At first glance, it is easy to write off this upcoming defense by Wilder as an edition of the “Bum of the Month Club.” Despite holding a world title, Wilder is considered a work-in-progress by most boxing critics. His handlers may feel the same way as his next oppponent, Johann Duhaupas, is as lightly regarded as can be.
That being said, the vulnerabilities shown by Wilder during his bout with Molina in particular makes me think that any time he steps in the ring, anything can happen. Molina wobbled the gangly “Bronze Bomber” with a left hook in the third round of their bout. The over-matched challenger swarmed over the still green champion and gave pause to anyone thinking that Wilder was a finished product.
The breakdown is as follows:
RECORD AND WORLD RATING
DEONTAY WILDER : Wilder has a glossy record of 33-0 with 31 knockouts. He won a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics. Turned pro in November of 2008. Won the WBC Heavyweight bout by decisioning Bermane Stiverne in a breakout performance. This will be the second defense of his title
JOHANN DUHAUPAS : Duhaupas is 32-2 with 20 knockouts. Has campaigned almost exclusively in France with a few pit stops in Switzerland. Has one a few spurious regional belts, most notably the EBU heavyweight title.
AGE AND PHYSICAL EQUIPMENT
DEONTAY WILDER: Wilder looks to be at or quickly approaching his physical prime at the age of 29. ...Is a physical specimen at 6'7” and his best fighting weight appears to be at 220 lbs. Mammoth 83-inch reach...
JOHANN DUHAUPAS : The “Reptile” is 34 years old...Stands 6'5” and weighs in the 240 lb range...Doesn't seem to be a physically strong fighter...Relatively light-hitting...Has never faced an opponent anywhere near Wilder's level of athletic ability or power so it is hard to gauge how durable he really is without evidence.
DEONTAY WILDER: Powerful overhand right cross may be the most potent in boxing today. Sets it up with a sharp jab a la Mark Breland and often powers the punch through his opponent's guard. His knockout of fringe contender Sergei Liakhovich was highlight-reel worthy. Floored the game Eric Molina with a newly developed left hook.
JOHANN DUHAUPAS: Duhaupas jabs, jabs and jabs some more. His attack does not include a variety of punches beyond a jab and a right hand which he loops into a hook, stifling its power. His jab is pesky, however, which he uses consistently.
DEONTAY WILDER : Came in ten pounds over his previous 219 lbs in stopping upstart Eric Molina in nine rounds. Wilder floored his foe twice in the fourth and once in the fifth but not before Molina stunned him with a hook in the third.
JOHANN DUHAUPAS : Defeated fellow Euro Manuel Charr via majority decision over ten rounds. Duhaupas utilized a steady stream of jabs throughout which kept the turtle-like Charr from advancing forward. A slow-paced, low energy bout which Duhaupas won by being busier.
QUALITY OF OPPOSITION:
DEONTAY WILDER: Whatever criticism Wilder endures for a lack of competition on his resume is unfounded. He has not avoided anyone in the division (if he continues to face fighters of Eric Molina or Duhaupas' quality then when can say he needs to step up) as he has only now acquired a position where he can choose. His record shows the standard level of progression in competition starting with the undefeated Kelvin Price, to Malik Scott and then onto Bermane Stiverne who had proven his worth in defeating Chris Arreola twice. Wilder has done all that has been asked of him thus far.
JOHANN DUHAUPAS : Duhaupas' has limited himself to inferior Euro opposition. When you factor in only twenty knockouts in 34 outings he clearly is not blasting these scrubs out. The biggest names on his resume are Manuel Charr and Erkan Teper.
DEONTAY WILDER : Wilder covers up in close and uses his legs for defense. It must be said, however, that his offense is his defense. He has an odd fighting stance as his right foot is almost directly parallel to his body and this seems to effect his lateral movement. The primary weakness lobbed at Wilder is his disturbing tendency to back straight-up. Lucky for him, there is a dearth of scientific fighters in the heavyweight ranks who can take advantage of his technical flaws.
JOHANN DUHAUPAS : Uses his legs and sometimes uses a Philly shell defense of hiding his head behind his lead shoulder. He doesn't stand too straight-up like most Euro fighters. Similar to Wilder, he utilizes very little head movement, relying on a steady stream of jabs as his defense before covering or clinching. Doesn't appear to be a strong inside fighter.
DEONTAY WILDER : A headhunter in the truest sense of the word. Stylistically similar to his mentor, Mark Breland. Walks down opponents with long left jabs and murderous right crosses. Is arguably the hardest puncher in the division. Awkward, gangly style, sometimes placing both gloves atop one another as if about to pitch a baseball. Bad habit of pulling straight back and appearing off-balance. Fight ending power, however, may be enough to get him out of any situation.
JOHANN DUHAUPAS : Pesky jabber who does just enough to win. Very basic in his approach. Throws a wide right cross to the head and body but has very little snap in his power punches. Does have an authoritative jab which has won most of his fights. Not as stiff as most European fighters but can be bullied physically as evidenced in his loss to Erkan Teper.
DEONTAY WILDER : Will the pressure of being the long-awaited American heavyweight champion effect him negatively? Will this added pressure force him to try “too hard” and leave himself vulnerable to counters?
JOHANN DUHAUPAS : Will the bright lights and Wilder's hometown crowd shake him out of his game plan? How will he react when he is hit harder than he has ever been hit before? Does he have the mental toughness to try and win rather than just survive?
Wilder will look to impress, that is certain. There are two possible outcomes. The first is that Duhaupas is floored by the first hard punch Wilder lands, so we're looking at a first to second round stoppage. In a lot of Wilder's fights his opponents seemed almost shocked by the power of the “Bronze Bomber” before being stretched. It is easy to see Duhaupas getting hit by a huge right and going down in a heap like Malik Scott or Sergei Lyakhovich. In checking out some of his footage, however, Duhaupas does have some grit about him. It is equally easy to see him covering up and trying to grind out a few rounds like Eric Molina did. I'm leaning toward that route but don't think he can last as long as Molina. The bottom line here is that Duhaupas does not have the firepower to threaten the Bronze Bomber. He does have that “survivor” look about him, however, so I don't quite see him being blown out.
PREDICTION: WILDER KO5