(Photo credit: Lucas Noonan/Premier Boxing Champions) By Scott Gilfoid: As I predicted, the talented WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (35-0 34 KOs) put in a virtuoso performance in battering Johann Duhaupas (32-3, 20 KOs) and winning an 11th round TKO win on Saturday night in front of a jammed pack Legacy Arena in beautiful Birmingham, Alabama. It was a privilege to watch the superstar Wilder work tonight in slowly dismantling the iron-chinned Duhaupas round by round until the referee Jack Reiss had to pull the plug on the fight in the 11th round.
Duhaupas looked like he was ready to be officially knocked out when Reiss decided to stop the contest rather than letting Wilder put Duhaupas down on the canvas. It was just too much of a beating for Reiss to stand there and let it continue to happen before his eyes.
Reiss stopped the fight at 0:55 of the 11th round. Could Duhaupas made it out of the round? Maybe. But I don’t know that it would have made any difference. Wilder just would have restarted the beating in the 12th round, and Reiss would have had to do the right thing and stop it then.
It’s unclear what Duhaupas’ purse was for the fight, but hopefully he made enough for him to live well for a couple of years off the money because he deserves it with the beating he took tonight.
“He did everything we expected him to,” Wilder said after the fight. “We knew he was mentally tough. He’s got a hell of a chin. He was very strong. I see why he’s never been stopped before. He did an excellent job and definitely had my respect.”
Wilder had his Alabama fans to support him, and he definitely drew energy from them when he was nailing Duhaupas with big mammoth punches in the 5th, 9th, 10th and 11th rounds. The crowd went into a frenzy when Wilder was working Duhaupas over against the ropes in the 5th and 7th rounds. The 34-year-old Duhaupas from France took bad punishment in the form of uppercuts in both of those rounds.
Duhaupas landed some healthy looking shots that would have knocked out many heavyweights in the division. I mean, I couldn’t see Tyson Fury being able to stand up to the kind of shots that Wilder took from Duhaupas tonight.
Fury would likely have been on the canvas on his backside if he was nailed with the punches that I saw Wilder get hit with. Duhaupas was dangerous with his jab alone. It was a beautiful jab that had Wilder’s left eye in danger of closing completely by the 6th round.
“Hopefully we can do it by the end of 2016,” Wilder said about fighting Klitschko, “but boxing is a business and I have mandatories.”
Well, the World Boxing Council has already said that Wilder can take the fight against Wladimir in the first part of 2016 if Wladimir wants the fight. In other words, the WBC is going to let Wilder bypass his WBC #1 mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin if Wladimir and Wilder both wants the fight. But if Wilder is keen on fighting Povetkin at the start of 2016 rather than Klitschko, then that’s his decision.
It doesn’t make much sense to me that Wilder would elect to face Povetkin first rather than Klitschko, but it probably has more to do with Wladimir likely not being willing to take a fight against the hard punching Wilder so soon.
I don’t know if Wilder realizes it or not, but he probably scared away 99% of the heavyweight division with the beating that he administered tonight against Duhaupas. It was scary to watch with the huge punches that Wilder was raking Duhaupas with round after round.
I’ve never seen Wilder throw as many right hands and punish a fighter like he did tonight against Duhaupas. It was a long and sustained beating that the strong-chinned Duhaupas took in the fight. The right hands that Wilder was hitting him with all night long likely would have knocked out all the other heavyweights in the division including Bermane Stiverne. Duhaupas just had an uncanny ability to absorb punishment for some reason.
Duhaupas landed enough of his jabs and right hands to have Wilder’s left eye swollen badly. There was a moment there were I had doubts whether Wilder would win the fight because his left eye was closing rapidly after the 3rd round.
Had Wilder not stepped on the gas with his own offense to shut down what Duhaupas was doing on offense, I think Wilder’s eye would have swollen completely shut, causing the fight to be halted with Duhaupas being declared the winner. If Wilder hadn’t suddenly turned up the heat on Duhaupas to cook the “Reptile” by the 6th round, we could have seen Wilder stopped due to his swollen eye.
It was kind of sad to see Duhaupas being consoled by his wife after the fight. He was so beaten looking and unhappy at having lost the fight. You could see in the look on Duhaupas’ face just how badly he wanted the victory tonight. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a fighter want a win as badly as Duhaupas did. He was very ambitious, but he came up short. He was congratulated by the referee Reiss, Wilder and a number of other people for putting on such a great performance, but it didn’t cheer him up. He looked he needed the win and the title.
At 34, this might be Duhaupas’ only shot at getting a world title. I suspect he’ll remain a top 15 contender after this loss, but I don’t know if he’ll ever make it back to another title fight unless the sanctioning bodies are charitable and push him back up regardless of who he beats. Duhaupas will be in demand after this fight as an opponent, which is a good thing potentially. The problem is he obviously won’t get the money that he would have received had he won the WBC world title tonight.
This performance by Wilder likely did a lot for him image. I mean, the fight was seen during primetime on NBC tonight, which means a lot of eyeballs were seeing Wilder for the first time. These fans that saw the talented 6’7” Wilder will likely want to see him fight again in the future due to how exciting he is, especially if he can get a fight against Klitschko in early 2016. If not, then we’ll be seeing Wilder take on Povetkin in mandatory title defense by him.