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WHY DOES DEONTAY WILDER STILL GET DISRESPECTED?

By Paul Magno | February 21, 2020
WHY DOES DEONTAY WILDER STILL GET DISRESPECTED?

Wednesday, I got this email about ten minutes too late to include in my weekly Magno's Bulging Mail Sack column. But I thought it was worthy of being addressed, especially a day or so prior to the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury heavyweight title rematch this Saturday in Las Vegas:

Hey Paul, 

Thanks for holding up to your promise to step up your content a notch or two in 2020 while as you said “one man speaking to power and trying to do so as honestly and earnestly as possible”. 

Okay....enough of the ass-kissing. 

Not my style. 

What’s the deal with so many so called “pundits” constantly underestimating Wilders boxing skill set. 

If I’m not mistaken, Wilder started boxing at the age of 20 in 2005. Won the National Golden Gloves & US Championship in 2007. He went on to win a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics making it to the semi-finals. 

Sounds like quite an accomplishment & very determined boxing achievement to me. 

Looking forward to an entertaining stylistic match up this weekend...Win-Lose or Draw. 

Regards,

O

I think there are a couple of possible reasons why many in the boxing world are slow in warming up to Wilder or are flat-out dismissive of him. 

I used to be a serial Wilder critic, so I know for sure of at least one reason-- snobbery. 

Yeah, I'll admit that I was a boxing snob when it came to "The Bronze Bomber."

I like my fighters to be well-schooled craftsmen executing the art of boxing like a master and, obviously, Deontay is no "Finito" Lopez or Bernard Hopkins. He was an eyesore for me and I used this bully pulpit/soapbox to rip on that eyesore. I once compared his style to that of a drunken tranny in a White Castle parking lot brawl. It was just a matter of time, I surmised, before someone with some "real" skill would knock him inside-out, Seth Mitchell-style. I bet there were a lot of snobs like me out there, although probably few who would cop to it. 

But Wilder has actually improved and tightened up his loose ends a bit. He's still clearly no B-Hop, but he's not that guy flinging wild arm punches at hapless fat guys anymore. He's proven that no matter what he's been doing, he's been effective. 

Yet, there are still Wilder deniers out there and, I think, a lot of it goes beyond boxing snobbery. 

Much of the derision and dismissive attitude is likely based on his relationship with advisor Al Haymon, who has been a favorite target of the boxing media since he came into the boxing business with the "silly" notion that fighters should have more autonomy when it comes to their career. 

It's hard to build much career momentum or general positive vibe when media big shots are ripping on you as a protected clod while you're still fighting four-rounders. Fans, even smart ones, will begin parroting a narrative if it's force fed to them long enough and aggressively enough. And, yeah, Wilder was a target well before he should've been big enough to be a target. 

That dismissive attitude carried over to later in his career and, to an extent, it's still there now. To Wilder's credit, though, he's beaten down some of that negative vibe by beating up competition. But, still, you can see the willingness to pounce on him whenever he slips up to even the slightest degree, whether in the ring or at the mic. The media slugs who've had to shut up a bit are just waiting to come back to the "he ain't shit" narrative and, really, the only reason for such persistent negativity is personal bias and prejudice. 

It's not like we haven't seen plenty of otherwise earnest, good fighters ripped to shreds by media because of their decision to be represented by Haymon. Vernon Forrest and Paul Williams-- two of the most likable, professionally honest prizefighters you'd ever want to meet-- were hounded by media and aggressively dismissed for no good reason-- other than their business ties to an "outsider" who threatened the old guard boxing hierarchy and, consequently, became a target of the old guard's lap dog media. 

I can't think of any other reason for the Wilder snubs, disregard, and general unwillingness to put some perspective into the dismissals. 

But, whatever. I got my own anti-Deontay bug out of my ass. I've learned to appreciate the man for what he is and what he can deliver in the ring. If others can't or won't, it's their loss.

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