There was a time when all things heavy carried the most weight in the sport of Boxing. Lost in the vast doldrums of antiquity, its been all but shoved in a bat cave; doused with the ashes of luminaries Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis.
But there has been an awakening.
We slumbered through the reign of the great Wladimir Klitschko, as the new millennium's international superstar failed to shine bright like a diamond over U.S. waters. He'll face who many regard here in America as a modern day Superman of the heavyweight division, in the form of U.K. hero Anthony Joshua; to (for all intents and purposes) usher in a new era of sumo-sized combat on April 29 at Wembley Stadium. Klitschko – and his reign of dominance – will be utterly destroyed.
But a caveat exists for those quick to coronate Joshua as generational King. If Superman represents Hope– then Batman is a Warning.
Deontay Wilder (37-0, 36 KO), who defends his WBC crown for the fifth time Saturday night in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions event on FOX at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT, has the potential to be the division's next true ambassador. For further affirmation, none other than legendary Star Ledger scribe Jerry Izenberg believes Wilder can ascend to iconic status.
“Our guy from Alabama here, he could be a tremendous fighter,” Izenberg opined. “I can't compare Deontay with anyone (from the golden age) right now, because he's not a finished product. For his sake and for boxing's sake, I hope that he continues to evolve and mature. Then you can judge him. His strengths are size and power, and they both go together in his case. He has a tremendous right hand.”
When I had the honor of speaking to Izenberg in Las Vegas (at UNLV for Pacquiao V Vargas) about Wilder, he spoke in fragmented, illustrative terms about a very dangerous fighter. Calling Wilder ‘an imposer' who knows how to be ‘an enforcer with authority'. His opponent on Saturday comes against unbeaten challenger Gerald Washington (18-0-1, 12 KO). In studying tape of Washington, the Lineal champ will be tasked with a smashable matrix he should crack in about 6 violent rounds.
The collision course between Wilder and Joshua is inevitable; and if one of them decides to deal with former Cuban tyrant of the ring, Luiz Ortiz (back in October 2016, Ortiz said of elite heavyweights: “They're all p*ssies”), that collision course will become irrevocable.