It’s possible to make too grand an entrance
Deontay Wilder pulled out all the stops for his walk to the ring before Saturday night’s title fight against Tyson Fury. He got rapper D Smoke to introduce him before marching to the ring in a gem-encrusted, light-up set of steel armor while video boards displayed images of famous African-Americans in a celebration of Black History Month.
It was a sight to behold.
And then he lost for the first time in his career.
According to Wilder, the elaborate entrance and the outcome of the fight were related. He told multiple outlets on Monday that he lost the bout because the heavy costume he wore to the ring left his legs weak.
“He didn’t hurt me at all, but the simple fact is ... that my uniform was way too heavy for me,” Wilder told Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports. “I didn’t have no legs from the beginning of the fight. In the third round, my legs were just shot all the way through. But I’m a warrior and people know that I’m a warrior. It could easily be told that I didn’t have legs or anything. A lot of people were telling me, ‘It looked like something was wrong with you.’ Something was, but when you’re in the ring, you have to bluff a lot of things. I tried my best to do so. I knew I didn’t have the legs because of my uniform.”
Wilder told The Athletic’s Lance Pugmire something similar, saying he should have tested how it would feel to walk to the ring with the outfit on.
“I didn’t expect it to be that heavy and have that effect on me,” Wilder said. “That’s the thing we didn’t test out: walking to the ring. We didn’t time it right. It’s all my fault. It’s a learning process.”
I know I’d collapse in a heap after walking 50 feet with 40 pounds on my back, but you’d never expect an elite heavyweight like Wilder to struggle with a relatively small amount of added weight.
Wilder was already carrying some extra weight even before he put on the costume. He weighed in the day before the fight at 231 pounds, the heaviest of his career. He had been 212.5 pounds for his first bout with Fury in December 2018.
Fury, meanwhile, rested his legs for his entrance, being carried down the aisle in a throne.
Wilder said Monday he plans to exercise his rematch clause for a fight this summer. Maybe he’ll follow Fury’s lead next time and rest his legs by getting carried to the ring.
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