By email@example.com (Matthew Speakman)
Birmingham- Deontay Wilder was barely in control. His opponent, Gerald Washington, came out with an anxious excitement while fighting the WBC Heavyweight Champion. Washington took control of the first three rounds. Then, experience settled in.
Wilder saw a sliver of weakness from his opponent and attacked. Move him with a left, then hit him with a right. The combination he wanted to set up all night earned him a technical knockout in the fifth round to keep his title.
“When I did test the right, and him moving to his left, It was all timing,” Wilder said. “I even looked to my girl and I told her ‘I’m about to get him.’ You know, I delivered.”
The deadly 3-2 combination sent Washington to the ground. Even after getting up, the challenger’s legs wobbled, and he stumbled back into the ropes. Wilder’s winning combo was not always his game plan. In camp preparing for the fight, he had it on the back burner.
Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) and his trainer, Jay Deas, made the decision to go to the combination moments before the fight. They knew Washington (18-1-1) would be anxious on the big stage.
“We changed our whole gameplan in the dressing room ust last minute. Changed the whole game plan,” Wilder said. “Cut him off with the right. He can’t go to the right. Jay was telling me, ‘the 3-2 is going to be there.’”
In front of 12,346 fans in Legacy Arena, Wilder wanted to stay calm. Washington was able to get to him a couple of times early on with punches. This was nothing for Wilder. He was expecting it.
“We knew that Washington would have a lot of adrenaline due to the fact that this is his first time fighting for a world title,” Wilder said. “He came to prove something.”
Wilder anticipated a slow build. He wanted to be surgical. He was waiting for his challenger to let his guard down.
“Once you become very experienced at what you do, you start to see signs,” Wilder said. “You start to see body language and different energy coming from the fighters. I knew it was coming, and that’s why I said I’m about to get him.”
Wilder’s pulverizing, “Alabama country power” right hand was one of the best punches he threw all night. As the fight moved into each round, he started to open up. He started to throw bigger and bigger punches.
Despite the knockout, Washington’s length and defense proved to be a tough match for Wilder in the early rounds. Wilder wanted to feel him out, but Washington’s energy proved to be a tough match.
Washington felt like he could go toe-to-toe with Wilder. He felt like he held his own. His nerves proved to be his demise.
“I don’t know if I got caught in the moment in a little bit,” Washington said. “The fight was going back and forth like that in the first couple of rounds and I was like, ‘man.’ I wanted to get more, I wanted to go for it a little more.”
Wilder’s knockout proved how powerful his punches can be. It only took a couple of combinations to turn the fight completely over.
Tonight, the champion wanted to prove that any punch he lands is bad news for his opponent.
“Whether it’s the first round or the 12th round, I’m very dangerous,” Wilder said. “I can get a guy out at any time, especially when that right hand lands.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports