Deontay Wilder is back in the old routine

DEONTAY WILDER is ready to bring the ‘killer’ back because he believes he will not be judged for assuming that role in Saudi Arabia.

The Alabama puncher will make his ring return on June 1 when he faces Zhilei Zhang in his role as the captain of Team Matchroom in their unprecedented 5 vs 5 event against Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions.

This will be Wilder’s first outing since a toothless display against Joseph Parker on December 23, when he dropped a unanimous decision to the New Zealand underdog.

His lacklustre performance that night led to suggestions that the 38-year-old might be past his best but Wilder insists that the fearsome version of him will be back in time to face Zhang.

The former WBC heavyweight belt-holder was once criticised for declaring that he wanted ‘a body’ on his record ahead of his first fight with Tyson Fury in December 2018. The declaration was widely written off as an ill-advised outburst in the heat of the moment, some hot air that would drift away once the fight was over. Wilder himself later insisted that it was just the ‘Bronze Bomber’ talking, an alter ego that only emerged when he was in the ring.

Then he said it again a few months later when he advised Dominic Breazeale to make some “funeral arrangements” before their May 2019 encounter.

“Breazeale’s life is on the line for this fight and I do mean his life,” Wilder said back then. “I am still trying to get a body on my record… So if it comes it comes. This is a brutal sport. This is not a gentleman sport.

“We don’t ask to hit each other in the head but we do anyway. And you can ask any doctor around the world, he will tell you, your head is not meant to be hit… This is the only sport where you can kill a man and get paid for it at the same time. It is legal. So why not use my right to do so?”

And now, after struggling to land a meaningful punch against Parker across those 12 rounds in December, Wilder says the old him is back – much to the delight of the Saudi organisers.

“They [media and authorities] said how I wasn’t so good for boxing because I wanted a body on my record,” Wilder told Boxing News.

“But now you get these people, the Saudis, involved and they said, ‘we want that monster back, we want that killer back, we want the man who speaks like that’. And when you have people like that who appreciate you for what that is, it makes you want to change back quickly.

“I’ve got the green light that I can be that and not be judged. I can be that and not be crucified. When I did it earlier everybody crucified me, stuck me with thorns and stabbed me.”

Wilder’s decision to link up with Team Matchroom also means working alongside Eddie Hearn for the first time, despite ‘years of disagreements’ mainly regarding the elusive fight with Anthony Joshua which has still never happened.

On the surprise business deal with Hearn, Wilder added: “It’s a beautiful thing. Over years of back and forth, disagreements and different little things but life brings about a change and change is always good.

“When you look at it you have to look at the landscape of right now and you’ve got some interesting guys like the Saudis that are in there changing everything about boxing. The way we promote it, the way we line up fights and all those different things. Why not have the change of being able to work with each other?

“We don’t have to like each other to do business but sometimes when you’ve been around a person long enough you understand their ways and they understand your ways and you can co-exist with each other. That’s what it’s all about,

“I’m glad that we are at this point in time where we can co-exist with each other because I’m always a promoter’s dream and I think I’m a dream come true for Eddie., I’m happy to be a part of Matchtoom and being the captain.”

The pair were both involved earlier this month at the launch press conference for the June 1 event and even posed for pictures alongside each other. It is a far cry from the rivalry which had built for so long.

But Wilder is more philosophical these days. “Business is always going to be business you just have to know how to handle business accordingly,” he added.

“There is no ill will from both sides, we are just firm in what we believe and what we say. But when we meet each other there is respect and there’s nothing wrong with that. If I argue with you in front of my children, I’ll show you how I end it, you never want to leave an argument unsolved or with people wondering.

“You may not agree but that’s ok because after time you might say ‘you know what, what you said was right’.”

Whether Wilder’s desire to kill an opponent will ever be deemed anything other than grotesquely ill-judged is unlikely, however.

Source link