Deontay Wilder has come up with a number of excuses for his defeat to Tyson Fury in their explosive February 2020 contest.
Among other reasons, the American blamed the weight of his elaborate ring walk costume for draining his legs, to an unfounded claim that Fury had loaded gloves.
Wilder also fired trainer Mark Breland after he threw in the towel to end their second fight – which came after a controversial draw in their December 2018 opener.
“He didn’t hurt me at all, but the simple fact is my uniform was way too heavy for me,” Wilder said after the defeat.
“I didn’t have no legs from the beginning of the fight. In the third round, my legs were just shot all the way through. But I’m a warrior and people know that I’m a warrior.”
Wilder added that he tried the costume on for the first time on the night before the rematch. “It weighed 40 pounds with the helmet and all the batteries. I wanted my tribute to be great for Black History Month … and I guess I put that before anything.”
The 6ft 7in Wilder's ring outfit designers are reported to be back for the trilogy fight, and claim a new costume won't stop the Bronze Bomber from winning this time round.
So why the mask? According to Wilder: “[The mask] has an energy about it that I feed off. Putting the mask on is like a blocker, I zone in. Most definitely it’s a strange feeling. The mask is everything for me.”
And what happens when the mask goes on and he gets in the zone? “When my mind transforms it is a scary feeling,” says Wilder. “It is a source of power that takes over and allows me to feel like I know I can.”
While the fight will be the main talking point, Wilder's mask is always a sideshow. Some of his other creations can be seen in the gallery above.