By Jeremy O’Connell
Is Deontay Wilder The Future Of The Heavyweight Division?
With his 90 second knockout of fringe contender Malik Scott this past Saturday, Deontay Wilder established himself in the eyes of many observers as a top ten heavyweight contender (although I do not quite think he ranks there yet), and installed himself as the mandatory challenger to the winner of the upcoming vacant title fight between Bermane Stiverne and Chris Arreola in May. Wilder had faced a dreadful level of opposition before this point, his best opponent arguably being a shot, chinless, 40 year old version of Audley Harrison.
On paper, Scott was expected to be a decent examination of Wilder’s unproven credentials, but in the ring he collapsed to the first cuffing left hook and partially-blocked right hand. The ease with which Wilder disposed of Scott is notable because Scott pushed Dereck Chisora hard before succumbing to a controversial stoppage, and also held Vyacheslav Glazkov to a draw, a fight which most observers believed he had done enough to win. (Speaking of Glazkov, he also made a big impact this past weekend, by widely decisioning longtime contender Tomasz Adamek.) There are still many question marks about Wilder, his chin and stamina at the forefront. His sloppy technique and defence are also probable future liabilities. However, it is becoming increasingly apparent that perhaps nobody in the world can withstand his downright scary power. To my eyes, he carries what is probably the pound for pound heaviest punch in the sport.
Regardless of any doubts that linger, Wilder now has a world title shot in his near future, and, at this point, I’d have to deem a fight between him and Bermane Stiverne, the clear favourite to emerge from his rematch with Arreola the victor, a classic “pick ‘em” affair. If he can win that fight and collect the one world title to elude Wladimir Klitschko, then expect huge momentum to be built up in the boxing community behind Deontay Wilder as the heir apparent, and potentially the man to return the Heavyweight crown to the United States.
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