Hearn worried Deontay Wilder will lose before he makes Joshua fight
By Jeff Aranow: Eddie Hearn would like to build up the heavyweight clash between Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua a little bit more by having them both fight on the same card his summer in New York before matching them against each other later this year. However, Hearn is worried about Wilder’s ability to get through another fight without taking a loss to one of his challengers.
Hearn watched nervously as Wilder almost was knocked out by Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz in their fight on March 3rd at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Hearn believes that the 20 seconds the New York Commission gave Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) after the 7th round saved him from being knocked out in the 8th, because he was badly shaken up by Ortiz in the 7th. Hearn says he’s 80 percent certain he’ll pull the trigger in making the Joshua-Wilder fight next rather than letting the fight marinate for one more fight after Joshua’s next fight against WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) on March 31.
“The 7th round, he was gone,” Hearn said to Fighthub about Wilder’s fight with Ortiz. “The 20 seconds the New York Commission gave him, rightfully so, it’s within their rules, was potentially a career saver for Deontay Wilder. You can’t criticize Deontay for that, or even the Commission. That’s their new ruling. That’s there for a reason for previous incidents that have happened. I didn’t like it because it gives a fighter a chance to recover and can simultaneously change the momentum of a fight. But a fighter’s health is paramount and Deontay Wilder looked like he potentially could be stopped at that moment at the end of the 7th round. So that definitely helped him,” Hearn said.
We can’t know for sure whether Wilder would have been knocked out by the 38-year-old Ortiz (28-1, 24 KOs) in the 8th round if he wasn’t given 20 seconds to be examined by the New York Commission before the round started. 20 seconds is not enough time for anyone to recover if they’re badly hurt. Wilder looked like he was still dazed when the 8th round, so I don’t think 20 seconds changed anything. Wilder was able to lean backwards against the ropes to avoid Ortiz’s shots to the head. It was Ortiz’s mistake to not throw more body shots in that round, because Wilder was vulnerable to any body shots that Ortiz was throwing. Ortiz was too tired to finish the job in the 8th. He had exhausted himself in the 7th trying to knockout Wilder. When that knockout failed to happen, Ortiz was done for the night. Wilder weathered the storm in the 8th, and then hurt Ortiz with a right hand counter at the end of the 9th that put him in great position to finish him in the 10th.
”Luis’ Ortiz’s team talked about illegal punches,” Hearn said. ”He [Wilder] hits with the inside of his hands. The thing about AJ is he’s a bad mother-[expletive], and he wants to do damage to Deontay Wilder. He also wants to be an ambassador for the sport, but underneath that, he’s a bad kid from the streets, and you have to have that in the sport to be a great fighter,” Hearn said.
Wilder doesn’t just throw windmill punches. The punches that Wilder lands with the inside of his hands are his windmill shots. But he only throws those punches mainly when he has one of his opponents hurt. Until then, Wilder throws straight left-right combinations, and those are the shots that he hurt Ortiz with. Wilder’s windmill shots weren’t the ones that hurt Ortiz. Wilder finished Ortiz with some windmill punches after he had him hurt in the 10th, but those weren’t the punches that put him in that condition. Ortiz was so hurt in the 10th round that it didn’t matter what Wilder hit him with. He was too hurt and tired for him to make it out of the round.
“I think Wilder against AJ. I think the game plan is going out the window,” Hearn said. “It’s going to be a barn burner. Our job is to provide for the fans. Our job is to give the people what they want. Anthony wants to give the fans what they want. He wants to fight Wilder now, straightaway, and there’s a very strong chance it’ll be next after Parker. 80 percent,” Hearn said when asked what chance there is of Joshua fighting Wilder next.
Hearn should let the Joshua-Wilder fight marinate a little while longer, because both guys still need to be seen by the boxing fans on the same card fighting other opposition. Joshua should fight New Yorker Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller, and Wilder should take on Charles Martin or Kubrat Pulev. There isn’t a lot of soft opposition in the WBC’s top 15 right now. If Wilder picks from the bottom for a voluntary defense, he’d be facing Dereck Chisora, Carlos Takam, Oscar Rivas, Agit Kabayel or Adam Kownacki. Those aren’t easy fights.
