Rewinding to 2018, World Boxing News couldn’t help but wonder what happened to former heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in two years.
Back then, a 32-year-old Wilder was on 39-0 with 38 knockouts. He was approaching another defense of his WBC title on March 3rd against Luis Ortiz.
At that point, Wilder had stopped every fighter ever faced within the distance. ‘The Bronze Bomber’ was at the top of his game. He had the world at his fists.
Wilder had amazingly hit 32-0 without going past four rounds earlier in his career. But did face some scrutiny for the opposition level until battling Bermane Stiverne for the first time in 2015.
The Haitian subsequently went the distance with Wilder before being spectacularly taken out in just one round in a New York return encounter.
Just over two years from his championship triumph, the Alabama slammer was undoubtedly the most prominent top division puncher in the sport.
Anthony Joshua had all the belts, but Wilder had the x-factor. He could punch opponents through the ring, a quality not seen since ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson.
Despite struggling during moments in the Ortiz fight, Wilder bulldozed to a 40th win spectacularly.
Turning his attention to Anthony Joshua or Joseph Parker, Wilder planned on embarking on a run to immortality alongside Floyd Mayweather.
Some of his phrases could be crass and crude, but Wilder had bad intentions aimed at anyone who tried to take food out of his kids’ mouths.
“Once I unify all the titles, then line up the mandatories, I’ll easily get to 50-0,” Wilder said confidently. “I’m not a 12-round fighter. I don’t get overtime.
“I’m a knockout artist. So that being said, I don’t take much damage, but I give all the damage.
“I put people in the hospitals. I put people in stretchers. When you fight me, your head is not the same when you leave. When you fight me, you’re signing a death warrant.
“I’m up for the challenge. I’m going to pass with flying colors,” Wilder added.
Had he landed the Joshua v Parker winner, Wilder would have been only one victory away from fully unifying at heavyweight for the first time.
Against Joshua, Wilder was the favorite. Tyson Fury, on the other hand, was a different story entirely.
After talks fell apart with Joshua in the summer of 2018, Wilder decided that would haunt him.
Bravery got the better of him, and he opted to begin a feud with Fury. The real option was to wait and put pressure on AJ to fight him after Povetkin.
It didn’t turn out that away and within nine months, Wilder was 40-0-1. Fast forward another thirteen months, and that record dropped to 42-1-1.
Somehow, 50-1-1 doesn’t have the same ring as we wait to see where Deontay Wilder goes next.
It will be interesting to see if stretchers and death warrants remain in the vocabulary when the exciting puncher returns to the ring.
Has the mindset changed at all? – We will see.