Deontay Wilder Will Get His Flowers When “Bronze Bomber” Statue Is Unveiled In His Alabama Hometown On May 25

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 08: Deontay Wilder poses on the scale during his official weigh-in at MGM Grand Garden Arena on October 8, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Wilder will challenge WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury for his title on October 9 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder is receiving his hometown flowers in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. On May 25, a statue of Wilder will be unveiled in his hometown.

The Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports department is holding the unveiling ceremony of the appropriately bronze statue of Wilder. The boxer is a native of the city and is one of the most successful boxing champions in history. He put a town known mainly for Alabama Crimson Tide’s football prowess on the map in boxing.

The statue was created by Tuscaloosa-based artist Caleb O’Connor, who has been building it since 2015. The unveiling will be held at the permanent location for the statue, outside of the Tuscaloosa Tourism & Sports building.

The Bronze Bomber Statue

“At first, I’ve been spending time watching the champion training and getting to know the body mechanics of boxing that took weeks and I’m still working on that,” O’Connor said to CBS 42 when he started in 2015.

Wilder gained the nickname “the Bronze Bomber” after winning the bronze medal in the heavyweight division of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and honoring Joe Louis, who was called “the Brown Bomber.”

He held the WBC heavyweight title from 2015 to 2020 and is world-renowned for the power in his right hand that laid out 41 opponents in his 42 wins. However, Wilder was involved in one of the most epic heavyweight trilogy fights of all time against current WBC and The Ring heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.

The Fury Factor

Wilder and Fury fought to a draw in their first fight in 2018. He then lost against Fury in 2020 controversially when his then cornerman, the legendary Olympic gold medalist Mark Breland, threw in the towel in the seventh round after Wilder was knocked out.

Wilder was disappointed at his corner for the move, saying he wanted to go out on his shield. What followed was a series of explanations for the loss from a weighted ring walk costume that weakened his legs to an accusation of tainted water. Eventually, Breland, one of the most respected former champions-turned-trainers, was fired.

When Fury and Wilder rematched in 2021 by TKO and KO, respectively, with new trainer Malik Scott in tow, he went out on his shield with a vicious eleventh-round KO by Fury. The result felt like redemption for many as Wilder fought bravely and lost to the better, bigger fighter.

However, Wilder still owns the top honors of the best knockout percentage of any heavyweight boxer in history at 91.1 percent.

Giving Wilder His Flowers

“We are excited to unveil this highly anticipated piece of public art featuring the Bronze Bomber – Tuscaloosa’s world-champion boxer – and created by Caleb O’Connor, who has adopted Tuscaloosa as his home and has created many other beautiful pieces in our City,” Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox said via statement.

The statue will be close to Tuscaloosa Central High School, where Wilder attended and was a two-sport athlete in football and basketball. Wilder entered boxing to take care of his daughter, Naieya, born in 2005 with spina bifida, a congenital disability that occurs when the spine and spinal cord don’t form properly.

Although his career remains uncertain since his last fight, Wilder feels the love for his achievements in the squared circle.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.