a record of 40 wins to zero losses. The vast, vast majority of those wins came by knockout, by the way. The fight with Fury ended up being close, but heading into the final round, it appeared Wilder was behind on the cards.
A single thunderous shot changed all that.
Within a moment of sending Fury crashing to the floor, Wilder headed to a neutral corner full of swagger. Yet Fury, remarkably, got back to his feet and finished the round strongly. The memorable bout ended up being ruled a draw. Just over a year later Wilder and Fury did battle again. This time the fight belonged to Fury from beginning to end. With a new trainer in Sugar Hill Stewart, Fury learned to smother the hard punching Wilder, thus keeping the knockout artist from landing cleanly. Mark Breland, one of Wilder’s co-trainers, stepped in and stopped the bout in the seventh round.
Wilder ranted and raved as a result of Breland’s decision. Breland ended up being removed from Wilder’s team, while Fury found himself being accused of cheating without serious evidence to support such a damning assertion. After an incredibly rocky road, the two men – Wilder and Fury – met a year later for a third fight. This time, Wilder put Fury down yet again. Yet, as hard as he was hit, Fury was once more able to rise to his feet after tasting Wilder’s power. He ended up knocking the American slugger out in what ended up being a classic battle. This time, charges of cheating or disloyalty would fall on deaf ears. There was no doubting who the true winner was. Wilder was, without question, a defeated man.
Yet defeats are simply part of the fight game, in spite of whatever some fans and analysts may say. And so, after a year out of the ring, Wilder will return to action this Saturday night when he faces the hard hitting though perhaps limited long time contender Robert Hellanius in the main event of a PBC pay per view card. Wilder is expected to win – probably in explosive fashion. And then? It’s an interesting question. It’s been argued that, aside from Fury, Wilder is the best heavyweight in the world. And one never knows what the wily Fury might be up to next. In other words, it’s clearly not out of the realm of possibility that Wilder attains at least one world title, or even faces Fury for a fourth time.
F Scott Fitzgerald famously claimed there’s no second acts to American lives. Wilder clearly aims to disprove that theory come this weekend.
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