Former champion offers Deontay Wilder sage advice on how to deal with defeat
Frank Sinatra once famously sang:
"That's life, that's what all the people say...you're riding high in April and shot down in May.
But I know I'm gonna change that tune when I'm back on top, back on top in June."
Former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder is hoping his day back on top happens this July.
Most boxing fans today aren't aware that the late world-renowned crooner was also a massive fan of the sweet science. More than likely because his father, Antonino Sinatra, was a prizefighter who fought under the name "Marty O'Brien" back in 1911.
So perhaps "Old Blue Eyes" was singing about the fight game...because his lyrics seem to be the reality of the often brutal and unforgiving "hurt business".
Leading up to his most recent effort in the ring, "The Bronze Bomber" was being talked about in the same breath as all-time greats Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Rocky Marciano and other devastating punchers throughout boxing's rich history.
Today, many are characterizing the Alabama slammer as a one-trick pony who possesses the skills of an amateur pugilist...simply after a single blemish on his otherwise impressive resume.
But that's boxing. It's the only sport in which perception quickly becomes reality.
No. Mr. Wilder didn't help his cause by regurgitating every excuse he could come up with following his first professional loss.
But for a heavyweight who genuinely believed he was the king of the ring in every way, shape, and form, it's easy to understand why the proud, 34-year-old puncher ostensibly had no idea how to handle his first humbling defeat on an emotional level.
In a recent interview with ES News, former two-division world champion and elite level fight trainer James "Buddy" McGirt offered some sage advice to the recently belittled Heavyweight slugger as to how a real champion handles his losses in such a brutal pastime.
"Sit down, evaluate what went wrong, put it behind you and move on," claims the former lineal welterweight champion.
"You can't dwell on it. If you dwell on it, you're always going to have that doubt. You just have to put it behind you and move on."
Although the knowledgeable boxing mentor's advice is very wise in theory, putting something as traumatic as a knock-out loss in the rear-view seems virtually impossible.
But Buddy has been there and has done that...many, many times. Not only as a competing fighter, but as a devoted trainer as well.
"Yeah, it's easier said than done...but if you're going to get over that hump, that's the only way to do it."
But when McGirt was champion, the internet didn't exist. Yes, it was difficult when boxing was one of the biggest pastimes in America and every mainstream sports fan loved to talk about their favorite and not so favorite prizefighters. Since the advent of social media, the task of putting anything behind you appears to be infinitely greater.
The 56-year-old boxing guru claims that the "naysayer" was around back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and won't cease to exist until the big blue marble stops circling the sun.
"No matter what you do, you're always going to have your naysayers. No matter how unsuccessful you are or how successful you are, there's always going to be somebody there to criticize you."
"Like I'll put something on Instagram, and there's always one person who has to put something on there that makes no damn sense. And It has nothing to do with your post. So I don't even respond."
Of course, hindsight is 20/20...in retrospect, Deontay Wilder probably wishes he never blamed his only professional loss on the weight of his fight night costume.
At least now the former WBC heavyweight champion knows what not to do. That point probably seems to be a very small consolation indeed. How else can you view those incredibly absurd, post-fight excuses?
Move forward, Dee. Onward and upward, Mr. Wilder.
Once again, much easier said than done.
Right now, there is someone writing something negative about Deontay on some boxing forum or popular social media page; some overtly critical drivel about Wilder being exposed on February 22nd, or how his career is finished.
Is that the reality of Wilder's situation? Only if Deontay chooses to believe it.
So what is the reality and final verdict on the Bronze Bomber?
Although mass perception may be very low currently, his reality remains one perfectly timed punch from being viewed as "the baddest man on the planet" once again.
"No matter what you do, you can't please everybody," says Buddy McGirt.
"You only have to please yourself. And that's all that matters. Once you're truly happy with yourself, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks."
Well said, coach...well said.
Will Deontay Wilder be able to regain his championship swagger and win back his coveted WBC heavyweight title on July 18th?
We'll find out as the final chapter of the "Wilder vs Fury" saga comes to an end in just five short months.
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