Deontay Wilder’s knockout loss to Zhilei Zhang last Saturday night in Riyadh signaled to fans that the Bronze Bomber had reached the end of his career.

The former WBC heavyweight champion Wilder (43-4-1, 42 KOs) looked like a shell of the fighter he’d been during the prime of his career in 2018, and he couldn’t pull the trigger against the slow, stationary target, Zhang (27-2-1, 22 KOs) in their fight at the Kingdom Arena.

Wilder, 38, didn’t make a retirement announcement after the fight as many thought he would, but it’s likely this is his last fight unless one of the promoters is willing to throw crazy money at him to come back.

I wouldn’t expect that to happen because the boxing public wouldn’t be willing to purchase a PPV card with him as a headliner to justify the expenditure by a promoter.

A Shadow of His Former Self

“It was not a good sight for me watching Deontay live with him being walked into the corners, hunted and haunted for me. He was a shell of what he once was,” said Gareth A. Davies to Boxing Social, talking about the sad end for Deontay Wilder, getting shelled by Zhilei Zhang in his fifth-round knockout loss last Saturday night in Riyadh.

With the way Wilder had talked during the build-up to the fight, it was surprising that didn’t at least try and fight aggressively, knowing that he would retire if he lost. All you can think is that he was too worried about being countered by Zhang. When Wilder finally did throw a right hand in the fifth, Zhang nailed him with a right hook that stunned him. The fight was quickly over, and Wilder got hit with another right to get put down on the canvas.

The aura of the Bronze Bomber wasn’t there for me, and when he got detonated and badly caught in the fifth round. He couldn’t pull the trigger. I don’t like to use the word ‘shot,’ but all signs that Father Time has caught up to Deontay,” said Gareth.

“He wants to, but it’s not there anymore. I wouldn’t be disappointed in the least if that’s his last fight. If he wants to have one more against someone to finish with a pot of glory in America or wherever it is.”

Wilder likely won come back unless he’s offered a nice payday. Ideally, he would come back for a weak opponent that was totally out of his league and that had no power.

The Toll of Past Battles

“I think he needs to be more greatly in American than it was. I think those 30 rounds against Tyson Fury took an awful out of him, even the first one. Those twelve rounds against Parker will have taken a lot out of him,” said Gareth.

“He’s lost four out of his last five now. Zhang was like a Wilderbeast chasing him for that second right hook [in the fifth]. There was that camera angle where he was galloping after him across the ring. It was only four paces, but it was like Zhang 20 stone on horseback coming to finish him, and boom around the corner.”

Wilder was too hurt to escape once Zhang nailed him with a right counter in the fifth, and knocked off balance. It would have been better if Wilder had gone down to keep from getting hit with the second right from Zhang. At least if he had done that, he would have been able to keep fighting. I don’t know that Wilder would have recovered, but he wouldn’t have been as hurt.

A Merciful Ending

“It was a very viral moment. I was so pleased that was the end of the fight, and Deontay wasn’t able to go on, frankly. I love the movement by the referee when Deontay [got up] and was about to fight, and he said, ‘No, it’s off.’ It was so merciful. I think Deontay should have came here to the UK and fought the last two years because he’s like a rockstar when he walks down the road here,” said Gareth about Wilder.

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