BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The following is a commentary blog from WBRC FOX6 Sports Director Rick Karle:
His left eye nearly swollen shut, his face puffy from being bullied from tough guy Johann Duhaupas, the WBC heavyweight champion was, only an hour after scoring a TKO over the Frenchman, ready to talk about his next fight. But before Tuscaloosa's Deontay Wilder would talk of someday facing Wladimir Klitschko in a world unification bout, he reminded us that his career is a process. Said Wilder, "It will come, but you have to be patient." Those are smart words coming from the swollen mouth of Wilder. The dilemma? Slowing life down when that life is on the fast track.
As Wilder's star shines more brightly as the months pass by, his trainer Jay Deas tells me that patience may be the key to Wilder reaching the mountaintop. Before that real-life Rocky versus Drago fight between Wilder & Klitschko will come more mandatory title defense fights for both. Next on the agenda for the Bronze Bomber? Deas says to look for Wilder to fight sometime in mid-January in New York City- the opponent? Deas and Wilder are looking over some six candidates with the help of big-time boxing promoter Todd Duboef. One name in the mix? 19-1 Bryant Jennings, a tall, lean American heavyweight who is 19-1. Another big name being floated about? England's Tyson Fury, who just learned that his heavyweight fight against WBA/IBO champ Klitscho has been postponed after the champ claimed he injured his calf. While a Fury-Wilder match-up is intriguing, look for a fight such as this to take place a year from now when both fighters can take advantage of a longer period for training and promotion.
And how about the WBC's top-rated challenger, Alexander Povetkin, "The White Lion"? While many boxing fans have the Russian already penciled in as Wilder's next opponent, trainer Deas tells me it is not likely to happen, as Povetkin has a fight scheduled for early November, much too soon, says Deas, to assure that Wilder recovers from Saturday's fight. Says Deas, "If Povetkin wants to fight us in January so be it, but if he fights in November, we're not going to wait- we're looking over a half a dozen boxers that would make for great challengers for Deontay in mid-January up in New York City."
Regardless of his next opponent, Wilder's fame is growing, and it's patience that may serve him best. Said Duhaupas after losing that 11th round TKO to Wilder Saturday in Birmingham, "Wilder is a good fighter. I think he is tough and he hit me with some good shots. But I think he needs more preparation to go to the next level." What's the reaction from Jay Deas? Wilder's trainer tells me, "What exactly is the next level? Deontay is already among the top boxers in the world. We're near the top right now. I think Duhaupas is selling himself short, as he can compete with any boxer out there." There's no argument from this seat, as Deas adds, "This Duhaupas guy is someone you don't want to tangle with in a bar fight, as he would hurt you."
Saturday night Duhaupas hurt Deontay Wilder, quickly closing the champ's left eye and going to the body often. Duhapaus looked like a robot at times, refusing to hit the canvas, something he has never done in any of his professional fights. But Wilder would unleash a flurry of devastating uppercuts, left hooks and haymaker rights in the 5th, 7th, 10th and 11th rounds that finally put a vicious 11th-round end to a valiant effort from the Frenchman. The numbers? Compubox had Wilder connecting on 326 of 587 punches (56%) while Duhaupas connected on 98 of 332 punches (30%). As the fight ended, Wilder led 100-9 on one of the judge's scorecards while the other two judges scored it 99-91.
So Deontay Wilder ran his record to 35-0 Saturday night, and in the process showed that he can go the distance with a brawler. Saturday's fight lasted longer than any of the bouts in which Wilder knocked out his opponent.
Will Wilder at some point land that world championship unification bout with Wladimir Klitschko? Could be, but for the next year or so, Wilder's fans will have to be patient. Says Jay Deas, "While we're almost there, fans must remember it's a work in progress, a process if you will." My advice to Deontay Wilder? Enjoy the fame and fortune, but like the beer pitchman who bills himself as "The Most Interesting Man in the World" says, "Stay thirsty my friend."