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Richardson: Deontay Wilder might be most gifted heavyweight since the Ali era

Trainer Naazim Richardson breaks down his thoughts on Deontay Wilder and a potential fight with Anthony Joshua.

Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

In this video interview, trainer Naazim Richardson chops it up with Fight Hub TV to talk about his thoughts on Deontay Wilder and why he thinks he such a naturally gifted fighter.

Richardson on a potential fight between Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua:

“Beast!...See it’s hard for ya’ll to come to me [with these questions] — I really don’t give the fans what they like, because I ain’t real critical of these dudes. I’m a fan of boxing. Deontay Wilder, his experience level — Deontay Wilder should be going to the nationals this year in the amateurs. And he probably would medal — I ain’t gonna say he win — but he should medal. But that’s where his experience is.

“But his gift is so great he’s got an Olympic medal and title defenses and has knocked out every man he’s faced as a pro. Maybe the most gifted heavyweight we’ve seen since the Ali era! And why I say that is because he’s not actually doing everything that [Mark] Breland wants him to do mechanically correct yet. And he may never do it!

“He’s like a kid that can give you the answer and you say ‘can you show me how you got the answer?’ ‘Hey, man. I got the answer!’ [laughs]. ‘Is that the answer?! Then be happy with that, man!’...So while he trying to get better, Breland got him doing things with him, making the mechanics better, but he’s so young and excited in the position he’s in — he’s still fighting on that adrenaline, when guys fight in the street and don’t realize their eye is cut and stuff like that — he’s still fighting on that. That’s how green he is...

“Let me tell you like this — and Deontay Wilder’s my man, I dig him as a person, that’s my boy...People say ‘Joshua’s better than Deontay Wilder.’ So is everybody else he fought! Everybody, skill wise, that you ever seen Deontay Wilder in front of were better than him! Haven’t ya’ll found out that don’t matter?! That don’t really matter!...His gift is extraordinary. He ain’t just a puncher...

“I’ma give ya’ll something that you may not know. Think about this when you think about Deontay Wilder — most people don’t pay attention to this. [Bermane] Stiverne is an ex-world champion, correct? Think in your mind the last time you saw a fighter knock out a fighter who had his hands up the whole fight. And he didn’t knock him like Foreman — Foreman knocked everybody down, Foreman put very few people to sleep, but Foreman laid you down...Stiverne had his hands up and was on the ground snoring!

“He knocked this guy to sleep with his hands up! Now think of the last time you saw somebody be able to punch through your guard and still be hard enough to knock you unconscious! You don’t see to many guys get knocked unconscious period! Every time you seen it, when you seen Pacquiao [against Hatton], you seen them guys get a clean shot...He punched through a guy’s gloves and knocked him unconscious! And damn near threw the ref out the ring too! Because it was like trying to break up a street fight because Deontay still got that street fight mentality. He still fighting like somebody knocked his drink off the table and said they wasn’t paying for it.

“The mechanics ain’t all right, and everybody pointing ‘look how wide he’s open!’...As wide as Deontay comes open, yes, Joshua hit him in those [moments], he can go...but here’s the thing, man. I ain’t no fighter. But if I pick up that 10lb weight, any one of ya’ll can get in this ring, and if I got that 10lb weight — yeah there’s gonna be some openings when I miss and swing, but you know that 10lb weight can hit you anywhere and I’m going into the win column.

“You see he’s always lean like them NBA players...You don’t catch him in between fights and he look like a stuffed animal...talented kid, man. Gifted. Gifted kid.”

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