Deontay Wilder fighting Sheppard is sending a lamb to the slaughter
By Gav Duthie: In what would be an entirely non unpredictable outcome Deontay Wilder looks yet again to be fighting a tomato can journeyman in Mike Sheppard 21-17-1 (9). 39 year old Sheppard boasts a proud record of being knocked out on a regular basis over 3 decades having made his boxing debut in 1997.
Of his 17 defeats 5 of them have been in the first round and even against the likes of journeyman Joey Abell and Jeremy Bates.
I do agree that Wilder needs to keep himself busy. Having ring time, training and sparring time will be hugely beneficial whilst Stiverne is doing nothing but recovering from his hand injury. I hate it when fighters just sit around for 6-8 months, even a year at a time waiting for a big fight when they could be staying busy and keeping their name out there. Some people might disagree but I think a fighter doesn’t benefit from inactivity and can build in ring rust.
Reasons for staying active
– Stay in shape
– Keep fighting weight in check
– Fighting different types of opponents (durable, tough, fast, awkward etc)
– Learn new things (jab, stamina, punch resistance etc)
Amir Khan took to twitter to mock Kell Brook for fighting Alvaro Robles 17-2 (15) (at the time) a few months back despite the fact he hadn’t fought anyone in 13 months himself. For me having seen Kell a lot in between fights he puts on a lot of weight and has a reputation for partying. By putting him in the ring all be it with sub-standard competition it keeps him in the gym and out of the nightclubs. I would rather have seen Amir Khan fight two Alvaro Robles level fighters in 13 months than do nothing. In one way I am glad Deontay has taken a fight at such short notice.
To my point, Its one thing to stay active but to be fighting Mike Sheppard in your 32nd fight is completely pointless. This is a guaranteed first round knockout victory and fits none of my criteria for why you would fight a guy like this. Sheppard is not durable, Wilder doesn’t need to make weight he is a heavyweight and always stays in shape anyway. He is not going to learn anything with this opponent. At least with the Brook example he was up against a guy who could punch and he got 8 rounds out of him. Wilder has only fought 54 rounds in his 31 fights. He needs to fight someone with a chin and durability. I wrote about this before. He has a fight with Stiverne lined up so nobody would expect him or Golden Boy to want to fight top contenders but even an Oliver McCall or a Fres Oquendo would be a huge step up. Its not great that his biggest wins to date is probably Audley Harrison and Malik Scott.
Who’s to blame
Maybe nobody. Does anyone genuinely think that Wilder is being steered in the right direction? I’m not here to bash Wilder but at the same time nobody can genuinely claim he is the next Liston, Foreman, Tyson etc because he has fought nobody. I think questions need to be asked of Golden Boy Promotions. They are probably the best known and biggest boxing promoters worldwide now but at heavyweight they only represent two fighters, Deontay Wilder and china chin Seth Mitchell. They seem to have no connections in a division dominated by Eastern Europe and as a result Wilder is missing out. I’m quite sure that Wilder has huge confidence in his abilities with his current record and would welcome some difficult fights. Malik Scott was a major disappointment, many have talked about his great skills but he seemed to be looking for a comfy spot on the canvas much like he did against Chisora. Since this figh is at such short notice I’ll reserve my full judgement but Wilder needs another fight before Stiverne and it needs to be a strong test.