By Tim Fletcher: WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (35-0, 24 KOs) believes he’ll be ready to face IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (64-3, 53 KOs) in late 2016 if he’s still a world champion by then.
Wilder wants to get his mandatory defense out of the way against mandatory Alexander Povetkin, provided that Povetkin wins his next fight against the 6’8” Mariusz Wach on November 4th in Russia.
Klitschko, 39, has to get his mandatory defense out of the way against Tyson Fury, a fight that will take place either this year or sometime in early 2016.
Wilder defeated #11 WBC challenger Johann Duhaupas (32-3, 20 KOs) by an 11th round knockout last Saturday night at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama. The fight was televised by Premier Boxing Champions on NBC.
It was a fight that was controlled by Wilder with his heavy power shots, and his high volume work rate. Duhaupas was mostly on the receiving end of the punches that were thrown in this fight, although he did land some nice jabs and right hands in many of the rounds.
”Hopefully, Klitschko and I can fight sometime in the next year,” Wilder said last night after his victory over Johann Duhaupas.” We’ve got to get these mandatories out of the way first, so people have to stay patient. The key is to stay patient. This is a process and a business.”
Wilder and Klitschko have tough mandatory defenses that they need to get out of the way. Wilder’s job is perhaps harder than Wladimir’s because Wilder will need to get past the very tough 36-year-old Povetkin.
Wilder, 29, has the youth, size, hand speed and punching power on his side in a fight of that nature, but he doesn’t have the experience or the same pedigree that Povetkin has going for him.
That’s going to make the fight potentially tough for Wilder because he’s going to need to stay on the move and find a way to keep Povetkin off of him. The pressure that the 6’5” Duhaupas put on Wilder last night will help him be better prepared for the 6’2” Povetkin, because that’s likely how he’ll be choosing to fight Wilder when they face each other in early 2016.
Povetkin will put constant pressure on Wilder for every second of the fight, and will be trying to get in close so that he can land his short compact punches. Povetkin is a much better puncher Duhaupas. But what Povetkin isn’t as good at is taking heavy shots.
Povetkin’s punch resistance is nothing like that of Duhaupas. Klitschko knocked Povetkin down three times in their fight in 2013 in beating him by a one-sided 12 round decision. Klitschko was too tall for Povetkin and had an easy time dominating him on the outside and tying him up each time he would get in close.
“That fight [Klitschko] will surely come around as long as I keep winning, which I will, and as long as he keeps winning,” Wilder said. ”That fight should come around real soon, and we’ll have an undisputed world heavyweight champion; which will be me.”
If Wilder is able to fight Klitschko like he did Duhaupas last night, then I think Klitschko would be in deep trouble. He doesn’t have the same chin that Duhaupas has going for him, and it would be tough for him to take the big shots that Wilder would be nailing him with. But by the same token I think that Wilder would have a tough time standing up to Klitschko’s big left hooks and right hands.
Wilder wouldn’t wait around for Wladimir to throw those heavy shots. He would be on the attack and forcing Wladimir to fight harder than he’s used to. The clinching that Wladimir likes to do wouldn’t be as effective against Wilder because he mostly stays on the outside. But if Wilder did get on the inside against Wladimir, he’d have a huge advantage with his inside fighting skills. We saw last night that Wilder was a very formidable inside fighter.
Wilder was able to generate a lot of power on his punches from close range. Wladimir couldn’t do the same thing against Wilder, and he would be forced to grab ahold of him tightly enough to keep Wilder from getting a hand free to hit him. Wilder is pretty strong, and it’s doubtful that Wladimir would be able to keep him from being able to get a hand free to club him with shots to the head and body.
“Klitschko and I have sparred before; I’m the younger guy and the more time that goes by, that’s an advantage for me,” Wilder said. ”Each and every fight, I prove a little bit more about what people don’t know about me. Of course I can take a punch. Of course I can punch and I can fight on the inside too. A lot of people don’t know that.”
Wilder can take a punch well when he sees it coming, but he doesn’t do well when he gets nailed by shots that he’s not expecting. Wladimir does a good job of disguising his left hook, and that could be a problem for Wilder if he’s unable to block the punch.
”I displayed a lot tonight and I’d like to thank my opponent for giving me the opportunity to show that tonight,” Wilder said. ”Without his toughness and ability to keep coming, I wouldn’t have been able to display what I had.”
I think there’s still a very good chance that Wilder and Klitschko won’t be the ones meeting each other in 2016 after they get their net fights out of the way. There’s a very good chance that we could be seeing Fury and Povetkin facing each other. That’s a match that would greatly favor the 6’9” Fury because of his seven inch height advantage over Povetkin.
I’m not sure that Povetkin would even agree to the match because he’s had chances to fight Fury in the past and he never took the fights. If Povetkin beats Wilder to capture the WBC title, I can see Povetkin milking the title by choosing to defend it for as long as possible rather than facing Fury.