By: Hans Themistode
Perfection doesn’t exist.
It doesn’t matter if we are referring to a basketball court, a football field or in this case, a boxing ring. The search for perfection just doesn’t exist.
We can take things a bit further and look at relationships. No matter how much you are in love with your significant other, you know that they have plenty of flaws.
Boxing is a difficult sport to master. More so than others.
In basketball a player can go an entire game without missing a shot. A football player can go an entire game without missing a single pass. It’s rare, but it can happen. In boxing, however, the search for perfection is simply impossible.
The retired but now newly unretired Floyd Mayweather Jr boasted a professional record consisting of 50 wins without a single defeat. Mayweather never had any weaknesses in his game, but it is his defensive ability where he has always shone brightest.
Some of the all-time greatest fighters to ever put on a pair of gloves have seldom found any success when facing him. Still, for as great as Mayweather is as a defensive fighter, he does have lapses. Take for instance his 2010 contest against Shane Mosley, where he was rocked not once but twice in the second round. For as great as Mayweather is at the art of hitting but not getting hit, he still victim fell on some rare occasions.
How about another example? This time from the vault of retired soon to be hall of famer Andre Ward. He would go on to hang up his gloves for good in 2017 with a spotless record after 32 fights. Much like Mayweather, Ward was incredibly hard to hit. However in the case of Darnell Boone and Sergey Kovalev, he would get dropped in both contest, proving that his cloak of invincibility was nothing more than an illusion.
Floyd Mayweather, Andre Ward and a long list of fighters aren’t perfect, but they are about as close as you will possibly get.
As previously mentioned, the sport of boxing has no perfect fighter, but there are numerous ones who can give you that impression.
In the case of WBC Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, he gives you a different impression altogether.
From the moment the Alabama native stepped on the boxing scene, he scored knockout after knockout win, which although impressive, was to be expected. Even as he rose through the ranks and became a bonafide contender to eventually the WBC champion, something just didn’t seem right. The brutal stoppage wins were racking up, but the disbelievers in Wilder were still growing.
The issue with Wilder and his non stop critics are the Aesthetics of his performances.
Take his 2017 stoppage win over Gerald Washington for example. It was a close back and forth affair until Wilder connected with a few of his big shots. How about Artur Szpilka? Again, another close fight for Wilder until he landed his right hand right on the button and put his man down and out for good.
Wilder doesn’t just have an awkward boxing style, but he seems to not have any at all. He seldom does any work to the body. His jab isn’t as accurate or sharp of his contemporaries either.
There is a long list of fighters throughout history who did not have the best or most eye pleasing abilities. Muhammad Ali was often times criticized for his unconventional way of fighting. So was Roy Jones Jr. Do yourself a favor and try to find one single fight of Roy Jones throwing a jab. It rarely happened. Ali and Jones oftentimes fought with their hands down and relied on their unbelievable reflexes to get out of harm’s way.
Wilder, in many ways, shares many of those tactics. His however, comes in the form of his otherworldly power.
How many times have we seen him struggle with an opponent just to end the contest in the blink of an eye? Look no further than his rematch against Luis Ortiz this past Saturday night at the MGM Grand Arena, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Through six rounds, Wilder trailed on the scorecards of all three judges. With one straight right hand however, it ended everything. He has done the same thing to Dominic Breazeale, Johann Duhaupas, Malik Scott and countless others.
For Wilder, he needs only the most minuscule of time to end a fight.
“These fighters have to be perfect for 12 rounds,” said Wilder. “I only have to be perfect for 2 seconds.”
Wilder is correct. Once he finds his opening, he will exploit it.
With each knockout victory, the rumblings have now grown louder and louder that he is in fact, the hardest hitting boxer of all-time. A sentiment that even Ben Davison, Tyson Fury’s trainer believes to be true.
“He’s the biggest puncher in not just heavyweight history,” said Davison. “But boxing history, bar none. And he’s proven it.”
Normally when a fighter is given such a high praise, it is difficult to accept such a high honor. For Wilder other hand, he believes the distinction of being recognized as the hardest hitter in boxing history is one that he has earned.
“At this point in time, I think I’ve earned my due respect and credit to say I am the hardest-hitting puncher in boxing history. Period,” said Wilder. “It reminds me back of what [the late legendary trainer] Emanuel Steward once told me personally. He told me, ‘You’re fighting little opposition right now, but even when you move up to the top, you’re still going to knock them out.’ He told me that personally, and I’m fulfilling what he told me.”
Deontay Wilder is riddled with flaws. However, for 2 seconds he is a perfect one. Over and over again, he has proven that is all the time that he needs.