Deontay Wilder faces Gerald Washington in tough test
By Eric Baldwin: WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (37-0, 36 KOs) has what he feels is a very athletic opponent in 6’7” Gerald Washington (18-0-1, 12 KOs) in their fight on February 25 on Premier Boxing Champions on Fox from the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama. Wilder is coming off of a right hand and bicepts injury from his last fight against Chris Arreola and he’ll be testing out his right hand power against the 34-year-old Washington in this fight.
If Wilder’s power is not the same as it once was, then Washington could have a chance to pull off an upset. Wilder hasn’t developed his left hand to any great extent since turning pro in 2009. Wilder says he’s worked on his left hand since coming off of surgery to repair his right hand and bicep, but it’s difficult to imagine his left hand power being significant.
“All of my sparring partners have been amazed that I’ve come off a hand injury and you can’t tell at all,” said Wilder to fightnews.com. “I’ve been dropping sparring partners. I’ve been hurting them. You know, it’s been crazy. One of my sports doctors says that once everything is done, even when I broke it, that once everything is done, that I’m going to find that I’m even stronger. Things came back even tighter and the strength increases,” Wilder said.
Facing sparring partners in camp is not the same as fighting a top level pro like Washington. The gloves will be lighter, the head gear won’t be there, and it’ll be a real opponent in Washington that will be trying to take Wilder’s head off. If Wilder’s right hand isn’t back to where it once was, this could be a very hard fight for him. This is Washington’s big chance to prove himself in the pro ranks. He may not ever get another title shot if things end badly for him. For that reason, Washington is going to be trying hard to score an upset over the 31-year-old Wilder.
Washington has experience against a big puncher in his fight against Amir Manour in 2015. Washington and Mansour fought to a 10 round draw in that fight. Washington has won his last two fights against Eddie Chambers and Ray Austin.
Wilder cannot afford to let Washington get too confident in the ring on February 25. Wilder wants to fight two unification fights in 2017 against WBO champion Joseph Parker and IBF champion Anthony Joshua. Wilder wants those fights to be back to back.
It would seem to be a long shot that Wilder will be able to fight Parker next, because his management is talking about wanting to make a fight against Joshua next after the Hughie Fury fight in April. Parker’s promoters are interested in the Wilder fight, but only after they face Joshua first. Wilder might end up having to wait until 2018 to fight a unification fight. It’ll depend on Joshua’s and his promoter Eddie Hearn whether he can get a fight against him this year.
Washington is going to be looking to put himself in the position to get the Joshua fight. All he needs to do is beat Wilder, and he’ll be in a great position to get a career high payday against Joshua.