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heavyweight Deontay Wilder is 30-0 with all 30 wins by
KO! That is what every fight fan enjoys, right?
Knockouts! He says he is ready now for anybody in 2014 - but is he?
is just one of the many contenders currently active in the
heavyweight division. Undefeated with 30 wins and all 30 by KO; the resume, aesthetically, looks spectacular. Does the body of work
suggest though, as Wilder says, that he is ready for anybody in 2014?
He has undoubted power, nobody questions that. But when it comes to really assessing a fighter overall it is not how many knockouts you have but rather it is who you have actually knocked out that really matters. Whose code have you deciphered?
As you step up levels in boxing, generally, everything else tends to step up a level too. Defences get tighter, chins get tougher, offence is smarter and more menacing, power is more dangerous, movement is more fluid, experience more vast.... etc. It's a different combination of attributes for different fighters and the more complete the package, the higher the level tends to be. And that is the realm that fans want to see Wilder operating in! He says he is ready for anybody in 2014 and really, he should be after 30 fights. The time to step up is clearly here. Most probably overdue even.
man that Wilder had spoken of targeting was WBC kingpin Vitali
Klitschko and the heavyweight division had some new life breathed
into it recently when Kilitschko vacated his WBC heavyweight title. Vitali has been a dominant champion for years, as has his younger brother Wladimir, and regardless of how great you may or may not think Vitali was that dominance just did not help the division from a competitive and entertainment standpoint. The division has been stale and stagnant for years because of their superiority and this development obviously produces more opportunities for other fighters now.
In the aftermath of Vitali's decision he left a large group of contenders, including Wilder, scrapping for the opportunity and the right to fight for the now vacant belt. And that is a much overlooked element of the current heavyweight landscape. Of course, a Klitschko will still (probably) dominate, nothing new there, but there are a group of contenders emerging who could provide what has been severely lacking for many, many years now – competitive heavyweight fights. Between themselves that is, not necessarily against the remaining Klitschko.
it now transpires, Wilder has not been awarded the chance to fight for the
vacant WBC belt as that honour has been apportioned to number 1 contender
Bermane Stiverne and the number 2 ranked Chris Arreola. Both men
previously fought in April of last year with Stiverne coming out on
top but the WBC obviously see the rematch as the most deserving fight
for their vacant belt. And with that belt now free from the Klitschko's control it yields a more meaningful reason for the fights to now be made between all the other varying contenders.
And if more of these matchups can now be made then it is encouraging news for everybody. Competitive matchups between a whole host of contenders including the likes of Wilder, Stiverne, Arreola, Tyson Fury, Kubrat Pulev, Mike Perez, Tomasz Adamek, Dereck Chisora, Odlanier Solis, Alexander Povetkin and more. Fighters who are emerging towards the world scene like Lucas Browne, Bryant Jennings, Manuel Charr, Amir Mansour and Andy Ruiz Jr. There are many competitive and potentially exciting fights to be made and, arguably, some of them really should have been already.
Let's not forget Englishman David Price either. Price was many peoples tip to assume the position on the heavyweight throne once the Klitschko's had eventually departed. That was until he was upset in successive fights by Tony Thompson and Price now finds himself in the unenviable position of having to take a step back for a new beginning and a rebuilding process. Although with a new promotional team (Sauerland Promotions) and trainer (Tommy Brooks) and possibly less of a glaring spotlight fighting around Europe in less scrutinised fights and locations.
Still, the fact remains that Price lost a fight after stepping up a level and fighting an experienced veteran and contender in Thompson. Wilder has never faced an opponent at the level of Thompson and that is the reason why people question his credentials. That step up is clearly the next step for Wilder to take in 2014. As impressive as 30 wins all by KO looks it is quality and not quantity that will win over any critics from this point on.
he deal with an opponent who can move with a good jab like Pulev? Can
he deal with a guy like Tyson Fury on the inside? Can he deal with
pressure from a fighter like Chisora? What about a skillful fighter
like Solis? Or a powerful puncher like Browne? Is Wilder even capable of successfully going the distance
at a consistent pace? It's a fair question. They all are. After all, Wilder has
never even been beyond the 4th round in his KO filled
career to this point. Regardless of how good any fighter is or isn't
that is far from ideal preparation for a heavyweight title fight
or even a competitive fight with a fellow contender. These questions would/are rightfully asked of any other fighter too, if need be, and 'The Bronze Bomber' should be no different.
All in all it leaves many questions to be answered and it is not unfair for people to ask them. It's not about doubting, it's about questioning and those are two completely different things. Nobody knows where anybodies true ceiling is until they fight proven quantities who everybody can fairly judge them against. That's when we all learn about any fighter; when we know the questions that will be asked and we see the answers in the ring. After all, the ring has always been the ultimate proving ground. Not the press conference or interviews or even Twitter in this day and age.
And that is what we look forward to in 2014 - action in the ring. This year could be a year when potentially, hopefully, maybe, we will see some exciting fights once again in the heavyweight division. Just maybe we will get some answers in regards to Wilder too. Is he ready to step up? Absolutely he is. Is he capable of the step up? Now, that is the question.