Deontay Wilder Is In The Mix, But Must Show Improvement at Some Point

Deontay Wilder – This past Saturday night WBC heavyweight title holder Deontay Wilder 37-0 (36) made the fourth successful defense of the title he won back in January of last year. His opponent was the ever willing but limited Chris Arreola 36-5-1 (31). Arreola received his third shot at the WBC belt when mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin tested positive for trace amounts of a banned substance. Povetkin 30-1 (22) is an aggressive grinder who has never been stopped and isn’t shopworn. He would have been a great test for Wilder and as a result of their clash we’d have a better idea of just how good Deontay is. However, we got Wilder-Arreola and the two things that stand out most after watching the bout are that Wilder really hasn’t improved that much and that Arreola is completely shot.

Let’s address Arreola who entered the ring a walking corpse. Chris doesn’t have much left physically and he’s never improved technically in all the years he’s been a pro. The last thing in the world he should have done against a tall long-armed guy like Wilder was come straight in with no head or upper-body movement at a measured pace. And that’s exactly what he did! Chris didn’t come in punching and when he did manage to get inside via his own doing or Wilder allowing him to, he was in so tight that he smothered his own attempt to get off. This was compounded when Chris did manage to get off because there’s nothing left of his punch; it’s gone. And the body punches he landed were barely hard slaps. At one time Arreola was dangerous and if he clipped you cleanly, he was capable of hurting you. Well, that’s no longer the case. Granted, he wasn’t all that successful hitting Wilder with anything really clean, but the few times he touched or grazed Deontay, Wilder didn’t change his expression, nor was he ever in trouble.

In fact Arreola was so out of the fight in spite of Wilder breaking his right hand during the bout that it looked as if Wilder was easing up and didn’t want to chance hurting Arreola seriously as the bout progressed. Luckily Arreola’s corner did the right thing and stopped the fight as soon as the eighth round ended. Chris had been down and saved by the bell in the fourth round and from that point on Wilder had everything going his way. I hope Arreola thinks long and hard before he goes back into the ring. He had a nice career, scored some memorable wins and earned three title shots. It’s time for him to do something else; it was a nice run but it’s over. Right now I’d pick both Charles Martin and Dominic Breazeale to beat Chris Arreola.

As for the 6’7” Wilder, who is entering his prime, I didn’t see all that much improvement. Deontay still rushes a lot of his shots and is very sloppy and off-balance when he cuts loose. This translates into poor punch placement. Yes, he was methodical and measured at times against Arreola, but that had a lot to do with him not being under any duress. Wilder has legitimate knockout power in both hands, by today’s standards, but he’d be so much more dangerous if he was more accurate. And to me, that’s the big difference between Wilder and IBF title holder Anthony Joshua. One can’t help but take note that Joshua has better form and balance than Wilder and is more accurate with his punch placement. Joshua in some ways reminds me of a taller Joe Louis, whereas Wilder looks at times like a taller version of Larry Holmes who is off-balance while looking to end the fight with every punch he throws.

Deontay Wilder is a very likable guy and really looks to be giving boxing his all while trying to ignite the heavyweight division. And you have to love that about him. His confidence seems to be authentic. He also seems to grasp that most avid boxing fans love the heavyweights and watch them to see knockouts and memorable conclusions to big fights. Yes, he’s fought 37 times as a pro, but he’s still very green fighting at the world class level. However, his height, reach and power have enabled him to outrun his mistakes and recklessness.

Perhaps we as boxing observers are too tough on Deontay Wilder and expect too much of him because of his tools and physicality. At 30 years old he’s still young and has only fought 107 rounds as a professional. Sure, you’d like to see more improvement, but who is out there so great that it requires him to be George Foreman or Lennox Lewis in order for him to have a major say in today’s heavyweight division? If by chance it turns out that Wilder has a dependable chin, a few tweaks here and there would go a long way.

