If you should happen upon a certain lake in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in the coming days, don’t trip if you see a 6-foot-7-inch fellow being pulled behind a fast-moving watercraft, arms in place of ski ropes, like a human inner tube—a human inner tube that just turned a Frenchman’s grill into the facial equivalent of a crumpled milk carton.
This is what Deontay Wilder (35-0, 34 KOs) does in his downtime.
“I usually let my brother drive the boat and I hang off the back of it and pull myself up, like pull-ups,” Wilder says. “I’m getting the pull from the current, so it makes it a tougher resistance, building upper-body strength.”
A few days after wrecking Frenchman Johann “Reptile” Duhaupas in an entertaining, blood-spackled brawl, Wilder’s trying to chill out.
He has a house on a lake, and water sports are a prime pastime of his. He’s big on kayaking and making waves on his Sea-Doo.
But even when talking about how he likes to kick back the week after a fight, it doesn’t take long before he relates it all to his day job.
About that kayaking, for instance?
“It helps my upper core and my hips, the rotating, just like a punch, actually,” he informs us.
C’mon, man, you’ve got to relax a little, right?
“It’s just family time and enjoying life,” Wilder says of how he’s spending his time. “But then I get antsy, ‘All right, time to get back to the gym,’ because somebody else isn’t vacationing, somebody else isn’t spending time worrying about their kids. They’re trying to get where you are. And I understand that. So I gotta stay on top of my game.”
Wilder did let loose a little after the fight Saturday in Birmingham, holding court at his after-party at downtown concert hall Iron City, chilling out in a small, dark corner of the club’s mezzanine, surrounded by a tight cluster of friends and associates.
Had the marquee outside the venue not announced Wilder’s presence inside, you’d have scarcely known he was in the building, such was the way he kept to himself and his crew.
“I’m a guy who likes to be among my people, small crowds, small city,” he says. “That’s what I’m all about. I don’t care about no big stuff.”
Well, there is at least one notable exception to all that: Wilder confirms that he recently purchased a new Lamborghini Aventador, complete with gator-print paint job, because hey, he did just skin the “Reptile,” right?
“I like to treat myself with things,” he says, though he’d rather talk about his penny-pinching ways. “I’m actually a big saver. I’ve always been that. I definitely want people to know that Deontay Wilder saves his money and he’s one of the cheapest people he knows.
“But it’s hard to do that when you’ve got so many nice things,” he acknowledges, “People don’t want to listen.”
To save—or spend—money, Wilder has to keep earning it, though, and to this end, he’s already eyeing his return to the ring.
“I’d like to be back sometime in December or January,” he says. “People can look forward to seeing their champion back in the ring sooner than they think. I said that I was going to be an active champion. I kept my promise, and here we go. More great fights in the future, baby.”
And with that, the conversation ends. Human inner tubes have things to do, you know?