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Deontay Wilder Taking Giant Steps

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  • Deontay Wilder Taking Giant Steps

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    By David A. Avila

    Heavyweights are like dinosaurs, so-called “thunder lizards” capable of ending life by accidentally stepping on their smaller brethren.

    They’re a different breed of prizefighter unique in their monstrous size and power.

    Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) seeks to be the king of the monster heavyweights when he meets lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury (27-0, 19 KOs) on Dec. 1, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. It will be televised by Showtime pay-per-view.

    Fury stands 6’9” and Wilder 6’7”.

    “You’ll get two giants who are athletic and move around the ring like no one else in this sport,” said Wilder while at the media day in Santa Monica on Monday.

    It was Muhammad Ali who used the term dinosaurs to describe heavyweights and those that engage in fighting in the unlimited division. It’s the only division that has no weight limit.

    The late Ali used to advise media not to compare heavyweights to other boxers regardless of their talent.

    Once during the early 1960s, when he was having a verbal spat with his wife at a party that included the great Sugar Ray Robinson, Ali shut himself in a room arguing with his spouse. One guest suggested that the great middleweight champion step in and stop the disagreement.

    Ali kindly advised Robinson to go back to his seat.

    “I’m a heavyweight Ray, you’re a middleweight,” reminded Ali.

    Robinson wisely returned to his seat.

    Heavyweights are the most dangerous and intriguing division in prizefighting. Even in the beginning of the sport when John L. Sullivan claimed the title as heavyweight champion of the world he boasted “I can lick any sonofa***** in the house” and no doubt could.

    Wilder carries that kind of bravado wherever he goes.

    Very few prizefighters and even fewer heavyweights have more than 30 pro fights. Wilder has 40 and only one former foe can claim he heard the final bell.

    That’s proof of serious firepower.

    Even as an amateur Wilder wielded that firepower enough to interest those that follow the sport. When he trained in Las Vegas people would whisper they caught a glimpse of the next great heavyweight. He was knocking out foes while sparring and that was enough to turn heads toward his direction.

    But when he entered the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and brought back only the bronze medal, many simply shrugged and figured that Wilder was not the second coming of Joe Louis or Joe Frazier.

    It took another seven years for Wilder to scrape his way to the top in the heavyweight division controlled by the Klitschko brothers Wladimir and Vitali. For nine years no American held a heavyweight title and that was as strange as seeing a dinosaur walking down Broadway in New York.

    When Wilder defeated Bermane Stiverne to win the WBC world title in 2015, it was strangely unheralded and it has been that way ever since for the Alabama native son.

    Now, 33, he faces Fury who holds the “lineal title,” a term used to describe the true champion, the actual boxing ring descendant of the great John L. Sullivan who first strapped on a belt to signify he was the world champion.

    Wilder knows the significance of this fight.

    “As a true champion, I know how to adjust to any fighter that’s in front of me. My experience facing fighters of all styles has prepared me for this special fight,” said Wilder who last fought in Los Angeles in 2012 at the now gone Los Angeles Sports Arena.

    Never before have two larger heavyweights with equal mobility competed for the heavyweight world title.

    “I’m the type of fighter who gives people opportunities and he was the fighter I needed to face to prove to the world what I’m all about,” Wilder said.

    It’s a big fight between two extremely large human beings.

    Photo credit: Esther Lin / SHOWTIME

  • #2
    Wilder showed that he had heart against Ortiz and showed that he could BOX over the distance during his first fight with Stiverne. That said, however, his greatest weapon is a lack of fundamentals and his awkwardness. Opponents have an issue with that and as they try to figure it out, he can KO them into the death sleep of a thousand Arabs with one of his windmill shots. Ugly? Yes. Effective? 40-0. If you are looking for the perfect means to an end, don’t look for it in Wilder, but if you are looking for excitement that can pop up at any time and justify the concussive end, Wilder might be your man.

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    • #3
      Poor Wilder is going to be embarrassed. Hope he makes it exciting once and a while.

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      • #4
        This giant –he stands 6’9”– has a lot going for him; his arms seem to go on forever and his reflexes and ring vision are extraordinary for a man his size. He fights relaxed, is not impatient and seems to fully enjoy what he does. Fury also has superb range as he works behind his jab and keeps his opponents frustrated when they try to close the gap. But once he has someone hurt, he quickly closes the gap himself and prepares for the close. Here is Fury finishing Steve Cunningham in a malicious manner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6g2jevCxdQ

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