Sulaiman says Deontay Wilder reminds him of Holmes, Ali and Tyson
By Eric Thomas: WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman says heavyweight champion Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder’s performance last Saturday night against Bermane Stiverne reminded him at times of great heavyweights of the past in Larry Holmes, Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson.
The 6’7” Wilder showed traits of all three of these great heavyweights from the past, according to Sulaiman, in his 1st round knockout win over Stiverne (25-3-1, 21 KOs) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs) knocked Stiverne, 39, down 3 times in round 1 before the fight was stopped by the referee. Stiverne never stood a chance once Wilder knocked him down with the first right hand that he threw. Stiverne got to his feet, but he was in bad shape for the final 2 knockdowns.
“I saw a combination of Larry Holmes with that great jab, a combination of Muhammad Ali with his way of acting when he knocked down his rival and shouted with passion, stop! , because I wanted to keep hurting, and Mike Tyson, with that power of fists,” said Sulaiman to ESPN.com.
The way that Wilder was super energized after knocking out Stiverne was very similar to how Muhammad Ali when he stopped Sonny Liston in the 1st round in their rematch on May 25, 1965. Ali knocked Liston down with what looked like a very weak right hand to the head. Liston then stayed down for the full count while Ali shouted for him to get up. The previous year, Ali had stopped Liston in the 6th round after he suffered a shoulder injury and couldn’t continue fighting.
Sulaiman notes that Wilder is in the prime of his career right now at age 32, and he wants to see him fight IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in a big unification fight. Sulaiman feels that the heavyweight division is returning to its former glory, thanks to Deontay Wilder and Joshua. But to take advantage of this opportunity to bring the division back, the two heavyweights need to face each other. Wilder are game, but Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn are talking their time in making the fight happen. Hearn says he would prefer that the Joshua-Wilder fight marinate for another 12 to 18 months so that it can make more money.
Hearn is seeing the fight from a monetary angle rather than from a sporting event. Thankfully, sports like football and basketball aren’t run the way boxing is. If the NFL was like boxing, the owners of the best teams would hold off on playing in the Super Bowl until the demand was high enough from the fans for the game to be played. It would wreck the sport.
Hearn doesn’t seem to realize that even if the Wilder-Joshua fight doesn’t make as much money as it could if the match were made 18 months from now, the two fighters could still face each other in a second and third fight and make huge month in those fights. Waiting on a fight to get bigger often backfires on greedy promoters, with their fighters often losing in smaller money fights against other opposition.
“I see Wilder at the best moment of his career,” said Sulaiman.
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