Cries could be heard on press row on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena about the dire situation WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder was in.
“He’s down 6-0 on my card! How’s he going to win?” one scribe screamed at another reporter sitting across the way. “He’s just pawing with the jab instead of throwing it!” another declared. They had no idea what was planned and how it would work out.
What they did not realize, and what they could not know unless they were in the Champion’s camp, is that this was all part of the plan. Wilder hinted at it all through camp. “They have to be perfect for twelve rounds, I only have to be perfect for 2 seconds,” he often would say. The camp itself was all about setting up those 2 seconds.
Trainers Jay Deas and Mark Breland worked with Wilder to find that shot. During training camp, you could hear things while Wilder was working on mitts or shadow boxing like “That’s going to do it!” as he unleashed the perfect shots that would ultimately doom Luis Ortiz.
Wilder himself and Deas have both said he’s not given enough credit for the boxer’s IQ that he displays. The guys on press row do not understand it. They are used to judging a fight round-by-round. “Who is up after 5 rounds?”, “Can Wilder catch up?” are the questions that are asked. What should be asked is “What is Wilder setting up?”. The number of rounds he wins are incidental and not the main plot of this story.
A few of the boxing correspondents finally understood after it was all said and done. Tommy Deas of The Tennessean tweeted a picture of a sniper to explain it and nothing more accurately portrayed what happened in the ring. Tommy is Jay Deas’ brother and a former boxing trainer. So, you would expect him to understand it.
But the thinking started to permeate the reporters in Vegas and finally at the end of the press conference, one got it. He asked if Deontay was less like a bomber and “more like a sniper than anything else?”.
“I pick my spots. I don’t waste energy,” Wilder said.
It’s a new way of thinking for many of the old boxing order. They have been lulled into sleep by the Klitschko reign and Tyson Fury to expect a long slog that goes to the judges as much as a knockout. They won’t be getting that with Deontay Wilder much and, after 11 title defenses, they may finally get used to expecting the knockout.
Next on the agenda for Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs) is an anticipated rematch with Tyson Fury on February 22nd. If that happens, it is likely to be the biggest heavyweight fight this country has seen since Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson.