By Michael Rosenthal
LOS ANGELES – Deontay Wilder was on a rant against those who have dodged his former opponent Luis Ortiz out of fear.
Oritz is big, skillful and has a habit of inflicting pain on his opponents, all reasons that few heavyweights – even the top ones – haven’t been eager to tangle with the Cuban defector. Ortiz almost stopped Wilder before falling himself in March.
Fear is one thing that Wilder can’t accept from a fighter. He’s afraid of no one, even if that means putting his perfect record (40-0, 39 knockouts) in jeopardy.
The giant, brash heavyweight titleholder said in a candid and philosophical moment that losing is part of the ups and downs of life. You’re often judged, he added, by what comes after you take a tumble.
“I ain’t afraid to get rid of my “0” on my record,” he said at the final press conference to promote his showdown with Tyson Fury on Saturday at Staples Center.
“I don’t fight just [because] I got this idea of staying undefeated. Of course we all want to stay undefeated if that so happens, but I don’t dwell on that. I could lose and come back.
“The greatest of all time … how many times did he lose? Not just Muhammad Ali but the other greats. How many times did they lose and come back, lose and come back, lose and come back? That’s how you become a two-time, three-time, four-time champion of the world. Most people want to see you lose and then see how you come back.
“Let’s face it, in life we all have trials and tribulations. More times in life we’re losing instead of winning. People want to see how can you start back from the ground and build yourself back up. That’s the big thing about losing. Everyone don’t like a winner. They get tired of you winning all the time, especially if you’re confident or you’re bold about what you say. They want to see you lose. I know a lot of people want to see me lose.”
And when might that happen, Deontay? “They might be waiting for a loooooooong time.”
Michael Rosenthal is the most recent winner of the Boxing Writers Association of America’s Nat Fleischer Award for excellence in boxing journalism. He has covered boxing in Los Angeles and beyond for almost three decades.