Deontay Wilder drew “a major red flag” according to Andre Ward during that much-publicised press conference for his upcoming trilogy fight with Tyson Fury.
Wilder meets ‘The Gypsy King’ for a third time on Saturday July 24 in Las Vegas, with Fury (30-0-1) claiming ‘The Bronze Bomber’ is mentally weakened by the memory of his crushing defeat in their rematch in February 2020.
Deontay (42-1-1) produced a myriad of excuses for that seventh-round stoppage defeat at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, but when he had the chance to speak at the recent press conference, he said nothing. Instead he put on headphones and refused to take questions from the media.
Former unbeaten world super-middleweight and light-heavyweight champion Ward, now a highly-regarded analyst for ESPN, says that behaviour was a major negative from his viewpoint.
Andre Ward on Deontay Wilder
Speaking on ESPN, he said: “When you see him tuning out the world, and trying to tune out Tyson Fury, it’s a major red flag because it looks like he’s hiding, it looks like he’s struggling to deal with the pressure in the moment.
“Of course we all know – and Fury said it – that Wilder is always a punch away from upsetting the applecart and winning a fight, but we’re not talking about that.
“Wilder has called himself the king, and heavy is the head that wears the crown. You have to deal with these moments, there’s a time and a place to be home and get away for two/three months, six months – it’s been 18 months. You gotta be able to face this moment.”
Wilder’s new trainer Malik Scott was left to do most of the talking during that Los Angeles press conference, again a bad look for the former WBC heavyweight champion according to Ward.
“Your trainer Malik Scott is getting involved in arguments, and taking the bait from Fury as if he’s the one that’s gonna fight in July – and he’s not,” said Ward.
“And then you’ve got the fighter who’s tuning out the rest of the world. You have to face that, you have to shoulder it, because here’s the thing. Come July 24th, those headphones are coming off and you gotta feel the arena, you gotta face the pressure and you gotta hear the crowd and you gotta face Tyson Fury.
“And my question is are you mentally and psychologically ready for that?”