Where is America's Support for Deontay Wilder?
Over this past weekend me and some of the homies got together to watch a heavyweight boxing match between WBC Champion Deontay Wilder and the much avoided Luiz Ortiz. Wilder allowed for a rematch after knocking Ortiz out in their first fight back in 2018. The second fight had the same result, with Wilder landing a devastating straight right hand that floored Ortiz in the 7th round and seemed to knock sweat into the fifth row. With this, Wilder has a career record of 42-0-1 with 41 knockouts. Let me restate that, 41 out of his 42 wins have ended with the other man unable to continue.
I often hear people criticize today’s boxing. Typically most casual boxing fans are drawn to the heavyweight division. That’s natural, as these fans want to see the back & forth slug matches that were so typical of boxing’s past. The biggest complaint about boxing is that people want to see a brutal brawl. Blood and knockouts, not someone dancing around the ring avoiding getting hit. Well, if this is the case, why isn’t Wilder a household name? Literally every man he has stepped in the ring with has tasted the canvas. When Wilder fought England’s heavyweight giant, Tyson Fury, those same criticisms against “boring boxing” turned into praise for Fury from Americans. Fury boxed and moved very well and fought a smart fight up until he was caught and put on the canvas twice. Their fight ended up being a controversial draw.
My question is, why move the goal post? It is “boring” when certain fighters avoid getting hit but it is “intelligent” and “masterful” when other fighters do the same? Here you have an American who represented his country at the 2008 Olympics. In Wilder you have a man who, to my knowledge, has never been involved in any huge outside the ring trouble. He’s a family man who proclaims his love for his children. On top of all of this, nearly ALL of his fights ended in the other man being unable to continue. In terms of sheer knockout power, (which is what the fans want) he is the most devastating fighter in the game right now. Sounds like he should have his entire country behind him?
But for some reason that’s not the case. I know, I know, I can hear you now. “He isn’t technically sound. He’s only a knockout artist. He swings too wild.” I shoot back with this. NONE of that matters to the casual boxing fans who are there to see one thing by their own admission. Knockouts. Which he provides plenty of. What does this man have to do to have his country behind him the same way that England is behind Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua? Or the way Mexico and Mexican-Americans are behind Andy Ruiz Jr?
I want you to pay attention to something when Wilder and Fury rematch in February 2020. Pay attention to how the conversation shifts. Those who love knockouts and brutal fights, especially among the huge heavyweights, will tend to shift their favor to the man who is dancing around the ring, avoiding hits, even if he is from another country. Someone once told me that it is impressive to see a nimble 6’9” giant move around the ring, which it is. But doesn’t that contradict these fans’ whole reason for not liking modern boxing? Tyson Fury is not a knockout artist, and if all fans want to see is big men knocking each other out, why does he garner more support than a man who gives the fans what they claim they want to see? I have my own theory. This is not a criticism against either man or their skills or ring strategy. But it is a criticism against fickle fans.
I don’t think boxing is dead as writers and casual fans have said. I just think that their guy isn’t the one doing all the knockouts.
Thanks for reading.