The Wait is Over: Next… Deontay Wilder

By Christian Giudice on January 17, 2015
The Wait is Over: Next… Deontay Wilder
At 6-foot-7 and a sculpted 225 pounds, Deontay Wilder doesn't shy away from violence.

Young and inexperienced, Wilder isn’t the next Tyson, Holyfield, or Lewis, but he brings an element of intrigue that we haven’t seen in years…

Wondering who’s next in the boxing world? Tired of the typical clinch and grab heavyweight who plods through every round as if he’s determined to exit the ring as soon as possible? Fortunately, relief is coming sooner than you think. It is rare that a sports figure comes along who has such an upside that fans clamor to see that athlete perform. Whether it’s a high school basketball prospect or the next great young quarterback, you want to be a part of the spectacle, observing every nuance of that athlete’s growth. Often you wonder, can he deal with the pressure? What will he do to adapt when an opposing defense has figured him out? Yet, there’s something uniquely different about a boxer, and the maturation process of that fighter that stretches far beyond the individual pursuit. One’s performance in the ring is only a small part of the process. Everything inside and outside the ring often have to synthesize perfectly in order for a fighter to reach the expectations set by the people in his inner circle. When the stage is a boxing ring, and that fighter is a capable 6-foot-7 dynamo who can punch and box, the results can be as rewarding as the learning curve is steep. When heavyweight challenger Deontay Wilder steps into the ring tonight to face Bermane Stiverne for the WBC heavyweight title, a collective sigh of relief could echo throughout the arena. Why?

Well. For one thing, the wait is over.

Finally, an American heavyweight who is so captivating that we no longer have to focus on all of the skills a heavyweight doesn’t possess. Over more than a decade, boxing has not suffered from a lack of talent. In nearly every division, one can pinpoint great fighters, some more marketable than others. The problem lies in the question — could you name them? Pure boxing fans could, but the target audience of casual fans probably might only recognize a handful of names. Even now, how many boxers do you see marketed in ads selling sports products? Currently, there are prospects and newly crowned champions who are bona fide stars, so in a way we’ve been very fortunate. Conversely, the casual fan who still promises to never turn on a boxing match again because of the dearth of good heavyweights, also makes a compelling argument.

Surely, we’ve all heard the popular refrain, “I stopped watching after Tyson. I had enough,” which makes sense. In his prime (mid-1980s), Tyson had a unique blend of speed and power that has not been duplicated since. Every time he walked into the ring, something was bound to happen, and it didn’t matter if it happened in 91 seconds or nine rounds, fans always felt that just Tyson’s presence was worth the price of admission. Speed draws boxing fans, and since Tyson possessed the speed of a middleweight, his lethal combinations led to quick knockouts. It was even okay when you missed the punch while grabbing a beer. Even when Tyson didn’t shine or win by a brutal knockout, it was still Tyson and you still showed up at your friend’s house for the next fight. It was an event, but when his skills quickly dissipated, and the reign abruptly ended, boxing suffered mightily.

Since then great heavyweight champions — Lennox Lewis, Riddick Bowe, Evander Holyfield — have graced the scene, but the casual boxing fan didn’t alter his or her Saturday night plans to watch them as they did with Tyson. Holyfield provided constant action and an unmatched courage in the ring, while Lewis and Bowe were also Hall of Fame type heavies. As great as they were, Tyson was a phenomenon, blisteringly fast and merciless. Ironically enough, Tyson was the one fighter who was able to reinvent himself after his career ended.

Young and inexperienced, Wilder isn’t the next Tyson, Holyfield, or Lewis, but he brings an element of intrigue that we haven’t seen in years. Having to suffer through a dearth of heavyweights who couldn’t punch, wouldn’t punch, wouldn’t train, or refused to engage, Wilder is cut from a seek-and-destroy cloth that forces you to watch. Even when his flaws are exposed, the notion that one huge right hand could change the tenor of the fight is enough to keep fans interested. For boxing, that’s a step in the right direction. But it doesn’t end there. At 6-foot-7 and a sculpted 225 pounds, Wilder doesn’t paw with his jab, shy away from violence, and he clearly isn’t economical with his punches. Everything you want out of an exciting fighter, Wilder possesses in abundance. More importantly, Wilder isn’t a one-dimensional, one-hit wonder who only relies on power. He moves well, has quick hands, and effectively sets up his power punches. Even in some of his victories, it’s easy to see that despite his size, he’s not your typical straightforward fighter. He doesn’t plod or chase fighters; instead, he cuts off the ring and traps smaller fighters. Wilder’s relentless combinations and attack will be his staples when he faces more accomplished fighters. 

Occasionally, Wilder will use a jab to set up a right hand that is quick and accurate. It’s that right hand followed by a left hook that will hurt Stiverne early and often. This will not be an easy fight for Wilder, but a necessary one where he tests himself against legitimate opposition. Wilder’s too fast and powerful to allow Stiverne to last past the middle rounds. Finally a heavyweight with substance and layers, but more importantly with a fire and intensity to match his skill set. Tonight, the boxing world finally unveils a fighter who will begin to slowly bring back all of those fans who tuned out for so long.

