Stop me if you’ve heard this one.
A young(ish), up-and-coming heavyweight with a reputation for big power – already making inroads in the top ten rankings – obliterates a faded former contender in less than a round. He’s now seen as a devastating monster. The top dogs in the division are in deep trouble…
Yep, this was May 29, 1969, when Mac Foster took just a single round to smash former top contender Thad Spencer.
Well, it was really May 11, 1981, when Gerry Cooney destroyed a still-serviceable Ken Norton in 54 seconds.
Oh, I actually meant February 19, 1991, the day that Tommy Morrison crushed former titlist and top contender Pinklon Thomas in a single frame.
Sorry, I meant this was November 7, 1997, when Michael Grant demolished former contender Jorge Luis Gonzalez in just two minutes.
You thought I was talking about Deontay Wilder?
Deontay Wilder may still turn out to be the real deal (although never The Real Deal), but it’s premature to say he’s going to beat the current number 1 contender Anthony Joshua on the basis of stopping Bermane Stiverne. You know, the overweight, 39 year old Bermane Stiverne, who had not been in the ring for two years, and took the fight on short notice. The Bermane Stiverne who had only one top ten scalp on his own resume – Chris Arreola, who himself had never defeated a top contender.
It also should be noted that each of the aforementioned heavyweights from the past (up to the points I noted) had compiled more impressive resumes than The Bronze Bomber. For a “world champion,” Wilder hasn’t exactly faced the toughest opposition. Not all of that is his fault, of course. Two different top five opponents managed to juice their way out of fights with Wilder. But the fact still remains that Wilder has yet to show that he belongs in the same conversation with Michael Grant and Gerry Cooney, much less any actual greats. Knocking the crap out of a faded former contender isn’t going to get him there.
Wilder is 32, still fairly young by heavyweight standards. He’s tall, has a condor-like wingspan, can throw a decent jab when he puts his mind to it, and owns a howitzer that’s attached to his right shoulder. The tools are there for something special. I just want to caution excessive enthusiasm before it’s been earned.