Despite this not coming as much of a surprise, Deontay Wilder has fired long time trainer Mark Breland. The moment the towel came in this past March, the rumors and internet chatter began to explore the possibility of this happening. I have read fan and insider opinions regarding this firing and many have questioned, criticized and even attacked Wilder over this recent decision. I am going preface my opinion with the carousel of trainer/fighter relationships at the championship level of heavyweight boxing. When Anthony Joshua was embarrassed in Madison Square Garden in June of 2019 many called for him to fire Rob McCracken. This was mostly born out of the idea that Joshua seemed to have a concussion and McCracken did not pull him out of the fight and spare him the embarrassing stoppage in the ring. I disagreed with calls to fire McCracken from Joshua backers. Tyson Fury came out of his drug, booze, and food binge retirement to shock Wilder in the first fight with Ben Davidson and Freddy Roach at the helm. Despite valid criticism from Roach of Davidson and an urging to fight Wilder more aggressively, Roach was dropped. Heading into the rematch Fury dropped Davidson and brought in Sugar Hill from his Kronk days which seemed like a good fit though many were irked by the betrayal with many citing the work Davidson had done. Others highlighted Davidson’s lack of experience and Fury came out a different fighter and employed a more aggressive style to shock and stop Wilder. Andy Ruiz fired Manny Robles after his pitiful performance and one sided loss to Joshua in their rematch this previous December. Many felt this came down to a lack of discipline on Ruiz’s part and him wanting to live the life. Ruiz had his 5 minutes which saw him on late show appearances and gain a large swath of social media and attract endorsements. We have not seen Andy in the ring since the change so its hard to gauge but this was a very much criticized move on his part.
With all of that put out in the open I will say I think it is easy to just come out negatively about Wilder. He is a polarizing figure that draws the ire of many fans with his loud personality and puzzling skillset. For Wilder his career has mostly come easy, land the right hand and the man goes down. Even Tyson Fury was nearly counted out in the final round of their initial encounter. Luis Ortiz rocked Wilder in their first fight and their rematch saw Wilder desperately trailing when a signature right hand buried Ortiz again. In the Fury rematch we saw Tyson out slug and prevail behind his punching power and size to break Wilder down round after round. Say you like Breland and think he is a good trainer and say you think Wilder is an uncoordinated, unskilled bum who was protected by Al Haymon his entire career the fact is Wilder has had 3 rematches in his career. 2 of them he regressed massively as Ortiz was controlling the rematch and Fury dominated and won a decisive stoppage. Wilder also has not made vast improvements since winning the title over Bermaine Stiverne. On that very trend alone there is enough to justify firing Breland towel or not. I also find it horribly hypocritical to crap on Wilder’s choice to change trainers but call Tyson Fury a genius for doing the same thing. Miguel Cotto and Oscar De La Hoya reinvented themselves several times over by changing trainers.
One man can only teach so much. You can only be motivated by the same rah rah speeches a limited amount of time. In the weight room you are told to confuse your body. In sales if your pitch stops working you change it. I think Breland took Wilder as far as he was going to take him. No shame in winning a WBC Heavyweight Title and defending it for as many defenses as he accumulated. Does firing Breland mean that Wilder is going to magically get better, defeat Fury in the third fight etc. No, nothing is a given but I think keeping the same team with the same preparation is guaranteeing failure. Fury changed his entire team and his entire approach for the second fight and look what happened.