Manager/co-trainer Jay Deas has been dealing with an annoying but sort of enjoyable at the same time issue: the man’s voice mail has crashed three times, because of the overload of calls from well wishers, calling him and telling him they loved what Deas’ kid Deontay Wilder (33-0 with 32 KOs) did on Jan. 17.
Wilder, the XXL beanpole from ‘Bama, showed a brand of boxing, fighting in retreat, jabbing like he was getting paid per the jab, marshaling energy smartly, that nobody much outside of his entourage knew he could. But of course, after the win over Bermane Stiverne in Vegas (UD12), everyone and their brother and their brothers’ mother called Deas and said congrats and “I knew it was gonna happen” and stuff along those lines. “I probably got a thousand calls, and Deontay got thousands,” Deas said.
At the minimum, Wilders’ showing made me want to see if he can replicate the sweetly scientific manner in which he handled Stiverne on his next glove-up…though, as I confessed to Deas, this version of Stiverne was distinctly underwhelming. His approach was passive, his game planning was hazy, and of course we heard days after that his body was working against him, that he was dealing with a condition called rhabdomyolysis, which is “the breakdown of muscle tissue that leads to the release of muscle fiber contents into the blood,” according to Medline. So, while the jury isn’t out on Wilder, let’s say that this juror didn’t think the case was slam-dunk obvious that the ‘Bama banger is destined to be the heir to being the division boss after Wlad decides, or his body and chin decide, to exit the swinger stage.
Deas took the highest of roads and said that he believes Team Stiverne, that this wasn’t some Don King trickeration conjured to build buzz for a rematch, as when The Don enlisted all his horses and men in the aftermath of the Tyson-Douglas “long count” scenario. He said he spoke to Stiverne trainer Don House, and he knows House is a truth-speaker, and House said dehydration was a severe issue. But, Deas noted, it wasn’t as if his kid had nothing working against him before and during the bout. For starters, his left eye was swollen near shut the night before the fight. No, he didn’t get into an impromptu scrap with a hungry boxing writer at a Vegas buffet, and one of the portly keyboard tappers lashed out with a sneak-attack left hook while protecting the last porkchop…the culprit was a rubber stretching band. Wilder was using it, and it snapped back at him. His eye got bad, and there was a mild panic in Team Wilder. But their doc was present, and ice was applied and some eye drops were used, and the swelling by fight night was basically unnoticeable. Yes, for a time there, it looked like the fight would have to be cancelled. Deas said you can see some swelling when Wilder takes of his Mardi Gras mask in ring…
Then, in round four, his right hand fractured. It had been hurt before and a couple pins are in there. The kid fought through the pain, and good news, docs say no surgery is needed. In a little over four weeks, Wilder will be examined and get the go ahead to use it…or he might need another couple weeks after that.
The 29-year-old Wilder will likely scrap in the summer, Deas said, and it’s too early to truly get serious about names. Al Haymon will throw maybe four or five names at Deas, and possibles will be whittled down. And if Deas had final say, what names would be in the mix? “I like undefeated guys,” he told me. “Guys like Tyson Fury, Lucas Browne..if Bryant Jennings were to beat Klitschko…. I will talk to Al, and advisor Shelly Finkel.
So those are some “whos.” What about “where?” A fight with Fury in England would be compelling, and going over there and looking to kick his tail on his turf would be fun, Deas said.
Hey, what about a scrap in ‘Bama? “There are several venues here that would be suitable. I’d say there is a 50-50 chance the first defense would be in Alabama. It would be like Terence Crawford has in Nebraska. It would be unprecedented.”
Me, I love that hometown vibe which makes the venue hop and the energy level kick up, because of the level of investment of the rooters. They see themselves in that ring, a representation of them, and that makes for an uptick in excitement. I say book it! What about you guys? Would you rather a “timberrrr” moment in England, with a down-goes-Fury (23-0 with 17 KOs) outcome? Or maybe bring Browne (22-0 with 19 KOs) to Bama, see if the Aussie can test that Wilder chin better than Stiverne did? Talk to me, in our Forum!
Photo credit : Stephanie Trapp
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