Sunday, January 17, 2016

Wide Open Heavyweight Division: Deontay Wilder KOs Artur Szpilko in Nine Rounds

Watching the Deontay Wilder v. Artur Szpilko fight last night, I was struck by how many people are still doubters about Deontay Wilder. The reasons for doubting him are rational enough but you can't argue logic.Logic little to do with boxing.

Wilder started late in the boxing game, no doubt about that, but he's a gifted athlete, not just another lumbering heavyweight.

 Other people have questioned Deontay Wilder's"chin" but without acknowledging that he took big punches from guys like Bermane Stiverne before destroying him.

Does anyone question Stivernes "chin" as the result?  The whole business about "chin" is overcooked hype designed to psyche opponents. There's a bit of truth in it, but the fact is that any single one of the best heavyweights can be dumped onto the canvas if they get hit flush by even a good journeyman Heavyweight. That's why they teach you defense.

As for defense, Pzilka was positively brilliant throughout the fight, doing exactly the right thing in taking away Deontay Wilder's power. Aside from the constant head and upper-body movement, he continuously changed angles, giving a different look every second.  He used the small tight spaces to great advantage, and as someone said, Ronnie Shields had imparted the right wisdom to his fighter.  But if you watched any of Wilder's previous fights, you knew that the bullet would eventually come with its speed and flat trajectory.

Deontay Wilder may have started late in the boxing game but he's a very athletic puncher.  The ninth round shot that made Artur Szpilko look like he'd been hit by a sniper's round was going to happen sooner or later. It was lightning fast, had great leverage on it, and landed while Pzilka punched the air.

Pzilka was great, and he's mentally tough enough and smart enough to know that these things happen in boxing. He's disappointed, sure, but his fans have nothing to be unhappy about.  Pzilka's stock will rise as people recognize that Wilder is on his way to be a dominant champion.

 My previous writing about Wilder is that he would jump for joy when Tyson Fury beat a lackadaisical Vladimir K. That was the worst fight I'd seen in a long time. Vlad was so lazy I was glad he lost to an unimpressive Tyson Fury who flailed away with windmill punches that looked he was beating the dust out of a rug.

 I'm glad Fury made a million or whatever, but the delirium in the division is that Fury is holding a major belt. Fury won't be holding the belt for long, though he might get the comedy award. He showed up at the Wilder - Pzsilka fight to taunt Wilder at the end but apparently needs to brush up on his trash talk. No Britisher has so far been able to dethrone American fighters in trash talk, and maybe Tyson Fury could get James Toney to give him lessons. As it was, it looked like he was retreating and cowering on the sidelines before a charged up Deontay Wilder.

The delirium (my own especially)  of a wide open heavyweight division subsided a bit when I realized Klitscho had a rematch clause in there.  If Vlad decides to work out, and if Vlad still has the desire to win, Fury will return the belt to him straightaway.  If THAT Klitschko shows up, it is a danger for everyone facing him.

So here's my bottom line. Klitschko v. Wilder is the matchup I"m looking for but it's by no means guaranteed. Wilder has a mandatory with Povetkin and there are many people who think Povetkin will be even harder than illusive bad boy Pzsilka.  Povetkin went twelve with Klitschko but lost a decision. Sticking around that long marks him as no tomato can.

So I'm going out on a limb to say Wilder will beat Povetkin to face Klitschko (who will take back his title) at the end of 2016. Out on a limb, I say, because there's a new shadow hanging over the division.

No one will believe me when I mention Luis Ortiz 24-0 with 21 (TWENTY ONE) KOs.  I watched him defeat good Philly boxer Bryant Jennings with a stunning knockout.  Ortiz is yet another Ortiz so you might not have noticed but the guy I'm talking about is a very big man, a very motivated Cuban defector to the U.S., and can throw fast stunning combinations (Southpaw) with the punching power of an Ernie Shavers.

 The Heavyweight division has been the Rip Van Winkle of boxing for too many years but finally it's come back to life. Now if only the promoters and the money men don't interfere with progress.

But hey, that's my hit on it. I'd be interested in other opinions. Tell me where I'm wrong.

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