Deontay Wilder is “almost in hiding” as he continues his media silence following that devastating defeat by Tyson Fury in February, according to highly-respected boxing writer Lance Pugmire.
Wilder (42-1-1) lost his unbeaten professional record and his WBC world heavyweight title when he was stopped in seven one-sided rounds by ‘The Gypsy King’ at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
He immediately exercised his contractual right to a third meeting (the pair had drawn their first fight in Las Vegas in 2018) but has since been strangely silent, bar the odd social media post not specifically related to boxing. The trilogy fight is currently planned for Saturday December 19, COVID-19 permitting.
Pugmire, senior writer for subscription platform The Athletic, says the “stunning” change in Wilder’s persona is “odd”, going from somebody who was regularly available to the media to somebody who is now “very reclusive”.
He told DAZN’s ‘Boxing With Chris Mannix’: “No reason to believe that it (Fury vs Wilder 3) won’t take place, it’s just a matter of when. It is odd. We both know Deontay Wilder very well. To me it’s stunning, it used to be no big deal to be able to reach out to his camp to get him on the phone about whatever subject was going on in the sport.
“And now he’s unavailable, he’s almost in hiding and being very reclusive and that’s not who Deontay Wilder is, so that’s a little bit concerning.”
Pugmire also pondered just how much Wilder has been affected by losing the rematch to Fury in the way that he did, a devastating blow to not only his career but also his ego.
“This huge blow to his ego and having to now be so humble in defeat about what has happened. Because he was truly beaten down in this fight and not a lot of people are accepting those excuses that he came up with afterwards
“So how it plays out is going to be very interesting. He’s going to have to talk definitely in the next few months because he’s gonna have a fight to be selling.”
While it is still hoped that Fury vs Wilder 3 will go ahead on December 19, Fury’s co-promoter Bob Arum has already mooted the possibility it could be pushed back to February 2021 and take place outside the United States.
Arum had hoped to stage the bout at Allegiant Stadium, the new $2billion home of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders. But the Raiders have announced that the facility will be closed to fans for the entirety of the 2020 football season due to the pandemic.