Mancuso: Finding The Aggression of Deontay Wilder

We are beginning to understand more about Deontay Wilder. The WBC heavyweight champion, as is the case with most fighters takes out  aggression in the gym as preparation continues for the next battle. Boxing is a sport where the intent is take out your opponent, however, Wilder as talented as he is, may have drawn the line.

And his words are more than aggression. They are in the category of a killer instinct. Words to his challenger, Dominic Breazeale, who he faces at the Barclays Center Saturday night on Showtime Championship Boxing, are unacceptable.

For the sport of boxing those angry words are a part of the game. They are used to promote, whether it be for more interest to sell tickets or done with those so-called mind games. However this is an angry Deontay Wilder, with intentions to destroy his opponent and quest to continue  planting himself as best in the heavyweight division.

“The closest Breazeale is going to get to this belt is in his dreams,” Wilder said Thursday afternoon. I want to hurt Breazeale so bad, I’m going to keep my composure until that time comes Saturday night.”

Credit: Amanda Westcott/Showtime

That was a composed statement from the champion. There were references to death, much to the dismay of many, and geared towards his latest challenger about a heavyweight championship that means a lot to Deontay Wilder.  He wants to unify the division, a task in itself, and will fight for a fourth time in Brooklyn.

There is a known animosity between the champion and challenger. Their children and wives have become a part of the story line, but this is not the WWE story line. Insults have been  traded and make that nothing new with boxing in the year 2019. Though at the end fighters embrace when the punches and result are final.

After this title fight Saturday night, there may be no hugs and thank you. Then again, Deontay Wilder, the champion,  had a nasty war of words with pushing and shoving before his late comeback and title defense against the giant known as Tyson Fury.

They hugged and embraced when it was over. That was the last fight won by Wilder by split decision at the Staples Center in Los Angeles back in December. Days, weeks, months later,  continued the mutual respect and talk of a rematch was over when Fury signed with Top Rank and Wilder stayed loyal to the PBC.

We know, Deontay Wilder  is showing he wants supremacy and doing it the wrong way. This is not Muhammad Ali, who always got into the heads of his opponents because that was more for show. And we understand how intense it can be leading to the championship fight with the back-and-forth, war of words of the fighters, and their respective camps.

But there is that real and bad animosity with this one. And for the most part that realization of aggression and another side of Deontay Wilder.

It could be that Dominic Breazeale is not understood. Tall, good looking, and a future with his camera presence, he does have a good punch.  He wanted this fight and chased the champion for the opportunity. Perhaps, in the mind of Deontay Wilder, you have to earn it to get a shot at his green and gold belt.

Even as fight fans look for a Wilder-Anthony Joshua unification bout, this is one that can be ugly. Because there is every reason to believe this is that fight of styles, it could come to a decision. Then again, never count out Deontay Wilder.

When he is down for the count  we saw that aggression. After Tyson Fury put him down on the canvas, it was Deontay Wilder in the championship rounds, after Fury came right back up from the canvas.

It’s mental and more than physical. Wilder has alluded to that point and that could be part of the mind games here, though his words may or may not be gaining more fans and respect that are deserved for a heavyweight champion.  

To that Breazeale said, “I’m going to beat Deontay so bad that he’s not going to ever want to lace up the gloves again. Getting that WBC belt is everything to me. This is my Super Bowl. Sports are 80 percent mental. When I’m done with him, the mental aspect is going to be beat out of him.”

However, the concern is this aggression of Deontay Wilder and it is there two days before this important title fight. There has  never been a doubt about his mentality and boxing does not need the words of death attributed to either side.

But nothing will ever stop that tug of war. All fans want is a fight to determine the championship that could go the 12-round distance. Aggression is expected.

After the result Saturday night we will all know how much of that aggression is the real Deontay Wilder.

Comment: [email protected]  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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