Two-weight champion turned boxing analyst Paulie Malignaggi believes Deontay Wilder has taken a big gamble by jumping into an immediate third fight with old rival Tyson Fury.
Back in February 2020, Wilder was dropped twice, dominated and demolished by the ‘Gypsy King’ in seven rounds, but the ‘Bronze Bomber’ never let revenge drift far from his mind.
With a contracted trilogy fight delayed by Covid-19 and injury, and apparently derailed by Fury’s proposed bout with Anthony Joshua, Wilder won his arbitration case to enforce a third encounter with his sole conqueror.
Malignaggi believes Wilder should have taken a warm-up fight after his demoralising loss to Fury, but admires the American’s gumption in seeking a swift redemption.
“I don’t think it would have been a bad idea for Wilder to take an in-between fight. I don’t like the way he lost the fight being so one-sided. He took a lot of physical trauma, which can leave some doubt in you,” Malignaggi told DAZN.
“He came off as a sore loser, but here’s what I like about that. You’ve got to be in denial about yourself as a fighter. If Wilder seriously believes he can beat Fury then all his way of thinking, crazy as it sounds, is the only way to back himself up for that match. He has to believe something, because he can’t just feel, ‘This guy’s better than me’. I think he’s in denial and I don’t have a problem with that.
“Step two is putting it into action. He stopped Joshua and Fury from fighting because he wanted it so badly.
“He could have waited in the wings and got a comeback win but no, his actions prove he genuinely believes what he’s saying. One percent doubt is too much.
“He’s going to come off looking crazy if he gets destroyed, or he’ll come out looking brilliant. When you’re one step ahead of people you look smart, if you’re two steps ahead you look insane.”