If you survey the upper-tier heavyweights in the mix today, the list reads Wladimir Klitschko 64-4 (53), Tyson Fury 25-0 (18), Luis Ortiz 25-0 (22), Joseph Parker 19-0 (16) and David Haye 28-2 (26) along with Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder.

Can you say U.S.A. vs. U.K.? A closer look reveals that Wilder and Joshua could be on a collision course the way Riddick Bowe and Lennox Lewis were circa 1992-93. And I say that because, win or lose versus Tyson Fury in their upcoming rematch, Wladimir Klitschko is at the end of the line and I doubt he’ll be around much longer. As for Fury, if he beats Klitschko, he doesn’t scare anybody on the list, and if he loses I get the sense he’ll go away. To date I haven’t been blown away by watching Joseph Parker and he’s an underdog to everyone mentioned. Luis Ortiz will be avoided like the Zika virus by all of them, and at age 37 he can’t have much time left. And regarding David Haye, he’s in it for the short term and looking to cash out after a monstrosity type payday. He’ll probably fight Joshua after he beats Shannon Briggs and that will pretty much be a wrap for David Haye.

Based on the landscape in the division along with who is likely to fight whom, there’s an excellent chance that Wilder and Joshua could meet in one of the more widely anticipated bouts in recent heavyweight history – that’s assuming that Wilder improves and is matched correctly from this point forward. The management part of the equation is a given, but Wilder has to show some improvement because right now he’s not ready for Joshua and I believe he would get knocked out by Ortiz.

Deontay Wilder is starting to get noticed and he’s easy to root for. But I can’t help but hold my breath when he fights. He must improve his fundamentals and basics, because the heavyweight division is there for the taking by an outstanding big man. I’m not sure it’s Wilder, but he’s in the mix and he has the raw tools.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

COMMENTS

-Kid Blast :

Deontay needs to stop clowning in the ring (he is no Ali), shorten up on his shots, develop a sneaky left hook (like Wlad did), and learn to keep the chatter down. He has a gifted jab and need to use it to set up combinations. When he has those spurts of energy, he is particularly dangerous so he needs to learn why that is---is it because of a temper/anger issue or something else. He has a great corner in Breeland and Anber.


-Radam G :

D-Wild just doesn't have the "IT FACTOR." He is as polished as he is ever going to be. And the powers that be know it because they have paid him cheaply for every paper title scrap. Dude is making chicken change for being WBC heavyweight paper champ. IBF paper champ AJ made more moolah in his one paper title defense than D-Wild has made in winning the WBC paper title and defending it against two marshmallows and a cadaver. Holla!


-deepwater2 :

What type of mix are we talking about. Two parts crap one part leftover dinner. Wilder can not even beat up Joshua who is a pro novice at this point. Joshua's fundamentals are better than 30+ fights Wilder. Wilder might get to 50-0 fighting bums, cheats, prostitutes, or guys getting paid to take a dive. Wilder can not beat a top guy. Wilder can not even beat old Shannon Briggs. Shame on al haymon for creating this Frankenstein heavyweight boxing champ.


-deepwater2 :

Deontay needs to stop clowning in the ring (he is no Ali), shorten up on his shots, develop a sneaky left hook (like Wlad did), and learn to keep the chatter down. He has a gifted jab and need to use it to set up combinations. When he has those spurts of energy, he is particularly dangerous so he needs to learn why that is---is it because of a temper/anger issue or something else. He has a great corner in Breeland and Anber.
Poor Mark Breland. A prime Breland could have knocked out DW with a right. Wilder is 40 fights in and can't even jab. He is a hype job belt holder with no boxing skill.


