Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 31 May 2020

The meaning behind Deontay Wilder's $40,000 black mask and cape

The former heavyweight champion's ring walk outfit cost about Dh146,000

The fight didn't go his way, but the loss shouldn't take the shine off Deontay Wilder's elaborate, intricately designed ring walk outfit. The design by Los Angeles-based costume designers Cosmo and Donato was worth $40,000 (Dh146,900), according to Wilder.

The look covered Wilder's face and featured striking rhinestones along his jaw line and brow, with LED lights creating a red glow around his eyes. Above the mesh-like face mask was a black crown and Wilder also wore a long black cape, a chest plate and skulls as shoulder pads. Red lights also ran down his arms and lit up his shoulders and chest.

Wilder said the "crazy" costume was actually, in part, a tribute to people who paved the way for the black community in the US. "It's going to be a big tribute to a lot of men and women that paved the way for us, this is Black History Month and I'm going to be paying tribute to that," Wilder told TMZ the day before the fight.In a further celebration of Black History Month, Wilder came out to the ring with rapper D Smoke walking in front of him, performing his song Black Habits. As he and Wilder walked out, D Smoke rapped, "Black magic, black excellence / Black habits, this black medicine, everything / Black Chucks, black tux, everything, everything / Black hug, black love, everything / Black pride, black lives, everything." D Smoke is a teacher from Inglewood who found fame on Netflix's Rhythm & Flow.

More on Wilder's thousand dollar costumes

"I want to give boxing fans something they can remember me by," Wilder told TMZ to explain why he makes an effort in regards to his costumes. "Not only just in knock outs, but by me expressing myself, so they can get their money's worth from the start to the finish. So that's why I started coming out with different costumes and things like that."

Wilder says his costumes generally cost from $10,000 to $40,000 and that he always tries to one-up himself in terms of wow factor. He almost exclusively works with design duo Cosmo and Donato, who he said were "the best".

Here they are crowning Wilder before his fight in December last year:

The pair made this crystal skull mask and gladiator leather cape for Wilder's fight in September 2018:

And this gold mask and feathered poncho in December 2018:

Cosmo and Donato also dressed boxer Claressa Shields for her fight in January, in which she beat Ivana Habazin to make boxing history by winning both the WBO and WBC junior middleweight championships.

Why does Deontay Wilder always wear a mask?

β€œ[The mask] has an energy about it that I feed off," Wilder said. "Putting the mask on is like a blocker, I zone in. Most definitely it’s a strange feeling. The mask is everything for me.”

And what happens when the mask goes on and he gets in the zone? β€œWhen my mind transforms it is a scary feeling. It is a source of power that takes over and allows me to feel like I know I can.”

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Updated: February 23, 2020 05:00 PM

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