Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Wilder-Duhaupas Preview

The next chapter in the Heavyweight championship reign of undefeated WBC Heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder will take place on Saturday, September 26th at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, AL. Wilder, who will be making the second defense of his world title will take on former European Heavyweight champion Johann Duhaupas.

Wilder (34-0, with 33 Knockouts) won the WBC world championship in January of this year scoring an impressive twelve round unanimous decision over Bermane Stiverne. In his last fight this past June, Wilder scored a ninth round knockout over a determined challenger in Eric Molina in a fight where the champion dropped the “Game” Molina three times.

Wilder now prepares for his second title defense as he will face current WBC number eleven rated contender Johann Duhaupas. Duhaupas, (32-2, with 20 Knockouts) is a former European Heavyweight champion, who has also won the South American Heavyweight title in his career. Duhaupas would appear to be someone that could give Wilder, a fighter with a 97% career knockout percentage a test as he has never been stopped in thirty-four professional fights.

Stylistically, this fight would appear to favor the champion Wilder. Duhaupas is a fighter who tends to fight out of a high defensive guard, but does not use much lateral movement or head movement in his fights. Although Duhaupas does throw his jab with consistency and does let his hands go when fighting in close, the task that he will have to contend with is whether or not he will be able nullify the champion’s power and long reach.

Duhaupas is not a fighter who applies consistent pressure against his opponents, but rather appears to be tactical and attempts to execute his offense as his opponents throw their punches. Duhaupas also tends to allow himself to be put on the ropes regularly in his fights. It will be interesting to see whether Wilder will look to apply pressure on Duhaupas from the outset and look to possibly get an early stoppage.

As we saw in Wilder’s last fight however, Eric Molina was able to find some success in landing his right hand to the body and head of the champion. If Duhaupas can find a way to get on the inside of Wilder without sustaining too much punishment as he comes in and can manage to let his hands go in close as he has been able to do in previous fights against the likes of Erkan Teper and Jean Claude Bikoi, he might be the fighter who will continue to ask questions of the champion that critics are still wondering, such as how Wilder will respond to being pressured and how will he deal with adversity.

Duhaupas’ biggest win to date came against former world title challenger Manuel Charr, whom he defeated in April of this year. Although the odds are against Duhaupas, who will be attempting to become the first French-born fighter to win a World Heavyweight championship in the sport, he is not someone that should be overlooked and if this fight does go into the middle and late rounds it will be interesting to see if he can make a fight of it against one of the hardest hitting knockout artists in not just the Heavyweight division, but the entire sport as well.

This fight, which will headline a Premier Boxing Champions card broadcast by NBC in the United States does have one piece of historical significance. It will be the first time in over thirty years since the hotly contested battle between Larry Holmes and Carl “The Truth” Williams squared off on May 20, 1985 that a World Heavyweight championship fight will be televised on Broadcast television in the United States in prime time.

Although there may be some who might believe that this could be an “Easy” fight for the champion as he looks to defend his world title against longtime top contender and current WBC number one contender Alexander Povetkin in the near future and a possible unification clash against unified IBF/WBO/WBA/IBO Heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko possibly sometime in 2016, an opponent should never be taken lightly.

Some may remember at the time that Carl Williams earned his opportunity to challenge Larry Holmes for his crown, Williams was a significant underdog heading into that fight and despite the odds being against him, was able to give Holmes a stern challenge and there were some at the end of the night who felt he had done enough to win the fight in a battle that he ended up losing by a hard-fought fifteen round unanimous decision.

It is important to remember as this observer has often said over the years “Anything can happen at any given time in the sport of Boxing.” This especially holds true in regard to the Heavyweight division. If Wilder is looking past Duhaupas toward potential lucrative fights that might be in store in the future, this could end up being a much more competitive fight than some might be anticipating.

Although this observer is not one who likes to give predictions because after all anything can happen, it would not shock me no matter the outcome or length of this fight to see NBC score a significant victory in the ratings for this card. After all, there is nothing quite like a fight for a World Heavyweight championship that generates interest of not only experts and those who follow the sport on a regular basis, but also the casual observer. If nothing else, this fight will bring the sport back to a time where a World Heavyweight championship fight has the potential to be seen by millions of people without the expense of a pay-per-view price tag or a cable/satellite subscription. It is something that has been long overdue.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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