Deontay Wilder Has Two Fights Lined Up, But When Will “The Bronze Bomber” Step It Up?

By James Slater: There is no doubt unbeaten heavyweight hope Deontay Wilder has talent. The Bronze medallist at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 (amazingly, America’s sole medal winner in boxing in the games) is fast, athletic and he can punch. Already 21-0(21) as a pro, the 6’7” boxer with the long 84” reach has won each and every fight with almost ridiculous ease (save his October 2010 win over the experienced Harold Sconiers, who scored a flash knockdown before succumbing in the 4th-round).

But fans are waiting for one thing: for Wilder to step up his quality of opposition. Set to face Chad Van Sickle next, in Mexico on May 26th, and then Owen Beck, in his hometown of Tuscaloosa on June 23rd, Wilder will win both fights hands down and the fans know it. But what will the gifted former Olympian really learn from fights with Van Sickle, 23-9-3(12) and loser of six of his last eight, and Beck, 29-10(20) and loser of his last seven?

So far, since turning pro back in November of 2008, Wilder has yet to be taken past the 4th-round. Only a brave man will be willing to predict this will happen in either of his upcoming two bouts. Beck WAS a decent fighter six or seven years ago; even challenging for a version of the “world” heavyweight title in 2006 (losing to the giant Nikolay Valuev), yet “What The Heck” is a badly faded, accident-waiting-to-happen of a shot fighter these days. Look for Wilder to blast him out inside two or three rounds at the most.

And Van Sickle, a year younger than Beck at 34, is also a guy who is no stranger to being blasted out these days (stopped inside a round in two of his last three outings). Look for Wilder to increase that number to three a week on Saturday.

Either Team-Wilder know something we don’t (has Wilder’s chin let him down in sparring, maybe more than once?) or they are simply being about as careful as one could imagine the team behind a young fighter being. Three-and-a-half years into his pro career, and Wilder has not yet gone near a guy in the top-30. Compare Deontay to past Olympians who turned pro at heavyweight (Riddick Bowe, George Foreman and Joe Frazier for three examples) and it’s clear his progress doesn’t come close to matching up.

Maybe, hopefully, after he’s despatched Van Sickle and Beck, Wilder will at least be let off the leash. Just how good is Wilder and how good can he become? Due to his truly awful level of opposition, fans have next to no idea.

Article posted on 17.05.2012

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