I got to that Deontay Wilder-Eric Molina fight late, but when I checked it out, it turns out it didn’t really match the response I saw on Twitter.
I saw, “Deontay is a bum,” “he’s been exposed,” “Povetking will kill him,” etc.
But I saw a Molina who fought as well as he can fight, who came to the ring well prepared, dialed-in, ultra-hungry to win, a guy with some pop and a bit of sneaky hand-speed and unorthodox movement and defense, and yes, while I didn’t think this was A grade Wilder, the guy scored a load of knockdowns and won by KO in an entertaining fight.
Oh yeah, that was another thing I saw on Twitter, people beefing that it was a crap fight. I liked it…
Overall, I think in this age especially, with all the platforms to yell from, it’s so much more common and easy to tear down, bust on what someone didn’t do, rather than give credit for what the other guy did well. Schadenfreude, envy, haterade-gulping, it’s ultra prevalent..Eric Molina did himself proud on that Saturday night in Bama…
Now, did Team Wilder..How did they view the showing?
Co-trainers Jay Deas and Mark Breland gave their kid solid marks. First, Deas; he told me he liked a lot of what The Bronze Bomber did, but yes, there are some things to correct and attend to in the gym for the next fight. And that next fight, when and where, while we are at it?
Deas told me that Sept. 26 looks like a good date and no, it likely wouldn’t be in Bama. Not because the Bama experience went badly–to the contrary, the joint had almost 10,000 packed in, was sold out three days before fight night—but because football fever infects the region. (February to August are better target time zones for a Bama fight, he said.)
As for who, Deas said anyone in the top 15 in the WBC ratings is probably a decent bet. A fight with Alexander Povetkin, ranked No. 1 by the WBC, looms, but they are being asked to start negotiations by October. Those sessions could take awhile Deas noted, so an interim fight is a surety, as Wilder wants to be a busy boxer.
Check out the WBC rankings, you see Anthony Joshua at No. 2, surprisingly to me. Deas wondered about him possibly being rushed but he thinks he’s quite talented. Vyacheslav Glazkov is No. 3, and Deas says he’s a solid sort. “Lucas Browne has been making noise down under, too,” he said, of the No. 6 ranked heavy.
Andy Ruiz, at No.8, might need up to a year to get a bigger name for himself, while No. 9 Artur Szpilka, a lefty, is ready now to test Wilder. And Chris Arreola. At No. 12, he has a name and has been active of late. So…too early to talk specific names having a better chance than another at a title crack, but there are some ideas for you.
Mark Breland, the soft-spoken sweet-hearted Brooklyner, told me that Wilder helped make Molina look good, to an extent. He said Molina deserves ample credit for being tough and willing, but a bit more focus on dictating pace and tone with the jab would have made Wilders’ night easier. Also, getting tagged with an uppercut…Grrrr…Breland no likee.
“I understand Deontay was at home, and looking for the KO, but when you look for it, it doesn’t come,” Breland told me. Molina was very respectful of the Wilder right, so smartly steered clear of it for long spells, he noted. Against Bermane Stiverne, Wilder got an A plus, and he was given a B by Breland for the Molina fight. As for next, Breland said he knows Wilder beats Povetkin, and scoffed at the Twitterati who have deemed Povetkin the favorite against an “exposed” Wilder. Povetkin does look noticeably stronger, with more stamina, of late, however, he said.
“I know he’ll beat him with the jab, keep him on the outside…trust me, Deontay will look better next time,” Breland said.
Deas didn’t wan to give a grade, but said he thought Molina did well, like he knew he would. Everyone is at their best against a champ, he said, knowing they can change their lives in one fell swoop. He thought Deontay jabbed enough, about 25 a round, and said there was more jabbing against Stiverne because Stiverne came right at Wilder. “It’s a good thing when people get negative about a four knockdown performance,” Deas said. “Deontay showed he carries power late into fight. And coming off a stress fracture in the right hand, getting in the ring less than five months later shows he’s committed to being busy.”
Yes, he’s aiming for a September return and ideally, learns who Wilder will fight a tick earlier than this time.
As for Povetkin, Wilder would travel to Russia, if the price were right, Deas said.
Finally, Team Wilder got criticism from some know it alls for booking a fight in Bama, because there were distractions. Yeah, that’s part of the deal, Deas noted. But having so many buzzing people in a local arena was special and next time, he said, they will plan better, so Deontay isn’t being deluged with 400 phone calls a day. Bama can be a sweet home, like Floyd at MGm Grand, in the coming years, he said.
“We killed it, Al Haymon was extremely happy and we were too, it was a nice feeling,” he said.
Readers, who you seeing as being best for Wilders’ next? And how does a Wilder-Povetkin fight go?