Is it time for Deontay to stand up?
By Sam Holderness: On paper, Deontay Wilder is an American Dream. Why is a 6ft7inches American that holds a portion of the illustrious heavyweight championship not a box office sensation? The Alabama fighter boast a perfect 37/0/0 record with 36 of them by knockout, so what’s missing?
Anyone who is reading is screaming the same thing, a name. Skim through the Bronze Bombers record and you will notice a drastic lack of talent. I appreciate this is not a new statement and it doesn’t take a scholar of the sport to say that Andrzej Warrzyk is an over-matched opponent (being stopped already by twice destined to fight Wilder, Alexander Povetkin) but circumstances mean we will let this one go.
However, since Deontay’s close friend Malik Scott re-enacted Ali-Liston II and took a tumble from a phantom punch (which still was a big step up for Wilder) progress seems to have stagnated. Jason Gavern, all be it a fan favorite, boasted a record of 25W 16L 4D (at that point). For a man who was about to fight for a world title, this was not a litmus test the world wanted. This followed by the glimmer of hope for all heavyweight fans, a convincing boxing performance (all be vs a limited opponent who was pictured drinking with one Floyd Money Mayweather in the early hours of the morning). Wilder out-boxed the shorter man and still showed his tremendous power wobbling his opponent numerous times.
His following 4 fights? Eric Molina, Johann Duhaupas, Artur Szpilka and Chris Arreola this shows nothing but a lack of desire to dare to be great. Now by this point no doubt, the Wilder fans within the room will be pointing out the numerous injuries and drugs cheats that have hampered the career of Wilder, but this is my point exactly. The 31-year-old has now had three major injuries to his hand that have required surgery, his days are numbers.
All of the above is why I believe Deontay needs to step up, stand up and be accounted. I have drafted a list of opponents that I believe should be considered and why.
Luiz ‘King Kong’ Ortiz – Before he packed his bags for sunny old England Ortiz was dubbed the most avoided fighter in the world, boasting a 25-win record with 22 of those coming by way of stoppage. However, since then the highly ranked fighter could not crack the awkward code that a fleeing Malik Scott produced, which though Ortiz took the peculiar fight with ease on points there were spots of success by Scott. Additionally, a stubborn British level fighter, David Allen, took a lot of Ortiz punishment. Has Ortiz been found out? A win vs Ortiz would legitimize the reign of Deontay Wilder and no doubt a win by Knockout would win him back the deadliest man on the planet title he once was projected to hold.
Additionally, with Ortiz ranked 4th in the WBC rankings this could plausibly be used as the mandatory he has managed to avoid for so long.
Joseph Parker – The fellow untested fighter from New Zealand has recently acquired the WBO title in a shaky performance vs Andy Ruiz Jr. There is a lot of noise for the quick-handed kiwi, however at 6ft 4 we’re yet to see how the 24-year-old would deal with the taller man. This is a very winnable fight for wilder and another belt would go towards legitimizing his legacy.
Kubrat Pulev – The Bulgarian has been said to have turned down an Anthony Joshua fight recently leaving him open. The Cobra’s knock out ratio of under 50% is one of the lowest in the upper tier of fighters in the heavyweight bracket which makes him a sensible choice. On top on this, his one defeat a stoppage to Wladimir Klitschko would allow comparison between the two fighters and again (a stoppage) I believe would legitimize The Bombers reign.
There are a few more names within the second half of the year that could draw interest, but these themselves depend on circumstances.
The Winner of Anthony Joshua v Wladamir Klitschko – Due to the unorthodox method of which Brit Tyson Fury used Wladimir’s cagey temperament (having being knocked out multiple times before) to feint his way to a point victory the world has written off Klitschko. However, if this big puncher comes through upon comer AJ he could also be the key to acceptance of the fans. Alternatively, if the young Lion swipes Wladimir to the side what better way to announce your intent that derailing the hype train and collecting the IBF and WBA title at the same time.
Tyson Fury – He too is a loud talker has had a lot of difficulties outside of the ring, but has recently announced his return to training. As the man who beat the man, Fury would be a fantastic way to silence doubters (and I think most people would agree, the press conferences alone would be worth the pay per view fee for).
I hope you’re all enjoyed the read and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, have I missed someone out, or do you disagree with someone I have said? Do you disagree with everything I have said? Let me know.