-oubobcat :

The problem with fights like these for Wilder is that they allow him to develop bad habits and get away with doing so. a few things I observed...Wilder still has a habit of pulling straight back with his hands down. In this fight, he did not pay. He has somewhat in the past (Molina and Firtha both clipped him) but this needs to be corrected. On this inside, Wilder often stands straight up with his chin exposed. Arreola did catch him once or twice on the inside but had nothing behind the punches. A harder puncher with some inside skill will do damage if not corrected. And that left continues to be held low. Maybe here he was baiting Arreola in believing Arreola wouldn't do any damage with his punches. But again not a good habit to get into. In the history of this sport, we have seen fighters build records and bad habits with those records fighting subpar opposition. They think that they have gotten away with doing those things thus far in their career that they can keep doing it and won't suffer consequences. But eventually if those habits continue they do pay. I know he had Povetkin on the schedule and that fight was called due to Povetkin positive PED test. And this fight was put together at the last second. But Wilder does for the good of his career need someone better in a fight he can learn from before going after the Joshua's, Klitschko's and Fury's of the world. Its the art of matchmaking in this sport and hopefully Wilder's people see the importance of putting him in with a tougher opponent before going into the deep end of the ocean.


-oubobcat :

By the way, if I am moving Wilder (after he recovers from the injuries) I am going right back to the Povetkin fight. Wilder needs Povetkin as this point of his career much more than Povetkin needs Wilder. I am on the phone today with Povetkin's people looking to get something worked out for next February/March.


-The Good Doctor :

Needs to show improvement.................ehh maybe, maybe not. Of all the Heavyweights of any note, Fury, Vlad, Joshua, Stivernne, Ortiz, even throw in Parker and Pulev, it would not surprise me if any of the aforementioned beat Wilder. On the same hand though, I would not be surprised if he beat any of them. The heavyweight division in my mind is while interesting, very convoluted with B to B- talent depending on the night and the matchup. Some people say that Wilder has a questionable chin and he may but I haven't seen anything from any of the other contenders to make me believe their chins are much better. Also, when it comes to the big boys, almost everyone has the capability to floor you with one punch simply due to their size. Now whether they employ proper technique to do so or are willing to take that chance is another story. If you take a look at all of them, each has some flaw many with multiple. You can also add to that list that most of them are either untested or looked bad in a fight that was to prove their metal.


-brownsugar :

The gods, fate, destiny .....all of these factors have been with Deontay his whole career, he ascended up the chain of command fighting a few decent butt past their prime trial horses and former talents who were jaded and tainted due to the pitfalls that come with boxing, to finally beat Stiverne in dominant fashion. He went to Russia to face Povetkin in a match that was stacked against him before he even stepped foot off the plane. The whole event was controlled by Povetkins promoter to the extent that the promoter would only allow showtime a monitor to view the event...and the opponent was cycling off the juice. He was supposed to cancel once the drug test results were revealed. But fate, destiny and the gods are cruel....as we have been taught by Homer the author who wrote the Greek epics. Wilder, after having the training event of a lifetime, preparing for Povetkin seems to have not benefited by the extra long training cycle. A guy that young shouldn't be tearing his biceps or hitting the weights as hard as he does. What should have been a routine showcase in front his home town could have ended in disaster. Allow me to explain. Every fighter knows that you have to brace the wrist and angle the wrist and forearm properly, especially when throwing hail Mary bombs. Wilder got excited facing the lesser opposition and attempted to put on and exhibition while flailing wildly during certain periods of the fight. I'm not surprised he tore his bicep and injured his hand. It should be second nature to supinate the wrist and forearm correctly before throwing hard punches. And its not the first time he suffered similar injuries throwing wildly in the heat of the moment.. But as fate would have it. His injuries will keep him side lined for 6-9 months. Thus Potentially avoiding Povetkin again. It will be interesting to see if Povetkin is willing to wait close to a year to get Wilder again? Or if he takes a fight that throws his schedule out of synch with Wilder's ? Torn muscles can potentially become chronic problems... and Wilder could potentially get an extremely lucrative fight with Joshua, Fury, or Parker. But if he has a recurring injury, neither of those guys will miss a chance to capitolize. Joshua is fundamentally skilled, his straight right barks with explosive menace and results. I doubt Wilder can survive unless he strikes first. ...and Josh keeps his hands high. Fury is awkward twitchy and experienced ....a fight with him could become a sloppy clinch fest where both fighters are too tired to land bombs in the later rounds, potentially allowing Fury a close decision if they fight in the Uk . Many possibilities. More questions than answers. Wilder proved he can fight a focused fight when he decisioned Stiverne. But has he gone haymaker crazy? I hope not, he makes for exciting action...and plenty of controversy. It will be interesting to see what fate destiny holds for the Alabama Wild man. In the meantime Ortiz has also been labled a drug cheat. Joshua and Wilder have been very vocal about this in the past...which could be the reason that negotiations will not proceed with either fighter any time soon. I hope someone of worth will agree to fight the big Cuban before he ages out of the game. Ustinov is formidable.... watch the non-defensive fighter walk through 200 punches from Pullev on YouTube. He could potentially make the confrontational Cuban fight the hardest fight of his life if Ortiz can't dent that beard.


