In defeat, sheer, heroic defeat at that, Deontay Wilder may well have earned himself more respect from the fans, more adulation, more popularity than he’s ever previously had.
The third (and final?) shoot-out Wilder had with Tyson Fury has quickly gone down as one of the greatest fights ever.
It’s still too early to tell if the fight will stand the test of time, but it sure looks as though it will. In terms of pure slugging, almost unbearable tension, and drama – along with multiple knockdowns and a final, savage KO – Fury-Wilder III had it all.
And in light of his supreme but losing effort, some people felt Wilder might look to call it a career after the defeat.
Wilder, the thinking went, had done his all yet was unable to beat his nemesis and as such might think it was time to go, this at age 36. Certainly, Wilder could have retired, his head held high, with nothing to feel ashamed about.
But Wilder is set to fight on. Shelly Finkel spoke with ESPN.com, and he said Wilder will undergo surgery on his busted finger and that he will not train for three-and-a-half months (Wilder cannot fight for six months, suspended medically as he was due to that nasty KO).
Finkel said Wilder will “fight sometime in the spring or the early summer as long as he’s healthy and he’s good, and he’s up to it.” As exciting as he is and as courageous as he is (Wilder really has to be ranked up there as one of the most gutsy, never say die ring warriors we’ve seen in some time), it’s good news that he is going to fight again. But the big question is, how much will Wilder have left inside after taking so much punishment; how will Wilder’s punch resistance be when he fights again?
Another good one is, who will Wilder fight upon his return? Knowing Wilder and his mental make-up, he will not want an “easy” or “safe” opponent to come back against – Wilder, as proud and as determined to be the best as he is, would likely agree to fight Fury for a fourth time next if he could. But there needs to be a realistic return against a good yet not too lethal opponent.
How would these guys be as Wilder’s comeback foe?
Charles Martin? Martin, a big southpaw who once briefly held a heavyweight title, might be the ideal comeback foe for Wilder. That said, Martin would feel he could beat Wilder. Would this fight perhaps be too dangerous for Wilder’s first fight back?
Robert Helenius? Helenius, who proved on the Fury-Wilder III card that his win over Adam Kownacki was no fluke, also showed he is a good test for anyone. Wilder would be facing another tall guy here, and Helenius might be able to test Deontay’s chin at least a little bit.
Assuming he can bounce back with a win, there are still some potentially massive fights out there for Wilder – Wilder Vs. Anthony Joshua, anyone!