Deontay Wilder made the most of his Saturday night showcase on NBC with an 11th round TKO of Johann Duhaupas. Numerous PBC fights that have aired on prime time television have been let downs, but Wilder vs. Duhaupas surpassed expectations.
It bothered me that announcers Marv Albert and Sugar Ray Leonard expressed surprise that Duhaupas lasted past round two. Before the loss to Wilder, Duhaupas had never been stopped. Of course he was a heavy underdog, but Duhaupas brought a granite chin and heart to the fight.
While many incorrectly assumed that this bout would be a cakewalk for Wilder, drama entered the picture in round two when Wilder’s left eye swelled at a concerning rate. Russ Abner did an amazing job of controlling the swelling throughout the course of the fight and the eye didn’t prove to threaten the outcome of the fight.
In all, I would say that Wilder, Duhaupas and boxing fans were all winners in this fight. Wilder continued to impress with his skills and proved that he can take a punch, and Duhaupas stood up to Wilder’s explosive shots which would have knocked Superman flat.
Alexander Povetkin is the WBC’s mandatory challenger for Wilder’s title, but he is already under contract to face Mariusz Wach in November. Wilder wants to get back in the ring soon, but I’m concerned about the damage done to his eye. Hopefully he just suffered an ugly hematoma under his eye and not something as substantial as a broken orbital bone.
If he is okay and wants to get back to business quickly, there are several potential opponents available. Looking at the WBC’s top 15 heavyweights, I think that you can eliminate Joshua, Glazkov and Browne. They are all undefeated and might prove to be too much of a threat for a potential tune-up bout. I don’t think that Tony Thompson would be considered either. Wilder used to spar with him when he was rising through the ranks and they know each other well…maybe too well. Carlos Takam or Chris Arreola might make sense for Wilder’s team if they want to fight within the next few months.