Opinion | Jan 18 2016

WEEKEND REVIEW Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury, David Haye and the new heavyweight scene

John Dennen rounds up a heavyweight weekend
Deontay Wilder
Wilder1  |  Stephanie Trapp/Showtime

IF Tyson Fury’s victory over Wladimir Klitschko last year upended the heavyweight division, it is now rapidly fragmenting. After fighting no one of note and competing in less than three rounds of a world championship, Charles Martin is now one of three world heavyweight champions, holding the IBF title so rapidly stripped from Fury’s waist. It’s not Martin’s fault that Vyacheslav Glazkov’s knee collapsed beneath him and “Prince” Charles had opened his account brightly in the fight. But Martin is going to be a man in demand. A lot of heavyweights are going to be eager to relieve him of his quickly won belt.

Perhaps Deontay Wilder will be at the top of that list. We’ve been waiting a while to find an answer to the question: is Wilder any good? I fear we’re starting to get one – not very. This time last year Deontay became the WBC heavyweight champion. He showed promise then but stepped down to easier opposition and has consistently struggled with them. Granted Artur Szpilka was better than Johann Duhaupas and Eric Molina, and trainer Ronnie Shields has clearly been doing a good job with the Pole, Szpilka however is still comes below Bryant Jennings, who halted Artur, in the pecking order. Wilder, a WBC titlist, with mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin looming ahead of him, should have dealt with him better.

Wilder’s jab, which had looked a good weapon when he won the belt from Bermane Stiverne, was tentative on Saturday and didn’t hold Szpilka off. His footwork was unimpressive, he didn’t seem move much. (He did though withstand the punches Artur slung at him, so Deontay does have a good chin.) Wilder by name, wild, or certainly inaccurate, by nature. He put a lot behind his punches but flung them out of range, off balance and too often wide of the mark. His saving grace though is his power. He dug himself out of a bind with a shuddering one-punch knockout. He hits hard enough to finish anyone but increasingly it looks like he’s going to have to rely on his power.