Has Wilder suddenly become the “A Side” against AJ?

By Ted Sares on November 8, 2017
Has Wilder suddenly become the “A Side” against AJ?
Wilder met the challenge and rendered a vicious, definitive, and scary beating. (Sky Sports)

We will see who marches to whose marching orders, but for now, Wilder suddenly seems to have become the owner of the “A Side” status…

Off their most recent fights, it’s hard (for me) to assign solid “A-Side” status to Anthony Joshua were he to meet Deontay Wilder in the relatively near future. Clearly, the buzz has been building and now, finally, it’s high time to get it on. After an overall super year of boxing, this would continue the ascent.

Gravitas becomes important in terms of where the fight would take place and, most importantly, what the financial terms of the arrangement would be. Heretofore, most observers believed Anthony had that leverage to call the shots as he rampaged through the ranks and then stopped Wladimir Klitschko in a tremendous fight before a monster throng of 90,000 fans in the UK. While AJ showed great heart and resilience, he also showed that he is vulnerable if hit flush. Joshua’s trainer Rob McCracken even mentioned he was 100 per cent sure his fighter was on course to lose to Klitschko when the Ukrainian knocked him down in the sixth round. But Anthony rallied and won the epic battle.

The official scorecards at the time were as follows: Ringside judges Don Trella and Nelson Vazquez had Joshua ahead by scores of 96-93 and 95-93, respectively, at the time of the stoppage. Steve Weisfeld had Klitschko ahead 95-93.

“I’m not perfect but I’m trying,” said Joshua, who also had some of gracious words for the fallen but valiant Klitschko.

Ever the classy sportsman, Klitschko had this to say: “Two gentlemen fought each other and he was better today than I. It’s really sad that I didn’t make it tonight. I was planning to do it but it didn’t work. But all due respect to Anthony. Congratulations.”

Fast forward

Notwithstanding his apologists, on October 28, 2017, Anthony Joshua lost some of his glitter when he was made to work in beating a somewhat obscure 36-year-old French substitute for Kubrat Pulev by the name of Carlos Takam last week. Testifying to AJ’s tremendous drawing power, the fight took place in front of 80,000 rabid fans in Cardiff.

Joshua won by stoppage, albeit somewhat premature, and failed to KO his opponent who bled badly from cuts over both eyes. Nevertheless, he controlled every aspect of the bout, but he boxed more cautiously than usual and came in overweight which did not work in his favor. Maybe a broken nose as a result of a Takam headbutt slowed AJ down, but it surely helped to make this a more grueling, grinding, and tough fight than was anticipated—one on which the big Englishman could not seem to cut off the ring and trap his opponent setting up a spectacular finish that the fans craved.

Most importantly, this bout showed that Anthony Joshua is mortal and has a few—not many—but a few flaws. It also showed that if Deontay Wilder (38-0) could do something spectacular in his rematch with Bermane Stiverne at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on November 4, the possibility of who might be favored if The Bronze Bomber fought the undefeated AJ might be up for grabs. Joshua has been viewed as being the better fighter and rightful champion, but it’s far from unanimous and there are plenty who think Wilder would be his stumbling block.

Wilder vs. Stiverne

The Bronze Bomber was schedule to fight Alexander Povetkin last year and Luis “King Kong” Ortiz, but both proved to be juicers, and this put Wilder in rage mode and poor Stiverne would become the outlet for his rage.

A perfectly proportioned 6’7” Wilder met the challenge of being spectacular as he rendered a vicious, definitive, and scary beating on the only fighter able to go the distance with him. He floored an overweight Stiverne three times en route to the win.

Wilder walked to Stiverne and drilled him with a right hand to the head and knocked him down. This came about a minute into the fight.

Wilder then did it again as a blubbery Stiverne shook his head. Referee Arthur Mercante Jr., who has a reputation for allowing fights to last too long, could have ended matters then, but as is his troubling wont he allowed it continue.

Wilder blasted away at Stiverne again and unloaded a wicked multi-punch combination including a right, left, right, left. Stiverne, who was now on another planet, collapsed along the ropes and then fell face forward while Mercante finally ended the short but scary massacre.

This was not the windmill version of Wilder that’s has sometimes appeared in the past. This was a straight-forward bomber. This was a scary Wilder.

There won’t be a trilogy.

Wilder vs. Joshua

Team Wilder does not want an interim fight; they want to fight Joshua next in what could be the biggest heavyweight fight in recent memory. Whether AJ’s promoter Eddie Hearn and Joshua are ready to make the Wilder fight currently remains to be seen. In fact, disappointedly, Hearn wants the Bronze Bomber to face Dillian Whyte in Feburary. If anything is a test of who has the juice, this could be it.

