Ninety seconds is all it took. This Saturday, Deontay ‘Bronze Bomber’ Wilder, the 6ft 7in Alabama knockout artist and thoroughly pleasant Heavyweight Champion, lost the Great British public to a sea of excuses and accusations as to why he lost his fight against Tyson ‘The Gypsy King’ Fury. The social media post outlined a conspiracy as complex and as far reaching as the Kennedy assassination or the moon landing, in the Bomber’s head at least. And it had all been going so well.
Back in February, Wilder met Fury at the MGM in Las Vegas for the second time, and Fury took him to school. Nevertheless, while unable to unleash his formidable right hand, Wilder still fought like a lion, taking headshots and body shots, hitting the canvas in the third and fifth until, under a huge onslaught by Fury and clearly unable to defend himself, his corner threw in the towel, saving him from a dangerous knockout. If it had just stopped there, the British public would have taken Wilder as one of their own.
Deontay loves to quote the bible, but perhaps he could learn from one of our own saints, Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards: “The most important thing is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle.” Basically, we love a trier. We love bravery in the face of adversity. Winning, as Eddie says, is just a by-product of the struggle. Fury is arguably the best boxer on the planet, there’s no shame in defeat to the man, provided you give it your all. And Wilder did. Just like Hatton did against Mayweather. Just like Bruno did against Mike Tyson. He went forward, he went down, he won a place in our hearts. And then, Saturday came.
In America, there’s always someone to blame. It’s built into their DNA. If you trip up walking down the High Street here in Blighty, no matter how old you are, you’ll still hear your mum’s caring voice, “Try walking properly, idiot!”
You slip on a New York sidewalk, well that’s a claim right there man, City has to pay! Sidewalk isn’t safe! The blame game and excuses don’t sit well with the hardy British. And on Saturday, on social media, Wilder took excuses to a new level.
Everyone was in on it. Kenny Bayless the ‘crap in a bucket’ referee, cornerman Ricky Hatton loosening the gloves, even Wilder’s own cornerman Mark Breland was part of the conspiracy, apparently so determined to see his champion lose he not only threw the towel in, but spiked the water too, just to be certain. Oh, and the costume was too heavy. And Fury had something stuffed down his gloves (yes mate, he did, it’s called talent). In one 90 second post, Deontay Wilder, the warrior we thought was one of us, turned out to be just another tragic blame-game merchant. Next please!