By: Sean Crose
Respected and veteran British broadcaster Johnny Nelson knows his boxing. Not only is he a notable presence in the sport, he was a longtime holder of the WBO world cruiserweight title. When Nelson speaks, people listen. That’s why his words about former heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder, uttered during an iFLTV interview this week, were of note. “Deontay Wilder said he’s coming back to boxing,” Nelson said. “I still doubt it, and the reason why I still doubt it is because Deontay still fights with a lot of pride involved, so I think the Tyson Fury fight really hurt his pride.” Sure enough, Fury soundly defeated Wilder in their third fight last autumn, leaving no real doubt as to who the better fighter was.
To Nelson, however, there’s more than just the loss to Fury (Wilder’s second in a row) that will keep Wilder from returning. “He’s not a great lover of our sport,” Nelson continued, “so when he’s out, he’s out. He ain’t watching all this sort of stuff and he’s a very very wealthy man so it’s about motivation.” Nelson went on to indicate that Wilder isn’t the only fighter to find himself in such a position. “Look at Andy Ruiz.,” he said. “How many fights has he had since he lost to Anthony Joshua? Is it one?”
Still, Nelson made it clear that the sting of his defeat at the gloved hands of Fury will be the main reason the hard hitting American won’t return. “I’m not saying that (money and a lack of passion) has made a difference to Deontay Wilder,” he said. “What’s made a difference is the fact that the persona that he believed in himself in regards to being the baddest man on the planet has now been broken and that was the one thing that helped drive him on, so, now knowing he’s not the baddest man on the planet and having all those millions to go back to, he’s thinking he don’t have to do this.”
While it’s true Wilder may well be the hardest hitting heavyweight in history, he seemed to have met his match in Fury. The first fight between the two men was a draw that saw Fury get off the mat to escape being counted out by the referee in the final round. The second fight saw Fury become surprisingly aggressive under the tutelage of new trainer Sugar Hill Steward. The Englishman won the rematch when Wilder’s corner threw in the towel. The third battle was a terrific affair that saw both men hit the mat. Fury ended up being too much for Wilder, however, and ended up knocking Wilder out. The fighter known as the “Bronze Bomber” hasn’t fought professionally since.