Wilder’s promoter Lou DiBella’s response to this is predictable and to the point: “…we don’t have to march to his marching orders. We don’t have to go to England because he says so.”

He adds, “Hearn is talking bull about Deontay needing to build up his profile. Really? He’s the scariest heavyweight on the planet. And who the f*** is Whyte? He lost to Joshua. He almost lost to Dereck Chisora. He’s just looked like a sleeping pill against Robert Helenius. No one in America knows who the hell he is.”

For his part, Joshua may fight Joseph Parker before a Wilder encounter. Names like Breazeale and Whyte are also bantered about, but it’s Wilder vs. Joshua that the fans want to see and all of a sudden, the “A-Side” might have shifted a tiny bit.

“I don’t think he wants to fight me as bad as I want to fight him,” said Wilder

DiBella adds: “Wilder vs. Joshua is the fight everyone wants, between the two best heavyweights in the world. I have nothing but respect for AJ but Deontay is the hardest puncher on the planet and when he hits him flush like Wladimir Klitschko hit him he’ll be asleep, not getting up.”

In the end, we will see who marches to whose marching orders, but for now, Wilder suddenly seems to have become the owner of the “A Side” status.

Suddenly, and in a surprising turnaround, he seems to have the clout, juice, leverage, and gravitas. 

What’s your take?

Ted Sares, a member of Ring 4’s Boxing Hall of Fame, is one of the world’s oldest active power lifters and holds several records in the Grand Master class. He has won the EPF Nationals championship four years in a row and recently became the first octogenarian to win a full power meet in New England.

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  1. Tex Hassler 02:03pm, 12/16/2017

    Another great article by Mr. Sares. Wilder seems to be on the rise.

  2. Snippy 01:24pm, 12/08/2017


  3. Kid Blast 01:38pm, 11/14/2017

    I didn’t say he just posed the question.

  4. andrew 05:53pm, 11/12/2017

    Beating a 40 something dough boy makes you the A side? Really?

  5. Steven Stahler 09:18pm, 11/10/2017

    He’s a bombastic idiot. Fighting and KOing fat out of shape midgets (Stiverne) and blown up cruiserweights get him NOTHING. AJ will kick his ass. He has digressed with his undisciplined style and the head hunting. Off balance and wide open is a bad style when he mans up, IF he mans up against AJ. I see AJ KOing him quickly

  6. don from prov 04:32pm, 11/10/2017

    “My personal opinion is they are both on the ‘B’ side as heavyweight boxing is not exactly barnstorming through the sports world. Still, mad respect to our friends across the pond, who support the sport religiously and that’s why this fight should be held out there.”  BOOM!  That pretty much nails it.

    Plus, the stadium possibly being a cab ride from Sir Jack’s—
    It is truly great to “hear” your voice again,  Sir Jack.  Hope you are well.
    Speaking of which, I also send wishes and prayers for your sister, Ted


  7. Kidcanvas 06:08am, 11/10/2017

    wilder acted like he fought someone who didn’t have ...Man tits, A Huge Belly roll pf Lard and 2 yrs of Inactivity ..  give me a break… the only ones whod find deontay wilder a great fighter is , Deontay himself and anyone not older than 16 ,,,  there hasnt been quality Heavyweights for almost 25 yrs!  Boxing usually goes through phases like this with the little guys taking up the slack till it comes back but right now , from top to bottom , its the worse ive ever seen in my 64 yrs ... i wouldnt miss a fight back in the day , now i go to bed and maybe watch it the next day.  anthony Joshua is a nice kid but hes git the same problem as wilder, theres nobody to fight other than the stivernes of the game , fat lazy tomatoe cans

  8. Pete The Sneak 05:14am, 11/10/2017

    I think John ‘aka L.L. Cool John’ hit on the head. Why risk it for both? Move on in there and lets get this done now. (By the by, I saw that Morrison piece on 30 for 30 and it was pretty incredible). My personal opinion is they are both on the ‘B’ side as heavyweight boxing is not exactly barnstorming through the sports world. Still, mad respect to our friends across the pond, who support the sport religiously and that’s why this fight should be held out there. Cmon man, a sold out Wembley Arena with over 70,000 screaming folks, Wilder will never get close to that here in the US. Do it now!...Toro, seeing your name up there is indeed old times here at Boxing.com. Keep em coming brother and I know you said no sympathy, but still hoping all the best for your sister’s recovery…Peace.

  9. Jake 02:10am, 11/10/2017

    Does anyone think that a 39 year-old out of shape Stiverne would get out of the first round against Joshua? Wilder and his team should be careful what they wish for.

