Heavyweight great Lewis believes Wilder has lost the spark, urges changes if he continues

Boxing’s last undisputed heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis was less than impressed with Deontay Wilder’s previous showing against Joseph Parker, after the former WBC world heavyweight champion succumbed to a comprehensive points defeat to former WBO champion Parker in Saudi Arabia. 

If Wilder had been successful, the stage was set for a showdown with heavyweight rival Anthony Joshua in March. Joshua will instead face Francis Ngannou, returning to Riyadh to face the former UFC heavyweight champion who made an impression despite defeat to Tyson Fury on his professional debut last October. 

Lewis, when speaking to The Ring, claimed Wilder was ill-prepared and criticised Wilder’s tactics and strategy.

“It looked to me like Wilder wasn’t even focused on the fight,” Lewis told The Ring. “I don’t know what he was focused on, [but] mentally he said it was the money. ‘They paid me, I wasn’t really ready but I came out and gave them this for a little money. It doesn’t matter what way it goes, I’m prepared for a loss, I’m prepared for a win. Let God decide.’ He lost his spark.

“I think, trying to box at this stage is a mental thing for me because there are certain things you are supposed to learn on the way up and when you’ve knocked everybody out on the way up, then the mentality becomes, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”

Lennox suggested Wilder should find a new trainer and release former heavyweight contender Malik Scott from his duties and find a coach who can improve Wilder’s technique. 

“Get with someone who can make those powerful punches even more lethal by working on other stuff like a great uppercut, a great hook,” Lewis continued. “Surprise them, they’re looking for the right hand, hit them with an uppercut, a hook.

“I don’t think he was totally serious with that fight because you can look at the punch stats, and they’re not close to the [Tyson] Fury fight. This is a lesser man because his weight is not there, his punch count is not up to par, undoubtedly he didn’t take the fight that seriously.”