“On an ideal perspective, maybe they’ll box on the same night in New York before that fights made,” Hearn said. ”It’ll make it even bigger. Also, Deontay Wilder almost lost on Saturday. AJ might lose on March 31st. Let’s not lose the opportunity to make the biggest fight in world boxing. So I think there’s a very good chance it can happen next, but again, we’ll see on March 31st. The priority is Deontay Wilder. Anthony Joshua wants all the belts. He wants to be the unified champion. He wants to beat Deontay Wilder,” Hearn said.
Hearn sounds conflicted about whether he should make the Joshua vs. Wilder fight. On one hand he wants to let the fight build a little more to make it a bigger fight, and then on the other hand, he’s worried that Wilder could lose to somebody if he tries to let the fight marinate. I think Wilder is more than good enough to let the fight with Joshua marinate a little while longer, but he needs to fight someone a little ranked next time he fights. Ortiz was ranked No.3 with the World Boxing Council, but in truth, he was the best guy in the top 15. Ortiz is arguably a better fighter than #1 Dillian Whyte and #4 Alexander Povetkin. Wilder took on the best guy in the WBC’s rankings, and not surprisingly the fight was a tough one for him. It could have been an easier fight for Wilder if he’d come out quickly and let his hands go. If Wilder faces someone like Charles Martin, Kubrat Pulev or Tony Bellew in the summer, he can beat those guys easily on the same card as Joshua’s next fight in New York. That way Wilder can help let the fight with Joshua marinate a little while longer. At the same time, it gives Joshua a chance to be seen by the casual boing fans in the U.S by fighting in New York.
”He knows he carries power,” Hearn said of Joshua knowing that Wilder has punching power. He thinks this is a very easy fight. He knows he’s dangerous. But in terms of technique, we don’t see an issue in that fight at all. He thinks the Parker fight is the much tougher fight technically for him. I’m not saying Parker hits as hard as Wilder. He can punch, but technically, Wilder is not a difficult fight. Technically, Anthony Joshua is on another stratosphere to Deontay Wilder, but he does carry power. He does like to trade. Anthony Joshua likes to trade. He does like to have a fight, and he will love a fight with Deontay Wilder,” Hearn said.
Joshua is a good boxer, but he’s not great by any means. Joshua is not a skilled fighter like Muhammad Ali. He’s got good boxing skills, but he still gets hurt and runs out of gas. You can have great boxing ability, but if you don’t have a great chin or excellent conditioning, then it doesn’t matter how good your skills are. Historically, there have been many fighters with amazing boxing skills, but poor conditioning and weak punch resistance. Things balance out with Joshua and Wilder. Joshua has better hand speed and boxing skills, but Wilder has superior punching power and conditioning. Wilder also moves better than Joshua. So while it’s nice that Joshua has a better boxing pedigree than Wilder, it’s not enough to guarantee him a win.
“[Parker is] more clinical. Wilder throws windmills,” Joshua said to skysports.com. ”When he [Parker] throws his shots with a left and a right, if the left don’t hit you, the right catches you as you are moving in and knocks the majority of his opponents out,” Joshua said.
Joshua sounds a lot like Hearn in talking about Parker having more technical skills than Wilder. I’m not sure if Parker has more boxing skills than Wilder. If you look at Wilder, he’s capable of doing everything Parker does when he wants to. Wilder can jab, move, pick off shots, and throw in combinations. Wilder doesn’t get a lot of credit from boxing fans and writers because he tends to disappear for a number of rounds and not look sensational. We saw that in Wilder’s fights against Eric Molina, Artur Szpilka, Gerald Washington and Luis Ortiz. In each of those fights, Wilder did nothing in the early rounds. He looked like he was struggling against those guys. But when Wilder suddenly turned it on, he knocked all of them out quickly. The fights were over suddenly with all four of those guys. So it would be mistake on Joshua’s part to assume that Wilder only windmills and doesn’t have good technical skills. That’s selling him short, and underestimating him. Joshua could be in for a shock if he doesn’t see Wilder as more complex than he thinks he is.