-brownsugar :

Great comments from the Doc and OB.


-deepwater2 :

Do steroid users tear their muscles and tendons more frequently then non steroid abusers? Shannon Briggs is tearing Wilder apart. According to Briggs, Wilder fights like a drunken octopus.


-brownsugar :

Do steroid users tear their muscles and tendons more frequently then non steroid abusers? Shannon Briggs is tearing Wilder apart. According to Briggs, Wilder fights like a drunken octopus.
I don't even know how to buy steroids and have pulled my calf muscle overtraining and tore a hip and shoulder ligament for the same reason. All these injuries happened in my late 30's when I was in denial of my age. The torn calf was the worst pain ever and the leg was never the same again. Can't speak about what happens to juicers, I'm sure its on the web. Would love to see Wilder fight Brigg.... wouldn't last 4 rounds, he couldn't even go the distance with Molina, Duhaupus or Stiverne.....would lose to Areola by decision because he's so stubborn. I hope the. Ol man makes some money so he can stop harassing real ranked fighters


-amayseng :

Do steroid users tear their muscles and tendons more frequently then non steroid abusers? Shannon Briggs is tearing Wilder apart. According to Briggs, Wilder fights like a drunken octopus.
Yes, the muscles are able to provide much more torque than the ligaments or tendons can endure, hence injury and tears.


-amayseng :

The problem with fights like these for Wilder is that they allow him to develop bad habits and get away with doing so. a few things I observed...Wilder still has a habit of pulling straight back with his hands down. In this fight, he did not pay. He has somewhat in the past (Molina and Firtha both clipped him) but this needs to be corrected. On this inside, Wilder often stands straight up with his chin exposed. Arreola did catch him once or twice on the inside but had nothing behind the punches. A harder puncher with some inside skill will do damage if not corrected. And that left continues to be held low. Maybe here he was baiting Arreola in believing Arreola wouldn't do any damage with his punches. But again not a good habit to get into. In the history of this sport, we have seen fighters build records and bad habits with those records fighting subpar opposition. They think that they have gotten away with doing those things thus far in their career that they can keep doing it and won't suffer consequences. But eventually if those habits continue they do pay. I know he had Povetkin on the schedule and that fight was called due to Povetkin positive PED test. And this fight was put together at the last second. But Wilder does for the good of his career need someone better in a fight he can learn from before going after the Joshua's, Klitschko's and Fury's of the world. Its the art of matchmaking in this sport and hopefully Wilder's people see the importance of putting him in with a tougher opponent before going into the deep end of the ocean.
The problem isnt that Wilder develops bad habits, the problem is that Wilder has no fundamentals, poor technique and has bad habits to begin with. His reign will be ended by a B fighter or higher obviously. This weekends fight was an absolute joke, though Wilder does have an entertaining style if pushed into a fight with a good opponent.


