Byrd: Deontay Wilder is similar to Michael Grant
By Scott Gilfoid: Former IBF/WBO heavyweight champion Chris Byrd sees the talented unbeaten heavyweight prospect Deontay Wilder (26-0, 26 KO’s) as another Michael Grant (31-0, 21 KO’s) in terms of Wilder being kind of a raw fighter. Byrd is concerned that Wilder’s opposition has been too weak and that he’s just piling up knockout wins for the heck of it instead of being challenged to where he’ll learn something.
Byrd said to secondsout.com “Deontay Wilder is like a Michael Grant. A Michael Grant in progress, he’s very raw. When you have so many knockouts it scares me because who are you fighting to get a record like that?”
Byrd thinks Wilder needs to step it up already, which is something that legendary trainer Emanuel Steward echoed not long before he passed away recently.
Steward didn’t agree with the kind of match-making that was being done by Wilder’s promoters, as he felt that Wilder had the talent to challenge for a world title within 12 months if he would start being matched against better opposition.
Steward said this about half a year ago and unfortunately Wilder’s promoters still have yet to put him in with any quality opposition yet.
I disagree with Byrd about Wilder being a Grant in progress because that suggests that Byrd doesn’t think Wilder is going to be put in with better opposition in the future. I don’t see Wilder as being the same as Grant in terms of talent because Grant was never the puncher that Wilder is.
Before Grant was exposed in a 2nd round knockout loss to IBF/IBO/WBC heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis in April 2000, Grant was 31-0 with 21 knockouts, but his opposition had been pretty much as poor as Wilder’s, yet he didn’t have nearly as many knockouts.
Wilder has better power than Grant, a better jab, a better left hook and faster hands. Wilder is dangerous for anyone. If Byrd fought Wilder in his prime, I wouldn’t give Byrd more than 3 or 4 rounds before Wilder knocked him out because he’s so powerful and talented. He’d have caught up to Byrd just like Ike Ibeabutchi did and stopped him.
I do think Golden Boy Promotions needs to step up Wilder’s level of opposition, but I’m not surprised they’re not doing this because they’ve used the same approach for some of their other fighters like WBC junior middleweight champion Saul “Canenlo” Alvarez, Danny Garcia, Amir Khan and Adrien Broner.