Wilder badly exposed by Szpilka!
(Photo credit: Stephanie Trapp/SHOWTIME) By Scott Bells: Deontay Wilder (36-0, 35 KOs) made the third defence of his WBC Heavyweight title last Saturday night with a devastating one-punch knockout against a game challenger Artur Szpilka (20-2, 15 KOs) in a 9th round knockout at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The fight was stopped by referee Michael Griffin at 2:24 of round 9 after Wilder flattened the southpaw Szpilka with a right hand.
The fight was extremely close in most parts, with different fighters dominating in small parts.
Wilder’s clear knockout power was his get out of jail card tonight in a performance even he admitted was poor for a champion hoping to unify the belts in 2016.
This was Wilder’s third defence and, most notably, his third disappointing performance. Some British analysts had Szpilka up at the time of the stoppage; I disagree and had Wilder two rounds up but this does not take away from the fact that his shortcomings were badly exposed again in this fight.
In the first three rounds, Deontay looked worse than amateurish making big swipes at thin air; not something a heavyweight world champion should be doing. Wilder’s balance throughout was absolutely terrible, and every time Szpilka caught him even when they were glancing blows, Wilder made the effect look far worse than they actually were. It was clear that the shots did not hurt Wilder, but he made them look better than they were.
Wilder is easy to hit; that is a fact nobody can dispute after three defences against B and C level opposition and looking poor in each. His best performance to date is still his 12 round unanimous win against previous WBC heavyweight champion Bermane Stiverne for the title a year ago in January 2015.
Fans of Wilder will stay on the bandwagon, but many other heavyweights will not believe that the assignment is a winnable one.
Wilder faces his first notable elite opponent next in Alexander Povetkin, who aside from his fight against clinch-filled fight against Wladimir Klitschko in 2013, has beat a large number of legitimate fighters in his career and will provide a real examination of Wilder’s status as champion.
I would have to put Povetkin as the favorite in that fight as he has a great chin and is clearly a superior boxer than Wilder; the question will be whether Povetkin can deal with Wilder’s height and reach (and power of course!). Povetkin’s recent 12th round knockout win against the 6′7½″ Mariusz Wach last November showed the height shouldn’t be an issue.
So Wilder has shown that he has a large number of flaws; in truth, every champion (Tyson Fury and Charles Martin) is flawed in this division meaning titles will change hands numerous times over the next 18 months if the matchmaking is not too soft.
With up and coming fighters like Joseph Parker and Anthony Joshua coming through, and the returning David Haye, it is certainly the most exciting and unpredictable it has been in way over a decade. It is time to hope that the money-spinning fights get made, and that the fans can see Wilder (who is very exciting) face top opponents for once and really see what he can do, as it has been a disappointing title reign so far for someone who has the potential to be a real crossover star in the United States.
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