The first official boxing weekend of 2016 did not disappoint, as we saw a possible knockout of the year candidate in a heavyweight title fight, saw the return of one of the most charismatic and polarizing figures in the sport, and we got to see the two most recognizable heavyweight champs today go at it in a post-fight interview. So without further due, here are the five things that we learned this weekend.
- Deontay Wilder’s vulnerability makes him the most exciting heavyweight today
Deontay Wilder ended his third title defense in spectacular fashion, delivering a knockout of the year candidate in front of a sold out Barclays Center with most of the crowd rooting for the Polish Szpilka. However, several ringside observers did not think Wilder put on a good performance before the KO, and some actually even had him down on the cards at the time of the knockout (I had Wilder up 77-75 at the time of the KO.)
Wilder in this fight did not get hit with many clean punches, and actually did a nice job slipping and blocking some of Szpilka’s looping shots, but he did not look great. He gave himself a 5 out of 10 in the post-fight press conference, which sounded like a fair grade. Wilder seemed very cautious and almost nervous in the first few rounds, as he has in his past few fights.
Yet, this is what makes Wilder must-see television: anything can happen. When you watch Wilder it looks as if he can get caught and get put to sleep any second, and it just hasn’t happened yet. So many people tune into Wilder fights not to see a good fight, but to see him finally get knocked out, to see that chin finally gets checked, but as Floyd Mayweather used to say “Whether you’re watching to see me win, or watching to see me lose, you’re watching” and that holds true with Wilder.
The reaction to Wilder’s KO this weekend has received a rapid reaction. The YouTube video ShoSports posted of Wilder’s knockout of Szpilka has generated over 2 million views and the post-fight banter between Fury and Wilder after the fight has just under a million views since late Saturday night, proving Wilders popularity among active boxers.
No matter who Wilder is in there with, it seems to always be a fun and exciting fight, and as boxing fans we should all appreciate that and be thankful that a heavyweight fight with Wilder involved will most likely produce fireworks whether he is on the winning side or the losing side.
- Fury-Wilder needs to happen by the end of the year
Despite the Wilder knockout being sensational, Tyson Fury, as usual, stole the show during the post-fight in-ring interviews. Fury stormed into the ring, took the mic, called Wilder a bum, and then proceeded to throw off his jacket and walk and yell around the ring. So in other words: it was awesome, vintage Tyson Fury.
It is obvious that a fight between the two can’t happen right away, as Tyson is rematching Wlad and Deontay has the Povetkin mandatory, but the boxing world deserves a matchup between Fury and Wilder ASAP.
The two 6’7 + heavyweights would most likely put on a scintillating fight in the ring, with Fury being the boxer who is terrific with head movement and knows how to punch a bit as well, and with Wilder being the superbly powerful, sometimes sloppy, and polarizing American heavyweight, this fight is a must.
Forget the matchup in the ring, the back and forth banter between the two in the months leading up to the fight would make a Fury-Wilder unification bout worthwhile before the opening bell even rings! The two have constantly gone at it on social media for the past few years and it was pure gold to finally see Tyson and Deontay in the same ring together insulting each other.
- David Haye looks like an actual heavyweight now
After three and a half years out of the ring, David Haye made his highly anticipated return in front of a packed O2 Arena on Dave TV Saturday and showed the heavyweight division that he is back.
He knocked out grossly overmatched Mark de Mori two minutes into the fight, who by my count, threw six punches the entire fight, and only one of those partially landed. Haye stated that he wants a few more fights before a title shot, which is understandable because he basically hit a heavy bag for two minutes in his ring return, not giving him a chance to get in a few rounds and polish off some ring rust.
Despite the absolutely guaranteed victory for Haye in his comeback, there was one thing that stuck out: Haye looked bigger than ever, weighing in at 227 pounds, the heaviest weight of his career.
He didn’t look fat, but it looked as if he added a little bit of fat to his ripped frame, a piece of advice that Anthony Joshua should probably take into consideration. Maybe Haye finally understood that as a heavyweight, there is no real need to watch your weight and being to ripped sometimes isn’t good, and Haye being a former cruiserweight, the bigger the better.
- Kathy Duva’s Master Plan Backfired
When the IBF stripped Tyson Fury of his belt for not defending against his mandatory Vyacheslav Glazkov, much of the blame was put on the promoter of Glazkov, Kathy Duva of Main Events. Duva pushed for the purse bid knowing that Fury would not want to fight Glazkov and that he would rather make more money in the rematch against Klitschko.
The first part of Duva’s scheme went as planned, having the IBF strip Fury so that her guy Glazkov could get a shot at the vacant title vs the highest rated contender. The second part of the plan also went accordingly as well: finding an easy opponent to win a belt against rather than fight Wilder for his WBC belt.
Charles Martin was that guy, a prospect who most American fans had never even seen, and who simply did not deserve any sort of shot at any sort of heavyweight title. Glazkov was supposed to easily outpoint Martin, but that was not the case.
Nothing much really happened in the first eight minutes, with neither man taking control of the fight when all of the sudden Glazkov took an awkward slip and appeared to tear his ACL, a terrible unfortunate injury for Glazkov, whom I feel extremely bad for and hope has a speedy recovery, as none of these unfortunate events were his fault.
But for Kathy Duva? This is what she gets. This is what she gets for pursuing the purse bid knowing the IBF would strip Fury. This is what she gets for putting on one of the worse heavyweight title fights that any of us will ever see. Kathy Duva constantly speaks out against the problems in boxing, but sadly she is one of the big problems, and her master plan for Glazkov just blew up right in her face this weekend.
- Fights being streamed on Youtube is the future
This weekend was the first time in recent memory that boxing fans were not forced to search the web for choppy streams for fights that they did not get on T.V. This weekend, YouTube was the only site needed to watch boxing.
The Deontay Wilder and David Haye fights were both streamed on YouTube this weekend, and both had thousands of people from across the globe streaming it live.
The streams were not just free, they were perfect. Not many reported interruptions and crystal clear HD made you forget that you were even watching a stream.
This should be done more often, and preferably, for every big fight involving a star of the sport, but probably will not be done often due to $.
A lot can be said about the first weekend of boxing of the year, but one thing is for sure: this weekend produced headlines, caused adversary, and sparked debates: all positives in the world of boxing.