Deontay Wilder was confident he’d run away with the current boxing retirement record before suffering a first loss.
Wilder made a bold prediction at the height of his career when stating he’d blow away Floyd Mayweather’s 50-0 record.
Rewinding to 2018, WBN looks back at what happened to former heavyweight champion Wilder in the four years since.
When a 32-year-old Wilder was on 39-0 with 38 knockouts, he approached 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 in his fists.
Wilder had amazingly hit 32-0 without going past four rounds earlier in his career. But did face some scrutiny at the opposition level he met.
But that was until battling Bermane Stiverne for the first time in 2015.
Deontay Wilder goes the distance
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.
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. “I’m not a twelve-round fighter. I don’t get overtime.
“I’m a knockout artist. So that being said, I don’t take much damage. I give all the damage.
“I put people in the hospitals. I put people on 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.
It could have been so different for Wilder if he’d gotten the fight against Joshua. Wilder was the favorite, AJ knew that, and the American was one fight from immortality.
Sadly for Wilder, the direction of his career altered when Joshua walked away from talks. Tyson Fury, on the other hand, was a different story entirely.
Wilder got forced into a Pay Per View decision that would ultimately haunt him. He had a deal with Showtime PPV and had to find a top PPV dance partner.
On the way back from oblivion, Fury was the only option left.
Many say bravery got the better of Wilder. He opted to begin a feud with Fury when the real option was to wait and pressure AJ to fight him after Povetkin.
It didn’t turn out that way, and within nine months, Wilder was 40-0-1. Fast forward another thirteen months, and that record dropped to 42-1-1.
A trilogy later, Wilder was 42-2-1.
Sadly, 50-2-1 doesn’t have the same ring after Deontay Wilder defeated Robert Helenius for a 43rd win and a 42nd knockout.
As he aims to cement heavyweight immortality, 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? – Co-manager Shelly Finkel told WBN that it has. Andy Ruiz Jr. will be next if Anthony Joshua avoids the recent challenge.