  10. Kid Blast 02:00pm, 11/09/2017

    Thanks Your Lordship. Spacey is well-named

  11. Sir Jack Daniels 01:55pm, 11/09/2017

    K.S. got himself into a little bit of bother many years ago in the U.K.
    It was hushed up. The company I worked for at the time help ensure press coverage was minimal. That’s how I knew he was a “wrong un “.

    D.W. throws decapitation shots and has a better chance than most to stop A.J. I just think A.J’s boxing plus big weight advantage beats a hum dinger from a swinger. 

    I hope your sister makes a full and speedy recovery Ted. P

  12. Kid Blast 01:33pm, 11/09/2017

    Steven, AJ did not exactly bring the house down with his less-than-compelling effort against Takem who was sent to dreamland by Povetkin. Meanwhile Wilder made Little Boy Stew out of Stiverne.

    Off those two respective efforts, I don’t think it’s outrageous to think Wilder could not end AJ’s run with a flush shot.

    Remember LL vs. McCall. It can happen.

    Also, AJ is starting to look like Bruno with those muscle and that’s not a good thing insofar as stamina is concerned.

    Flaws have now come to the fore.

    Pokergasmic, thanks for the props lad.

  13. Kid Blast 01:28pm, 11/09/2017

    Beast, I did pose it as a question.

  14. Steven Stahler 01:28pm, 11/09/2017

    Hahaha! Yeah…A side as in A-sshole. All mouth this guy. I won’t even disparage his level of competition. It speaks for itself.

  15. Kid Blast 01:26pm, 11/09/2017

    Sir Jack called the shot on rapist Spacey 10 years ago. I remember it like yesterday, I believe he had heard a rumor….

  16. Kid Blast 01:24pm, 11/09/2017

    WTF, This is like old times and it could not come at a better time since I’m leaving for Las Vegas to attend to my beloved sister who was struck by a truck on Friday and is in grave condition. Don’t want sympathy; it’s just something a brother has to do.

    Prov, I think I’d like to catch Paul Ryan in a phone booth before the pervert looking turtle—Mitch. I’d show that Ayn Rand-type ass hole some new things. Speaking of Rand, it was nice to see that Rand Paul’s neighbor beat the living shit out of him. Now Cowboy Roy Moore has been charged with going after some too young stuff and doing that in Alabama means it’s very young. These freaks keep on tapping their toes in airport toilets. One after another.

  17. Sir Jack Daniels 01:06pm, 11/09/2017

    A.J. beats D.W. because I say so.
    Fight happens in Cardiff because it’s a taxi ride from my house.

    Great to see the old Don is still swinging. Hey pal. Hope all is well.

    Respect to the Bull.

  18. John aka L.L. Cool John 12:33pm, 11/09/2017

    “Team Wilder does not want an interim fight; they want to fight Joshua next in what could be the biggest heavyweight fight in recent memory.”

    Good idea, Team Wilder!

    Tommy Morrison took an interim fight (Michael Bentt) prior to his scheduled fight against Lennox Lewis. He had a guaranteed $8 million purse against Lewis. Morrison was KO’d in round one.

    FYI: Check out ESPN’s 30 for 30 special on the late Morrison. A great rags to riches to rags again story.

    Nice piece, Ted. It made for one great and entertaining read.

  19. don from prov 11:20am, 11/09/2017

    P.P.S. Congrats for the lifting contest, and for this article, which is good stuff.

  20. don from prov 11:18am, 11/09/2017

    I know that a psychologist did a paper on why the face of Ted Cruz was so easy to hate, but surely you will admit that McConnell’s is more punchable—


    Can you help but imagine every time you see that jowly, jelly,  baby diddler face of thinking of your old Chicago days and that little half turn away move as if to disengage before coming back full force with an unexpected hook?
    It would be one of the few things left in life that would = pure joy.

    P.S.  Add another to your list: “The adults in the room.” 
    That one calls for an immediate channel change at the least.



  21. The Beast of Bodmin 10:06am, 11/09/2017

    @kid blast
    I will have to respectfully disagree with your assumption that Wilder would be a “monster” PPV draw in the US. Unless someone has a link to previous PPV figures involving him, I will carry on believing that he is only a big a draw as his opponent. Which would explain his lack of profile to date. His most famous bout so far was beating up that lightweight schizophrenic on You Tube. A really classy move by the way. He even looked sloppy then.
    I have sympathy over his 2 cancelled fights with the dopers which would have given him a name on his record, assuming he won, but the fact of the matter is at the moment he is most definitely the “B” side from a purely business perspective.

  22. Kid Blast 08:53am, 11/09/2017

    Manny, I thought you had retired

    Who has the bigger name in the US?. I’m asking because I really don’t know

  23. Kid Blast 08:52am, 11/09/2017

    FD,  Et Tu Brute   lol

  24. Kid Blast 08:51am, 11/09/2017

    Prov, I have not yet retired though I have given it some thought. I recently won a Powerlifting contest at age 80, so I figure I can still write a few more articles.

