Boxers talk trash; it’s what they do. But WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder may want to slow down on his claims of multigenerational greatness, especially when he’s talking about a man who once threatened to eat another boxer’s kid.
One-belt Wilder had the audacity to claim that he could’ve beaten 1986 Mike Tyson, which, for those who don’t recall, was during Tyson’s peak years. Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs), who has currently fought a series of stumble bums and giant-sized tomato cans, told TMZ in a serious voice: “Listen, I’ve got to keep it real. I know people always go back to the old school or look at the new school, and there’s no school where I’m not No. 1 on earth.”
Let’s keep in mind that he’s talking about this Mike Tyson.
But to be honest regarding Wilder, what was he supposed to say? “Man, 1986 Mike Tyson would’ve beaten me like a piñata!”
If Wilder had gone this way, it would’ve been self-depreciating and defeatist, but it also would’ve been correct. But Wilder can’t say it, and we know he can’t say it, which is why I don’t like these kinds of loaded questions. Sure, Wilder folded Bermane Stiverne like a lawn chair (see photo above), but peak Mike Tyson ain’t no Bermane Stiverne.
Nevertheless, Lennox Lewis is not here for anyone trying to soil the good rehabbed name of one Mr. Tyson. Lewis, who stopped Tyson in 2002, had this to say via social media, according to ESPN:
I just heard Deontay Wilder said he would destroy a young Mike Tyson. My thoughts are that it’s easy to talk until you actually get in the ring
I like Wilder but he’s never been in there with someone that ferocious who truly wants to break his ribs with every punch. I don’t see it! I love Deontay Wilder’s confidence. You need that to sit atop the heavyweight division. He’s hungry and shows up in probably the best shape in division but there are levels to it and he’s still adding to his arsenal.
My best advice to the entire crop of young heavyweight champs is to focus on being the best of YOUR era out of respect and reality. It’s unprovable. Of course people asked, but I found no need to speculate or compare myself to my idol [Muhammad] Ali or any other of the past greats.
History will decide your place among the all-time greats so go out there, clean up the division, defend your title, reign supreme and your work will speak for itself.
What people really needed to take from Wilder’s TMZ interview is that Wilder has yet to have a threesome with his heavyweight belt. Seems a bit ridiculous that this hasn’t happened yet, because I assume that’s what one does the first night after winning the heavyweight championship of the world.
Wilder is set to fight Luis Ortiz (another stumble bum) on March 3, ESPN reports.