Deontay Wilder is not the first person in sport to try and blame a defeat on his clothing.
The US speed-skating team tried it at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. The 2001 Sri Lankan cricket team blamed tight clothes for their loss to Pakistan in the ICC Champions Trophy.
But is Wilder’s excuse for his defeat to Britain’s Tyson Fury on Saturday night the worst we’ve ever had?
Ahead of the much-anticipated bout, Deontay Wilder donned a 45-pound extravagant costume which reportedly cost in the region of $40,000 and was designed to celebrate Black History Month as he did his ring walk.
Wilder was outclassed in every way by Tyson Fury as the Gypsy King secured a 7th round technical knock out when Wilder’s corner threw in the towel.
But it’s now come to light that apparently the costume, which came included with a light-up helmet, was too much for the formerly undefeated champion to cope with.
After the fight, the Bronze Bomber told Yahoo Sports: “He didn’t hurt me at all, but the simple fact is … that my uniform was way too heavy for me.
“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. I was only able to put it on [for the first time] the night before, but I didn’t think it was going to be that heavy.
“It weighed 40, 40-some pounds with the helmet and all the batteries. I wanted my tribute to be great for Black History Month. I wanted it to be good and I guess I put that before anything.”
Seriously. Is this not the biggest load of rubbish a pro athlete has ever spouted in the face of defeat?
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There’s so much wrong with his excuse, it’s difficult to know where to begin but let’s start with the fact that Deontay Wilder is a pretty in-shape guy.
Wilder weighed in at 212lbs or 96kg for his fight and is, I’m sure, no stranger to lifting heavy things.
He might even do it on a daily basis and lift far more than the 20kg his costume supposedly weighed.
It seems ridiculous to suggest that a heavyweight boxer, not just any, but one of the best in the world would tire after carrying a costume weighing 45lb for no more than ten minutes.
Secondly, it’s entirely unprofessional for Deontay Wilder to claim he cared more about his costume and his ring walk than competing to keep his belts.
He was being paid at least $28 million for the rematch – which was held after Tyson Fury pushed Wilder to a draw in 2018 – surely Wilder had something to prove and should have been solely focused on the fight?
A world champion boxer seemingly admitting he put his costume before everything going on in the ring is a hard pill to swallow.
It also seems difficult to believe that if the costume was that important to Wilder, he would wait until the night before one of the biggest matches in the sport to try it on.
Surely, if he was excited about it, he could have made sure it was ready before then? And if he did try it on the night before, and it was heavier than he was expecting, why did he still choose to wear it on the night?
Frankly, if he put his costume before his performance, then the fault lies with his mentality and where he laid his priorities – not the costume itself.
A champion would not have put his physicality at risk for the sake of a flashy costume
It certainly didn’t look like Wilder showed up for the fight as Tyson Fury battered him from start to finish – only one judge gave the Bronze Bomber a single round during the fight.
But to boxing commentators and fans alike, it simply looked like Fury executed the perfect game plan, came out aggressively and never let up which caught Wilder off-guard.
To blame it on Deontay Wilder’s costume is to do Fury a disservice and is laughably lame on Wilder’s part, if not verging on poor sportsmasnship.
Deontay Wilder to trigger rematch clause for third Fury fight
Wilder blamed everyone but himself for the loss on Saturday and directed some anger at his camp as well as his costume.
He was unhappy with his trainer Mark Breland for throwing in the towel, saying instead he should have “gone out on his shield”.
But by that point, there was little to no chance of him winning the fight as he struggled to land a single punch on Fury so it seems immaterial to argue the point publicly now.
Yahoo Sports are also reporting that Wilder said he will go to Africa at the end of March on vacation and plans to exercise his rematch clause for a third fight with Fury.
What do you think? Is Deontay Wilder’s excuse legit or just a load of hot air?
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