    That said, let me say here and now that I can no longer stand people who start a sentence with “Soooooo.” Nor can I stand the “let me be clear” horseshit. But perhaps worst of all is the need to say “here are 5 reasons that you need to know about thus and so”  or here are “10 things to take from Sarah Sanders Huckabee.” Shit like this ramps up my rage which I then channel into writing an article.  Mitch McConnell helps as well.

  25. Kid Blast 08:44am, 11/09/2017

    The Beast of Bodmin . The A Side determines who has the leveraged during negotiations,

    It also determines location.

    AJ draws more live fans, but Wilder would be a monster PPV draw in the States.

  26. Don from Prov 08:12am, 11/09/2017

    My question is—who is this writer and where did he come from?  The only Sares that I know is retired.  This must be a grandson or something, but he is surely a better writer than the old man was.  I liked this article.  What I don’t much care for are the two Titans of boxing due to meet.  Obviously, the grandson has inherited the original Sare’s belief that bigger HWs = better

    Heavyweights, which just isn’t true.  But I will give this new kid a chance—
    Read more articles if he writes them.  Then again, this guy could be OY!!

  27. FrankinDallas 07:00am, 11/09/2017

    I don’t see where WIlder has a better chin. He’s been knocked down at all levels from amateur (you can see some good Wilder chicken dances on YouTube) to the pro ranks (the famous Dustin Nichols match) while Joshua took a massive punch from one of the hardest hitting HW’s of all time…AND GOT UP.

    Joshua has the upper hand here; there is no one else that Wilder can fight where he (Wilder) earns as much money and wins more respect.

    DiBella is talking out of his ass, as usual. Maybe this fight needs to “marinate” until next summer. Joshua fights Parker, Wilder fights another stiff (excuse me, I meant boxer) then we get them both at Wembley in June with 80,000 drunken Brits in attendance.

  28. Manny Pacquiao 05:25am, 11/09/2017

    AJ is the bigger name so AJ is the “A Side”
    As far as the fight goes it’s a 50/50 call IMO.
    Both have thunderous blows and KO power.

  29. The Beast of Bodmin 02:23am, 11/09/2017

    I don’t the “A” side has anything to do with who will win or who is the better boxer, it is about who has the highest revenue generating ability, and that is clearly AJ.
    Wilder can talk all he wants about America being the “Mecca” of boxing and where the money is, but that isn’t the case for him. Has he even fought in Vegas yet? What sort of PPV numbers does he get in the US?
    Fact is that outside of boxing fans no-one in the UK knows who he is and judging by his grumbling about lack of respect and recognition I suspect the same is true in his home country too.
    I can understand Hearn wanting him to fight Whyte over here first to build his profile and help the PPV buys when he fights AJ. He’s also probably hoping Whyte gets lucky and wins and removes the threat to AJ altogether.
    We all know boxing is a business before a sport these days. Apparently Wilder has turned down £3mil to fight Whyte yet is happy to earn a fraction of that defending against Stiverne. So why not fight the “peasant” if you will paid like a king anyway and set up an even bigger payday. It would also remove any excuses for AJ not to fight him.

  30. tlig 10:57pm, 11/08/2017

    I think the manner in which the narrative has shifted re a match between these two is funny. It also shows how fickle boxing fans really are; until last weekend Wilder was regarded as the protected fighter of the two. AJ had achieved more in half the time that Wilder has been boxing and was put in deep with Wlad whereas Deontay had no recognizable names on his record.

    That’s how the story went. Now, based on him stopping a guy he already beat and who didn’t seem particularly interested in fighting, he all of a sudden is too dangerous for Joshua.

    I personally don’t buy it. Hopefully, we get to see the fight next year because I am sick of the sniping from both sides. Unlike most, I am not that keen on the bout as neither has proven that much just yet. I heard Wilder say this could be the biggest fight in boxing history. Lol, what a joke.

  31. Kid Blast 06:49pm, 11/08/2017

    Christ, I just did about 50 exchanges on a Facebook thread on this article with AJ fans, I feel like I have gone two rounds with him. Brutal.

  32. Kid Blast 06:05pm, 11/08/2017

    Thanks Bruno

  33. Bruno Schleinstein 03:39pm, 11/08/2017

    My take is that this is a great write up! The thing is this…..on top of everything else Wilder has the better chin! Hearn understands, even if Joshua doesn’t that Wilder could win in such a fashion i.e. devastating KO early making any rematch much less attractive even to Brit boxing nuts…..so…. this fight has to be built up sky high because it could very well be a cashing out fight for Joshua!

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