Christian Giudice
Author: The Rise and Fall of Alexis Argüello
Author: Hands of Stone: The Life and Legend of Roberto Duran

Twitter Account:!/chrisgiudice
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  1. Clarence George 04:36pm, 01/17/2015

    I appreciate the suggestion, Irish, which I will certainly keep in mind.

    I, too, usually root for the underdog.  Especially true if he’s short and fat, with the other guy a pretty boy and/or a stick insect.  But I have no pony in tonight’s bout.  I expect Stiverne to win, but that’s as far as I’m willing to go.

  2. Koolz 04:34pm, 01/17/2015

    I actually think Wilder would last two rounds with Wlad which is pretty amazing! 
    Alright Stiverne he comes out explosive, throws his weight on Wilder at the same time hitting him the face.
      he ducks and weaves and faints and Wilder can’t land his long long crazy right!
    He gets up close to Wilder and throws his weight on him and crushes his puny legs on the ropes.
    He starts to really mess up Wilder’s Game plan!  No Right where is my right how can I win the fight with out my right. 
    Come ON Stiverne time to not just take Wilder to deep waters time to drag him and drown him!

  3. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 04:24pm, 01/17/2015

    Clarence George-I just came up with a crackerjack title for your work in progress boxing short story….“The Opponent”....or how about “TBA”....what do you think? I have to tell you I love the concept because I always but always root for the underdog, especially when it involves fighters I don’t like.

  4. Koolz 04:21pm, 01/17/2015

    arrrg Wilder, the wilder they get?
    All you have to do is let him start to throw his Long Crazy Right and use a Right Counter over that jab.  Feint away and hit him the face with a left.

    If you watch his fights some of his fighters look like they were paid to just stand there look scared and wait for a long right to knock them out!

    American Politics of Boxing Wilder the Wilder next big thing!

  5. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 04:17pm, 01/17/2015

    Not to worry…..when they have dud sales at the fights in Vegas they will literally come out into the Casino and comp seats to anything that moves even old Grannies in wheel chairs playing the penny slots….at least I’ve seen them do that at the Hard Rock when they had empty seats to fill within camera range. If I were there I’d be on high alert near the entrance….yes I would, sipping on my frosty, frothy Dos Equis Amber….stay thirsty my friends!

  6. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 04:04pm, 01/17/2015

    The more I research Wilder, the more I like his chances tonight….he’s got KO wins over Jerry Vale aka Genaro Lewis Vitaliano who passed away this past year who himself had a stunning KO victory over Johnny Mathis in Vegas, Kelsey Grammer aka Dr. Frasier Crane,no softy to be sure, and that rascally racist Ty Cobb aka “The Georgia Peach” for God’s sake!....that was a win for the ages sure enough….all inside four dadgummed rounds t’boot! Truth be told, I hope he wins tonight because I want to see him in there with Tyson Fury and Wlad….the more I think about it I want to see Wlad in there with Shannon Briggs too….yes I do!

  7. Clarence George 04:02pm, 01/17/2015

    If true, Matt, that speaks volumes.  Math is hardly my strong suit, but…the MGM Grand has a seating capacity of about 17,000, which means (I think) that only about eight percent of the tickets have sold.  That’s certainly impressive, in an inverted sort of way.

  8. Eric 04:00pm, 01/17/2015

    Twenty-two people in the United States believe that Deontay Wilder is the next big thing, 10 of those are members of “the bomb squad.”

  9. Matt McGrain 03:39pm, 01/17/2015

    Yeah Clarence, i’m also hearing this has done 1500 tickets only as of the this morning.
    That is crazy if true.

  10. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 03:30pm, 01/17/2015

    Stiverne came in at 239 for Arreola and the same here for Wilder….so I guess he’s in shape….though he doesn’t appear so… least when his physique is compared to “Mr. T’s”, as in testosterone that is.

  11. Clarence George 03:11pm, 01/17/2015

    You could hear a pin drop at the weigh-in.  Not because of anticipation or suspense or tension, but because nobody was there.  Neither Wilder nor Stiverne has a fan base, and with good reason.  And nobody sees either of these third-raters as the savior of the heavyweight division, let alone Wilder as the Great American Hope.

    I think Stiverne will win tonight, but it hardly matters.  I’m no fan of Klitschko, but I haven’t the slightest doubt that he’d destroy either of these mediocrities, and handily.

    With specific reference to Wilder:  He hits concussively, yes, but that’s it.  It’s been seven years and 32 fights, and he has yet to demonstrate an iota of skill.  All right, he hasn’t had to, but that doesn’t mean that he can.  Indeed, if his fire matches his skill set, we’re talking about a birthday candle over here.  As for his moving well…yeah, compared to a sloth the morning after a night’s debauch, he moves well.

    Whatever the wait is…over it ain’t.

  12. Matt McGrain 02:17pm, 01/17/2015

    Yeah, you guys are feeling Wilder over there in the US; extraordinary given that his second best opponent may have been Audley Harrison.  Country needs a hero!  I want Stiverne to win, but I wouldn’t be sad to see you get your man.  In many ways - he’s what’s wrong with boxing.  But, he won’t be the first guy to have turned that around by proving himself and then taking on and beating the top contenders in his division.

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