By Michael Woods
Dang it, I said to myself after seeing that Deontay Wilder fight Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
My jury is still out on the kid. After all, this was the third fight in a row now in which he made sub A grade guy look a bit better than arguably they had any right to.
Air smashing egregious misses on Artur Szpilka from an over-hyped Bronze Bomber, time and again, and an absence of that stabbing jab Mark Breland gets him to usually use to good effect–yeah, Wilder wasn't “on” this weekend.
Big ole pregnant but…
Wilder (36-0 with 35 KOs; seen in action on 1-16 in David Spagnolo pic) won; in violent fashion.
Oh yes, the 30 year old whacker closed the show, with wicked precision, with a brainpain-rattling right in times, timed to perfection, and mass dejection on the part of Poland's boxing fans.
Me the jury after seeing that ending, after watching the ringside docs get “that” look on their face, as they indicated the need for EMTs to attend to Szpilka, out of this world, unconscious on the canvas, I had to lean on the direction of deeming Wilder a threat. A threat to Tyson Fury, a threat to Alex Povetkin, a threat to Luis Ortiz…a threat to continue doing what he's done since turning pro in 2008–win.
He might look uncoordinated and gangly and lack composure at times. But win he does, and I won't accept any dissent that called that EMT-inducing right a “lucky punch.”
He found a sweet home for that Alabama slamma because he knew the opening was there, he knew how much space and time he had to throw it, because he'd assessed Szpilka for eight plus rounds.
Luck be damned, that shot was thrown with focused professionalism.
I'm not quite sure what win makes me the jury end my deliberation, become purely sold on Wilder as an A grade heavyweight, what I saw Wladimir Klitschko was up until Father Time tapped him on the shoulder, looked at the surprise on his face and answered, “What, you thought I forgot about you?”
A win over a better than fair, for this era, heavyweight in Alex Povetkin, with more consistent winning rounds such as he fought when he won the WBC crown from Bermane Stiverne last year, that would get me the jury I think to have the foreman inform the judge deliberations are complete.
And hearing Wilder talking to Randy Gordon and Gerry Cooney on their Monday night Sirius radio show, I think maybe we see that showdown sooner rather than later. The Russian Povetkin saw the Wilder show-stopper ringside Saturday. To the Sirius boys, Wilder said, “Povetkin is definitely next. I want that to happen sometime in April. Let's do it again at the Barclays Center.”
Now, I don't know about April, but Lou Dibella, the guy who promoted the second biggest crowd to hit a Barclays boxing event, 12,668 butts in seats, sounded like this pairing is doable.
I asked Dibella if he'd had useful chats with Andriy Ryabinsky, promoter to Povetkin. “Andre Ryabinsky is an accomplished businessman,” Dibella said. “We discussed economic realities and various alternatives. I'm confident that we can get a deal done.”
Off the top of my head, some thoughts. Whereas with oil at a higher price a year or two ago, maybe that fight travels to Russia with an XL pot of gold up for grabs. But this Russian economy doesn't give Povetkin leverage love, I don't think.
WBC boss Mauricio Sulaiman weighed in to NYFIGHTS on that pairing, the American pummeler against a sturdy Russian with a solid grasp of fundamentals. “That is THE fight with momentum, a real attractive fight,” he said.
Wilder is advised by Al Haymon and often rights under the PBC banner. PBC executive Sam Watson said they are running a show tonight, Tuesday, and also Saturday (Garcia vs Guerrero.) He could know more about Wilders' next next week, after these events play out, he told me.
My take: I will take it. This level of talent and curiosity in and about the heavyweight division.
This ain't a Golden Era, but there is five times as much interest in the heavyweight division, domestically, presently as there was during the age of Klitschko. Readers, tell me, what do you think of Wilder right now, and do you see Wilder-Povetkin occurring soon…and if yes, how does that unfold?