Theories abounded as to why Deontay Wilder had such a bad performance against Tyson Fury in their long-awaited heavyweight rematch on Saturday. However, Deontay Wilder himself may have the most interesting theory of all.
Shortly after The Athletic broke the news that Wilder will “definitely” exercise the rematch clause available to him as part of his contract going into his fight against Fury, The Athletic and Yahoo Sports reported that Wilder said his legs were weakened by the 40-pound costume he wore into the ring.
Deontay Wilder’s entrance🔥🔥pic.twitter.com/rQIj2JDhjJ
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) February 23, 2020
Wilder wore the costume, as a tribute to Black History Month.
“He didn’t hurt me at all, but the simple fact is, Kevin, that my uniform was way too heavy for me,” Wilder told Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole. “I didn’t have no legs from the beginning of the fight. In the third round, my legs were just shot all the way through. But I’m a warrior and people know that I’m a warrior. It could easily be told that I didn’t have legs or anything. A lot of people were telling me, ‘It looked like something was wrong with you.’ Something was, but when you’re in the ring, you have to bluff a lot of things. I tried my best to do so. I knew I didn’t have the legs because of my uniform.
“I was only able to put it on the night before but I didn’t think it was going to be that heavy. It weighed 40, 40-some pounds with the helmet and all the batteries. I wanted my tribute to be great for Black History Month. I wanted it to be good and I guess I put that before anything.”
Still, Wilder gave full credit to Fury and honored him for his victory.
“I’m super happy for Tyson Fury and I really want to give him my complete congratulations,” Wilder said. “He’s had a lot of great accomplishments in his career and this is right there with all of them. I’m very excited about his career and what he has done. He deserves a lot of credit.”
While some might point to his inadequate defense and questionable jab as being more concrete reasons for his poor performance against Fury, it is important to note that Wilder is a very light heavyweight, especially for his height. Wilder stands at 6’7 but normally only weighs-in around 209 or 213. The Alabama native shot up to 231 for his rematch against Fury, a large weight gain which can play havoc with fighters like Wilder who rely on power punching. Frequently, the extra weight will cause power punchers to burn out a lot faster, and it did appear that Wilder ran out of gas around the third round.
It would probably be a mistake to saddle Wilder’s Black History Month tribute costume with all the blame for his lackluster showing, but a long walkout in a heavy costume in addition to not knowing how to fight at a heavier weight, could have indeed been a factor.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn