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Wilder—Goodbye Emperor. 

By Ben Thomsett on February 25, 2020


“My mask represents that I’m the emperor of boxing,” Wilder said. (Étienne Laurent/EPA)

“Give me horror,” he said.


The designer was nervous, and the seamstress waited with her phone on vibrate in a small and hot office in a town with no fire station. She sipped from a large mug of green tea and rubbed her gnarled hands gently.


“It looks great,” said the boxer, picking up the torso armour and shaking it, making it move in the strip lighting. He picked up the dark helmet and stared at the face, eye to eye. “Beautiful,” he whispered. It was going to, he thought, scare the shit out of Fury. He nodded to himself and smiled. The full fitting went easily. He felt powerful. He was ready for fight night. No excuses.


Deontay Wilder’s last bejewelled crown for Fury/Wilder 1 contained 90,000 stones and gems. Tim Burton couldn’t have drawn a more mawkish object. The one he wore last weekend glittered less, but mattered more.


“I can’t wait to walk out, and visualize every step of what I’m about to do to him. ... My mask represents that I’m the emperor of boxing,” Wilder said in an interview that took place soon after he filmed a promotional segment with Fury for Fox’s TV show “The Masked Singer” in Hollywood. His latest outfit was equally as ridiculous, but Wilder seemed to like it. It appealed to his own narrative that he was in charge and that it would always be this way. Easy to believe when you possess that special right hand.


“The Emperor.”


And now that Emperor has lost, finally; whipped like a trained hog at roaring time. No glory; an ignominious ending to the reign of terror he had enjoyed over such men as Chris Arreola, Gerald Washington, and anyone from the Mid-West weighing over 200lbs and clinging on to a boxing licence and mountain of debt. Wilder’s right hand could topple anyone, on any given day. His only flaw, seemingly unnoticed by the legions of his followers, was simple: he couldn’t actually box very well.


So, after the loss, what is the Kingly thing—the classiest thing—a deposed Emperor could do? Yep, blame it on the guy in your corner who threw in the towel after the ref stopped the fight; blame it on Fury but be confused as to why; and….never let this be forgotten….blame your legs being shot on the 40lbs of stupid costume YOU wanted to wear for a few minutes before the bout started. God only knows what training Deontay does if carrying 40lbs can cripple him….


It’s the end of an era.


Acta est fabula, plaudite! [“The Play is over, applaud!”—Emperor Augustus’s last words.]

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