Deontay Wilder cried in front of reporters after his thumping first-round win Saturday.
The American puncher separated Robert Helenius from his senses in less than three minutes.
He then referenced fighter Prichard Colon, who has been in a vegetative state since 2015, and wept.
American knockout artist Deontay Wilder added another highlight to his reel Saturday, and then cried in front of media at a post-fight press conference.
“This is a tough business that we’re in,” the 36-year-old heavyweight told reporters after his thunderous first-round win over Robert Helenius at Barclays Center, in Brooklyn.
“Y’all got to respect all fighters…you don’t play this. You can’t play this.”
Wilder landed only three punches in a fight that lasted a little less than three minutes, rebounding in style after losing back-to-back bouts during an historic rivalry with Tyson Fury.
Wilder’s ability to send opponents to boxing’s shadow realm ensures he’s a popular ticket seller and a bona fide box office attraction.
Wilder has previously attracted criticism for saying he wants to “catch a body” on his record, by killing somebody in the ring.
However, he appears to have matured significantly in recent years, as Wilder said last week that he once prayed an opponent he finished got back to their feet.
Speaking to reporters following the 42nd knockout win of his 46-fight career, Wilder referenced 30-year-old former combat athlete Prichard Colon, who suffered a brain injury in his last match, to Terrel Williams in 2015, and has remained in a vegetative state ever since.
“We’ve seen what can happen — look at Prichard Colon,” Wilder said. “Y’all don’t understand what we fucking go through man. I don’t need to even know him like that.
“This man won’t know what it’ll feel like to be somebody’s father – that’s one of the most precious things in the world,” Wilder added while hitting the table in front of him, and appearing to cry. “But he’ll never be no one’s father, man.”
His trainer, Malik Scott, also seemed close to tears
Wilder wasn’t the only one who broke down at the post-fight presser.
“I love him to death,” boxing coach Malik Scott said of his marquee fighter. “He’s the most dynamic fighter in the history of the sport.”
Scott then said Wilder bought “into a serious gameplan,” in which the trainer implored his fighter to box on the back foot, reminding him it’s something he’s done at length in years past but had stopped doing.
“All he’s been doing is hunting guys,” Scott said. “He didn’t do nothing in that ring he didn’t do before. I’m not just Deontay’s trainer, I’m his great reminder.
“He used to do that a lot — he used his back foot a lot, just for defense. Him putting his high hand up like this is a buffer. Guys have to get through this to get here but by the time they get to here their life is on the line. And you seen what happened to him today.”
Scott wasn’t able to finish his following sentence. “I’m so proud of him,” Scott said, before needing to break because his voice started to quiver.
Wilder can then be heard saying, “I love you, baby” to his coach.
“I’m so happy you got that done, brother,” Scott told Wilder, before reading the media conference.
“It just feels good to see someone you love so much [win],” said Scott.
“And he did that backing up. He did that by setting traps, and having tons of humility. The best heavyweight in the world. If he wasn’t my brother, I’d still say that.”
Andy Ruiz Jr. or Oleksandr Usyk could be next for Wilder
Wilder’s win over Helenius advanced his record to 43 wins (42 knockouts) against two losses and one draw, and shows that he’s still got a lot to offer the division despite the brutal trilogy loss to Fury.
“I’m down for whatever,” Wilder said, when it came to questions regarding what’s next for him.
“Whether it’s Andy Ruiz, or Usyk, or whoever. Let’s bring it on. Deontay Wilder is back. The excitement in the heavyweight division is back,” he said.
“There’s no heavyweight division without Deontay Wilder. That’s facts.”
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