It has been a little over a month since Wladimir Klitschko defeated his latest opponent—a unanimous decision victory over a competitive in spots Bryant Jennings. The fight was not very close, but Jennings made a respectable effort when grading within the Klitschko curve.
As it stands, Wladimir is slated to make a mandatory defense of his WBA title against Tyson Fury. Klitschko-Fury is a fun idea and it is as good as anything out there in terms of competitive matchups. However, that doesn’t mean the fight will be competitive.
HBO signed Wladimir to a 3 fight deal last November. He has already concluded 2 of those obligations with a 5th round KO over Kubrat Pulev and the aforementioned Jennings fight.
Some may have hoped that HBO would use its considerable pockets to stage a fight between Klitschko and American title holder Deontay Wilder, but that doesn’t appear to be in the cards at this stage. Nobody can blame HBO because the politics aren’t the only problem with making this matchup.
HBO Sport’s President Ken Hershman spoke with Thaboxingvoice.com’s Nestor Gibbs and in the interview he was quick to remind everyone that while they are open to Klitschko-Wilder, that doesn’t mean that Wilder is necessarily ready for the fight.
“I think [Wilder’s] a fabulous talent. He’s young, he’s exciting, he has the size to match up with Wladimir well. We’ll see where that goes. I don’t know if he thinks he’s quite ready for that fight, but we’re here if he wants to talk about it,” Hershman said.
Hershman has a point because despite the hopes invested in Wilder there is still a legitimate difference between his best win against Bermane Stiverne and that of Wladimir. Al Haymon, Wilder’s manager, knows he has a potential star in Wilder and he knows that he can breathe new life into the American heavyweight landscape.
There could be a genuine appeal for Wilder with the American public based on his impressive size, skills, and swagger. Getting fed to Wladimir before he is ready could not only damage his appeal to casual fans, but it could also hurt the young fighter’s self-esteem which could derail him in an irreparable manner.