Matchroom team captain Deontay Wilder has a lot of proving to do next Saturday night when he faces Zhilei Zhang in a twelve-round heavyweight contest on June 1st in the 5v5 event in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Most fans believe Zhang (26-2-1, 21 KOs) will dust off Wilder in two or three rounds, knocking him out and sending the 38-year-old into permanent retirement.

Battle Fatigue and the Fear Factor

Wilder’s last fight against Joseph Parker kind of clinched the view that he’s done as a fighter. He was frozen in fear throughout the fight, not even trying to throw punches and just moving in circles the entire 12 rounds.

That performance, more than anything, showed that Wilder is mentally not there anymore. He had the classic signs of a fighter with battle fatigue and could no longer perform on the front lines.

The fight showed that Wilder can no longer pull the trigger on his punches, afraid of incoming rounds, and not wanting to take a hit. That fight showed that Wilder was completely unfit for battle.

The former WBC heavyweight champion Wilder (43-3-1, 42 KOs) wants to prove that he still has the same fire in him that he once did, but at this point, few boxing fans believe that he has anything left.

With three defeats in his last four fights, Deontay looks mentally and physically shot. Wilder lost twice to Tyson Fury by knockout, which showed that he doesn’t have a chin because the British are not a puncher.

A Desperate Attempt to Rekindle the Fire

“Most definitely. I feel like I’ve turned it up some more,’ said Deontay Wilder to Matchroom Boxing when asked if he ‘still has the fire’ in him at this stage of his career. “Sometimes you have to bring that killer out of you. That killer instinct that’s inside.

“Some people are intimidated by that killer instinct because they’re afraid of what May happen to another human being. We can all say, ‘We’re back’ all we want, but June 1st will reveal that.”

Promoter Eddie Hearn spoke recently of wanting to boost Wilder’s confidence, but it doesn’t appear that he’s had enough interactions with ‘The Bronze Bomber’ to have the opportunity to build him up.

It’s not going to help Wilder if Hearn tries to work on his mind the day before the fight because it’ll be too late. Unless Hearn can hypnotize Wilder to walk through fire, he’s going to be the same timid fighter fans saw in his fight against Parker last December.

“I’m a natural-born leader, and I wouldn’t expect to have no other position but to be a captain, and I’m going to lead by example,” said Wilder on being named the captain of Matchroom’s 5v5 team for next Saturday’s card on June 1st in Riyadh.

Hearn could have made a mistake picking Wilder as his team captain because his confidence is at zero, and he’s unwilling to take the risks required to win his fights. We not only witnessed that behavior in Wilder’s fight with Parker, but also in his trilogy match with Fury in 2021. He gave away that third contest against Fury by not letting his hands go.

“For me, what makes him a unique opponent is I like the way he throws combinations, and it seems like he has a nice little bite at the end of his punches, which I’m looking forward to facing him and matching power to power said Wilder about Zhilei Zhang.

“You got power, and you got Nyquil. Both of them are going to put you to sleep, but one is going to hurt a little bit more,” said Wilder.

YouTube video

Read the full article here