Thursday, October 1, 2015

Thoughts on Wilder-Duhaupas

The Boxing world focused it’s attention on the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, AL on September 26th when undefeated WBC Heavyweight world champion and knockout artist Deontay Wilder made the second defense of his world title against WBC number eleven rated contender Johann Duhaupas of France.  As this observer stated in the week prior to the fight, stylistically it was a bout that appeared to favor Wilder due in large part to Duhaupas’ tendency to fight out of a high defensive guard, and not use much lateral or head movement. Although Johann Duhaupas was a former European Heavyweight champion he entered into this fight largely unknown by American Boxing fans. Despite being lightly regarded, Duhaupas did enter into his challenge of Wilder having won thirty-two of thirty-four professional fights and was a fighter who had never been stopped inside the distance in his career.

The battle between Deontay Wilder and Johann Duhaupas can best be described as an underdog showing his mettle and providing a significant test for a young and unbeaten champion. For eleven rounds Johann Duhaupas was able to put more pressure on Wilder than any of Wilder’s previous opponents. Duhaupas however, was only able to be sporadically successful in executing his offense.

Despite the near non-stop pressure put forth by the challenger, Wilder showed that he would not wilt under pressure and gradually administered a beating to Duhaupas as he pressed forward. Although he was battered throughout most of the fight prior to it being stopped in the eleventh round Johann Duhaupas proved that he is a fighter that should be respected across the globe. It was a brave performance by a challenger who had been dismissed by some prior to his challenge of Wilder, a fighter who has thus far proven to be very difficult to go the distance with. Only former WBC Heavyweight world champion Bermane Stiverne can claim to have lasted a full fight with Deontay Wilder.

Although Johann Duhaupas fell short of going the distance and said that he will continue his career in Europe following the fight, this observer believes that Duhaupas should be given another opportunity to show what he can do here in the United States. Whether or not that opportunity would come against a rising prospect or someone considered to be a top contender is something that could be debated. In this observer’s eyes however, Duhaupas proved to be an extremely tough opponent for Wilder and should be considered as a fighter who could give any prospect or contender a tough fight.

As for Deontay Wilder, he did what he was expected to do. He successfully defended his title and was able to score a knockout win despite being pressured like he had never been before in his career. Although critics of Wilder likely remain, Wilder continues to do all you can really ask of a fighter. He continues to defeat all opposition placed before him.

Wilder will now look to defend his world championship against longtime contender and current WBC number one rated contender Alexander Povetkin in the near future. It will be interesting to see whether Povetkin, who has a good mix of hand speed and punching power will be able to put forth the type pressure that Johann Duhaupas was able to against Wilder and whether he can do so without taking the punishment that Duhaupas did.

Although Wilder will have a size and reach advantage over Povetkin when that fight takes place, it will also be interesting to see what adjustments if any Wilder will make to a fighter who will be looking to put pressure on him. Deontay Wilder’s performance against Johann Duhaupas was an impressive performance from the standpoint of seeing how Wilder would respond to being significantly pressured throughout the course of an entire fight. Wilder showed that he can put forth a high offensive output even during the course of a long fight where he appeared to show effects of fatigue in the late rounds. Whether or not Wilder will be able to deal with a fighter in Povetkin who will look to pressure him, but is someone that is quicker than Duhaupas remains to be seen.

Although the fight between Wilder and Duhaupas proved to be lopsided in Wilder’s favor, it was an entertaining fight that headlined an overall entertaining evening of Boxing. Despite the ratings for the card, which was broadcast by NBC as part of the Premier Boxing Champions series being called disappointing by some, Wilder-Duhaupas did succeed in bringing a World Heavyweight championship fight back to over the air broadcast television in prime time in the United States for the first time in over thirty years and did have over two million people tuning in to watch the fight.

Even though some may call the ratings for this card disappointing, this observer considers it successful in the sense of what the main event did in giving a fight for a World Heavyweight championship an opportunity to be seen by masses of people without the requirement of a cable/satellite subscription or a pay-per-view price tag. It is something that should not be seen as a disappointment, but rather something that could be used to build upon for future Premier Boxing Champions cards.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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