Deotay Wilder’s trainer, Malik Scott, says this is a rejuvenated 2015 version of the ‘Bronze Bomber’ that will be fighting against Zhilei Zhang in Riyadh this Saturday night.

Wilder may need to fight better on Saturday night than in 2015 because he was still a work in progress. Against Zhang, Wilder will need to be fearless in the ring, but he’s never fought like that during his career. He’s always been cautious except when he has his opponents hurt.

Scott claims that the former WBC heavyweight champion Wilder (43-3-1, 42 KOs) will be the “aggressive” and “assertive” against Zhang (26-2-1, 21 KOs). He feels this is the “perfect opponent” for Deontay to display the improvements he’s made in camp.

Wilder vs. Zhang will compete at the Kingdom Arena in the 5 vs. 5 event. Malik says Wilder has undergone a mental adjustment in the last six weeks of training camp and is ready to show the world.

Deontay lost his last fight in Riyadh against Joseph Parker on the ‘Day of Reckoning’ card on December 23rd last year. Wilder says the Saudis want him to fight more aggressively in this fight, and he intends to do so.

“Most Violent and Assertive” Wilder Since 2015

“He’s rededicated himself, and in the last six weeks, it’s been the most violent and the most assertive I’ve seen him in training camp I’ve seen him since he won a world title against Stiverne 1 [in 2015],” said Wilder’s trainer Malik Scott to Queensberry about the changes Deontay has made for his fight this Saturday night against Zhilei Zhang.

Wilder must fight all out from the jump on Saturday because there’s too much on the line in this contest. He should know that fighting cautiously in his matches against Parker and Tyson Fury led to those fighters beating him.

If Wilder had blitzed them from round one in an all-out assault, he would have stood a better chance of winning than fighting like he was walking on eggshells. That style led to Fury brutalizing him and Parker outboxing him.

“So this was a mental adjustment, that’s all. He had to re-think things. He came back, he’s back. I actually told him today that he has the opportunity to show the whole world that he can be better, have a great performance, and be better than he’s ever been before,” Scott continued, talking about 38-year-old Wilder.

If Wilder fails on Saturday, he will be seen by the whole world, and his career will be as good as over. He says he wants a fourth fight against Fury, but that will never happen if he loses to Zhang, and he will lose if he fights the way he’s been in the last four years.

A “Better Side” of the ‘Bronze Bomber’

“So, the ‘Bronze Bomber’ has returned, but the better side of the ‘Bronze Bomber’ has returned. This is the better half. Sometimes, you can get a little unfocused, and contentment can get inside of us. But real champions, this is a great opportunity for Deontay to show his greatness, and I believe he can do that.’”

Scott does a lot of talking, but few boxing fans believe him because Wilder has repeatedly proven that he won’t fight aggressively and that he’s gunshy except when fighting weak opposition.

“We have the perfect opponent to do that with. He’s dangerous enough to keep Deontay alert, but he’s big enough to be right there for Deontay to hit him with,” said Scott about Zhang.

I don’t think Zhang is the “perfect opponent” for Wilder. Zhang is a tough out for any heavyweight in the division due to his power, southpaw stance, and size. But against a shell-shocked, timid, chinny fighter like Wilder, Zhang is a nightmare.

“He should be between 217 to 222, maybe a pound or two heavier or maybe a pound or two lighter,” said Scott when asked how much Wilder would weigh. “The size won’t be the factor here. It’ll be about positioning, setting this guy up by being alert and by being very violent.”

Wilder’s weight was good in his last fight against Parker, but he didn’t throw punches and looked scared all night. It was easily the worst performance of Wilder’s career because he didn’t even try. At least in Wilder’s two defeats against Fury, he tried to throw punches. Against Parker, he couldn’t pull the trigger.

“That’s the main thing for this training camp. Violence, assertiveness and also being dressed down in defense when it’s time to be. I can’t wait for you guys to see on Saturday. You’re going to be very impressed. I’m trying to mess up everything they got going with Deontay Wilder, and we’re going to get it done on Saturday night,” said Scott.

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