COMMENTARY | Last Saturday night at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, heavyweight hopeful Deontay Wilder (30-0, 30 KOs) kept his undefeated, all-KO streak intact with a fourth round knockout of journeyman Nicolai Firtha (21-11-1, 8 KOs). Apparently, this win was impressive enough for Wilder's promoter, Golden Boy, to have them contemplate their fighter skipping an entire level of competition to go right for boxing's biggest prize.
Shortly after the Olympic bronze medalist did away with Firtha, Golden Boy CEO, Richard Schaefer announced his decision to immediately push the heavy-handed 6' 7" prospect right to the very top.
"As a team, we have a plan, and I just outlined the plan to the ringside media," Schaefer said during the post-fight press conference. "Deontay's right at the top two or three ratings in the WBC. With the news we got last week that Vitali Klitschko is going to be running for president of Ukraine, I anticipate that he will no longer fight, and that the title will become vacant.
"My goal is to have Deontay fight in his next fight for the WBC heavyweight championship against [Bermane] Stiverne. So that's the goal, and then, after that, go for Wladimir Klitschko and unify all titles and become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. That was the plan, that is the plan, and I'm going to do whatever I can in my power to get it done because I know that the man on my right here [Wilder] is going to do everything in the ring to make that plan come true."
From a business standpoint, this bout is definitely doable. No. 2 ranked Chris Arreola may have something to say about being skipped over by the no. 3 ranked Wilder, but a case could be made that Arreola has already lost to Stiverne and would be better kept as the mandatory opponent for the winner of Stiverne-Wilder.
Golden Boy, with its reach and power, will get the fights it wants-- if these are, indeed, the fights it wants and this isn't just some bid to make headlines for one of the company's top investments.
The question for Golden Boy is whether they see the 27-year-old Wilder as a long-term client or simply as someone to be used for a quick monetary score. If it's the latter, then it makes infinite sense to take the big risk of a bout with Stiverne in order to capture their share of what could be a ten-figure payday against Wladimir Klitschko in an almost unwinnable bout at this stage of Wilder's career.
If Golden Boy truly believes in Wilder's potential, there's no reason to rush matters. They could sit on their Top 3 ranking indefinitely, continue to provide Wilder with developmental fights for the next couple of years, and then go after a past-his-prime Klitschko or whoever is at the top of the heavyweight food chain.
At this point, a bout with the heavy-handed Stiverne, who battered Chris Arreola to a bloody mess in April, would be a needless risk for a fighter who is still very raw and relatively one-dimensional. Wilder would have a puncher's chance, but why take that risk now? And why even consider a fight with Wladimir Klitschko, who is at least three or four full levels beyond anyone Wilder has ever fought?
Let America fall in love with Wilder, keep him growing as a fighter, build up the buzz. Then, unleash him on the world as a more complete fighter with a real chance at world domination.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and is the author of Notes from the Boxing Underground. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
Source: Ring TV
- Sports & Recreation
- Deontay Wilder
- Wladimir Klitschko
- Chris Arreola
- Vitali Klitschko