-The Good Doctor :


Do steroid users tear their muscles and tendons more frequently then non steroid abusers? Shannon Briggs is tearing Wilder apart. According to Briggs, Wilder fights like a drunken octopus.
Waaaaay more. Especially in their knees and elbows. Great example of that is Barry Bonds. In addition to what the amazing one said, steroids also draw moisture out of the muscles at great rate. Muscle fibers and joints need their moisture for lubricant to help them stretch and move. No moisture, they damage much more easily. You often see the moisture leaving the system in roid users in their skin complexion. I am sure one time or another you have seen some huge dude look shiny or greasy. It's the roids pushing the moisture out. It is also the cause of their acne as well. Moisture is trying to leave clogged pores at a rate the body can't keep up with.


-Skibbz :

I got the chance to watch the Stiverne fight, okay it's not his latest but a long one and offered a lot of chances to see his offence on display.. One thing that strikes me is he has little pop with his shoulders when he hooks or uppercuts. He is very wild with his punches too. Now not saying they won't do damage but with some pop behind them I don't see Bermane going the distance. @BSuge Can't agree more, he shouldn't be finding those injuries but he does and it's not great news least because how it hinders his training. It screams he's wild with his punches. One slight knock to his chin from a HW and he sleeps.


-brownsugar :

I got the chance to watch the Stiverne fight, okay it's not his latest but a long one and offered a lot of chances to see his offence on display.. One thing that strikes me is he has little pop with his shoulders when he hooks or uppercuts. He is very wild with his punches too. Now not saying they won't do damage but with some pop behind them I don't see Bermane going the distance. @BSuge Can't agree more, he shouldn't be finding those injuries but he does and it's not great news least because how it hinders his training. It screams he's wild with his punches. One slight knock to his chin from a HW and he sleeps.
Yep its almost as devastating as Melania Trump reciting Michelle Obama's 2012 speech regarding integrity word for word and feeling the wrath of social media and mainstream news agencies less than a day later for committing blatant plagerism, ( those darn speech writers, stealing from the opposing party) ....lol Or Adrian Broners appearing in court still "smashed" from the night before after some late night drinking and carousing....compounding matters by showing up hours late, claiming he was given a date rape drug in distilled water...(those shady trainers and sparring partners, shame on them...Lol) Wilder's biggest mistake was getting himself so messed up in a hometown showcase fight just because he's so eager to please fans and show off his power. To Wilder's credit he exhibited a mean "stick" that he used to carve up Areola's face from every angle. I love to see Wilder when he smells blood, he goes after his opponent with wreckless abandon, but Wilder is too wreckless, is like he's having a "punchgasm" when he tries to take out a hurt opponent, but its also why he's so fun to watch. Larry Holmes developed the best jab in the heavyweight division because he trained his jab while his damaged right hand was still healing in a cast. Larry said he simply tied his right arm down while working the jab exclusively. Maybe Wilder can take advantage of this down time and work on his foot work. In other news BERMANE STIVERNE MAY GET THE CALL TO FIGHT POVETKIN FOR THE " INTERIM " TITLE....damned if these sanctioning bodies don't find everyway in the book to keep making a buck... even if it means rewarding a former cheat...but its a good fight, make it happen....of course this info was leaked by several inside sources so take it with a grain of salt. Enjoy the fights.


-stormcentre :

In my opinion, Widler's conduct and showboating in the ring against Chris Arreola was shameful and embarrassing (for Wilder). Due to all the reasons we have all already discussed here in this and other threads; Deontay knew that Arreola would not present as stern competition. He knew Chris was out of shape and not capable of keeping up with him for all the rounds. That's one reason why Chris was chosen as an opponent. So, then, what was Wilder's showboating all about then? Perhaps it was an exercise to simply remind us all that Wilder finds it easy to fight opponents whom are grossly overmatched, and when he does so and is successful with it he simply can't control and/or prevent himself from publicly pretending he's Muhammad Ali fighting Frazier or Foreman? Cause - aside from providing insight into Wilder's desperation to be noticed (and the myriad of fundamental flaws he has) - that's all it proved. I knew Chris Arreola was going to eat some leather before the fight. But in my eyes he accepted the greater set of risks and difficulties with this fight. Not Wilder.
Storm. :) :)