I knew this loss to Tyson Fury was coming and spoke about it numerous times. There are two main reasons why I predicted Fury would win this rematch.
"I Am The Hardest Hitter Puncher In Boxing History, Period."
Now, I can almost understand why Wilder felt this way. His knockout record speaks for itself. Aside from Fury, Wilder has knocked out everyone he fought. He fell in love with his power. This is nothing new. I’ve seen this happen to other heavyweights like David Tua and George Foreman, for example. They got so used to knocking everyone out that they neglected other vital parts of boxing skill. For Foreman, he sacrificed his stamina, which Muhammad Ali famously exploited in Zaire. David Tua gained a lot of weight and became a one-trick pony with his left hook. When he finally got a heavyweight title shot in 2000 against Lennox Lewis, Tua weighed 245 pounds and his only strategy was to blast out Lewis with a left hook. He had no plan B, and was embarrassed for 12 rounds.
Wilder reminds me of Earnie Shavers in the sense that most of their knockouts occurred with one thunderous punch. On the rare occasions when an opponent would get up, neither man knew how to finish the guy off because they were accustomed to guys staying down. They never learned to become good finishers. This is why Shavers failed to stop Larry Holmes when he had him hurt, and Wilder failed to finish off Fury the two times he dropped him in their first fight.
Wilder and many boxing fans fell deeply in love with his punching power and knockout records. Wilder is an amazing puncher, but what I realized before everyone else is that Wilder is all punch and little else. His entire strategy is a jab and right hand. But more on that in a minute.
Secondly, the heavyweight division is poor aside from "the big three." (Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury and Wilder). The guys Wilder routinely knocked out were not great. There is no Oliver McCall or George Chuvalo around these days to test Wilder’s power.
You may think I'm being hard on Wilder, but I'm not. There is some credit to give. He isn't just a slugger, but a smart slugger, and here's why.
Wilder evidently studied some of the most dangerous punchers of the past. Joe Louis often unleashed devastating strings of punches together to destroy his victims. One favorite combination of his was to land a jab and then score with a right cross for the knockout. Wilder destroyed many guys this way. In fact, he used this combination of punches to floor Fury in their last fight, only he added a left hook to the chin after the right hand smash.
The First Fight Said It All
Lastly, all people had to do was watch the first fight between Wilder and Fury. Fury outpointed Wilder most of the fight, and the only reason it was a draw was because of Wilder’s two knockdowns. That’s what made the fight so close. If not for the knockdowns, Fury would have won a comfortable decision.
And, in the words of heavyweight legend Max Schmeling, “I seed something.” During the last round of their first fight, Wilder dropped Fury with the combination of punches I spoke of above. Fury laid there dead. It looked to be over. Tyson Fury appeared to be another Bronze Bomber knockout victim. And, to the surprise of everyone, Fury suddenly rose from the canvas like the Undertaker and continued to fight.
Wilder failed to come across as a finisher, but that was not the only thing I noticed. Fury began to press him and back him up. Wilder didn’t quite know what to do, as he’s unaccustomed to fighting backwards. It took Fury 12 rounds and getting knocked down twice to realize that Wilder cannot fight backward and is uncomfortable with pressure. But the fight was over just as he started to exploit this. In the rematch he picked up right where he left off, and we saw what happened. Wilder, so used to being a knockout king, was clueless and hurt bad.
Hey, I am a fan of Wilder like everyone else. He was the first American Heavyweight Champion in 8 years or so. He can punch like hell. He has spectacular ring entrances. He’s a cocky but overall good guy and exciting fighter to watch. That right hand can drop you at any moment. He’s the most exciting heavyweight champion since the emergence of a young Iron Mike Tyson in 1985.
This is the time for Wilder to relax and enjoy his family, then return to the gym and freshen up on defense and finishing techniques. He showed true heart in refusing to quit, and I feel like he'll come back and eventually win one of the titles again. People used to doubt me when I'd tell them that he's not the unstoppable juggernaut force he was believed to be. I told people all the time that he could punch, but he couldn't fight. Ya'll didn't believe me. This is why it's wise to sit back and observe these guys early in their careers because more often than not, they let you down if you hype them.