Chatting with Deontay Wilder

By Gordon Marino on August 9, 2013
Chatting with Deontay Wilder
“You can’t get me out of the gym," Wilder told me. "I just love everything about the sport."

I would not want to push the comparison too far at this point, but the 2008 Bronze medalist Deontay Wilder has at least one attribute in common with Tommy Hearns. Hearns had very few knockouts in his extensive amateur career and yet in the pros was transformed into a pulverizing puncher.

Though he only had a little over 30 bouts as an amateur, Wilder would never have been mistaken for George Foreman before he started punching for dollars. But call him untested and a work in progress, no one can deny that the Alabama native who did not start boxing until he was twenty has developed a highly concussive right hand.

Since turning professional in 2008, the undefeated Wilder has registered 28 consecutive knockouts. Although he has yet to tussle with someone of Klitschko or for that matter Arreola caliber, Wilder has never lost, nor has he ever been forced to go beyond four frames.

Tonight on Showtime, the former basketball standout will face his toughest test to date in a 10-round contest with former world champion Sergei Liakhovich (25-5, 16 KOs).

I chatted with Wilder on the eve of the fight. Sounding confident and relaxed, he revealed, “I have been working a lot on my jab, on using it to set up my right.” Wilder, who is trained by former Olympian Mark Breland, agrees that he is a work in progress, but then again, so should every boxer think the same. Fighters who can’t imagine some aspect of their technique that could use some tweaking should think again.

For someone with Wilder’s punch, the temptation is to become drunk on your power.  But then, as Brother Naazim Richardson has taught, “When you meet someone who doesn’t go down you’ll be in trouble, because you won’t have the science to deal with them.”

“Most fans think that because I am so tall I can’t fight inside,” insists Wilder. “But I can and that is something I am constantly working on—learning not to square up and how to rip that uppercut inside.”

The Bronze Bomber continued, “I am constantly trying to develop my jab, on doubling it up and keeping in good punching position. I am also working a lot on my footwork, on moving laterally.”

A highly affable individual, Wilder can barely contain his enthusiasm for boxing. “You can’t get me out of the gym. I just love everything about the sport. The energy. The fans screaming. The challenge and yes,” he laughed, “the fact that you get paid for whupping somebody’s ass.”

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  1. gordon marino 08:20am, 08/10/2013

    the jab was sure working great and a lot of lateral movement

  2. Ted 05:26pm, 08/09/2013

    Thanks Jack

  3. Jack 04:14pm, 08/09/2013

    Ted you are absolutely correct about the “work in progress”. Arreola and Mitchell are on for Sept. 6th with the winner possibly fighting Wilder according to Richard Schaefer. I would think that Arreola wins that fight, depending on which Arreola shows up. He has not been the same fighter since the TKO loss to V. Klitschko. The other opponent would be Chisora or Adamek as you mentioned but my guess is: none of the above!!! If his brain trust thought he was “the real deal” I think they would be fighting better completion at this point in time. Remember Mark Breland’s career, his trainer? He was a tremendous amateur, but never really developed a good pro style. He only fought 3 top guys, Starling and Davis both won by TKO and Mark KO’D Honeyghan. That was it for the pro ranks. Similar to what we are looking at here, a bunch of KO’s against 2nd rate opponents.

  4. Don from Prov 10:07am, 08/09/2013

    You know, I’ve been comparing Wilder to a drunken giraffe in the ring—

    But he is a kid with limited amateur experience.  This is a tough time to be a young fighter with an outstanding attribute as everyone wants such a fighter, and Wilder is one, to be ready NOW.  Plus, there is not a plethora of veteran but beatable heavyweights who have some real skills to learn from when facing them.  I’d like to see as much real intelligence as possible when moving Wilder and that would include, as much as can be done, some smart steps up.  Who knows, the kid might develop into a good fighter.

  5. Ted 09:39am, 08/09/2013

    Breland is a very savvy guy. I guess they are looking at what happened to Price and thinking…..that will not happen to us…....

    But Wilder badly needs rounds. If he gets in there with someone who can take him deep, he might need a life preserver. Chisora or Adamek might fit that bill.

    The “work in progress:” thing will only go so far.

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