I had a disposition for Wilder which started early. When he was on his way up he would have moments where it appeared he tripped over his feet, he was a clutz almost uncoordinated, two left feet falling over himself yet I was blind to the belief, his temperament, and a mindset like an assassin. And I continued to get myself coup de grace after coup de grace. He would seem vulnerable, with the sort of Achilles heel we heard in gyms, you can’t fight like that, he loops his shots and a whole bunch of bull shit horrible trainers espouse. But under the lights, Wilder reminded us that a boxing match is a fight and that everything with consciousness is dangerous and he only had to be perfect for one second. There has been regret, a sort of boxing remorse that I hadn’t seen it sooner, that my man-crush on Lennox Lewis had reflexively imprinted a bias, and I was wrong. At the time, a fighter I had trained who eventually faced him, Malik Scott, told me he was different, dangerous and perhaps he knew his character was that of a heavyweight legend because he spent so much time with Lennox but I still stayed ignorant. Wilder taught me that it does not have to look like classic boxing and that in fact, it is a fight and everything with purpose and bad intentions could lead to a knockout.
As for Tyson Fury, some part of his knockdown reached out to us. One felt it hover in our psyches as we fantasized beating death or the count if you’re a pugilist. He rose like Jesus of Nazareth still standing in the ring, trapped as he had been finally caught, he gave a half little half-smile of regret, as if he was saying, ‘I can’t believe I got up but I am not going to die just yet,’ and then, he fought, his body twerking and twitching and feinting and firing. The fight had come to an end, and he ran to the corner raising his hands to the sky except this was different, he raised them knowing he had cheated something, and immediately let everyone know ‘God had told him to get up’.
I want you to think about your moments in life, where you thanked God for getting you out of trouble. Where a higher power saved you or kept you from harm’s way, then I want you to ask yourself if you’d like to recreate those moments. I imagine the closer Tyson gets to the fight the more natural the post-traumatic syndrome cascades, anchoring to a sentiment of self-survival that simply doesn’t want to be there again, for Tyson to become the heavyweight champion of the world he would have to of never known or remembered the echos and pressure of Wilder’s shot. It could only work if he is insane, and that’s nothing to bet on. Wilder remains undefeated, victory by knockout.
Trevor Sambrano is a boxing trainer in Long Beach, CA. Sambrano was trained by the great Genaro “Chicanito” Hernandez, whose influence impacted Sambrano’s training methodologies today. Sambrano coaches some of Southern California’s brightest young boxers at Jackrabbits Boxing in Long Beach. He is also a cohost of the Boxed In podcast.