By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
People who maybe shouldn't bother talking about boxing are talking about boxing. That alone should tell you how good Deontay Wilder is for boxing.
The "Sweet Science" has dipped into a slumber for a long time now, mainly due to a lack of a compelling heavyweight division. Long gone are the glory days of Mike Tyson smashing faces and biting ears. Mid-tier weight classes have dominated the sport, leading to fewer knockouts and more technical showcases.
Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Canelo Alvarez, and Gennady Golovkin are some of the best to ever strap on the gloves. But their relative lack of violence will always prevent them from reaching the same heights as the great heavyweights. There hasn't been a heavyweight star even close to Tyson's level since he left the sport in 2005, and he was already well past his prime at that point.
Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) may represent the division's long-awaited shift back to prominence. And it has little to do with his techniques. It's all in his freight-train punching power and the potential of obliterating opponents like he did to Dominic Breazeale on Saturday.
If you believe that Wilder's ungodly, thunderous right hand to Breazeale's jaw on Saturday is bad for boxing, you're really just arguing if boxing is bad for people's heads. Because even for a boxing purist, this is about as spectacular it gets:
DEONTAY WILDER is a bad man ???? pic.twitter.com/0GiK8r7Z7D
— Champs Sports (@champssports) May 19, 2019
“Let’s get our money’s worth, Deontay! Chill, not yet. Gimme five rounds, please!”
Wilder, 10 seconds later:
(via boymeetsworld/IG) pic.twitter.com/wT35fdcnYx
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 19, 2019
Which brings us to "Sports Illustrated Now" hosts Robin Lundberg and Amy Campbell. It's unfair to single them out, and the tweet asks a question that they didn't necessarily ask. But they did put out some wishy-washy boxing takes out there voluntarily, so here we are. They couch their reactions to the Wilder knockout by Lundberg describing his as "conflicted", or Campbell saying "I enjoy seeing a good knockout as much as anyone else." But they express perhaps an excessive level of concern for Breazeale's well-being.
It's confusing because it seems like both of them know what they signed up for.
Deontay Wilder used a massive right hand to drop Dominic Brazeale, but was Wilder's nasty punch good for boxing? pic.twitter.com/5EL9VNpNDC
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) May 20, 2019
At the end of the day, this is a daily live talk show from a prominent national sports media outlet talking about heavyweight boxing. Regardless of their feelings, it's another win for Wilder and the sport that they're talking about the knockout at all.
And deep down, you'd like to think that anyone with any interest in boxing whatsoever would give Wilder and his anvil fists a thumbs-up. Lundberg and Campbell know they enjoyed what they saw. They're either in on Wilder or out on boxing altogether. Because guys are getting punched in the face and knocked out all the time. Wilder is far from the first guy to blast an opponent into another dimension.
Anyway, Lundberg does make one irrefutable point. Wilder needs to fight Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs), and before he's past his prime. That may be up to Joshua, who will always be accused of ducking Wilder for as long as he waits it out. Wilder also needs to have a rematch with technician Tyson Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs), who exposed Wilder's lack of pure boxing skills to earn a draw. Wilder might have lost if not for two separate knockdowns, the second of which nearly put Fury out for good in the 12th round.
Boxing's heavyweight division needs these three going at it, if only for the good of the sport. It has a chance to return to its former glory days if a real rivalry can form and Wilder can keep throwing hellacious blows. These guys can't all be undefeated forever.
The fact that outlets like SI are devoting this much attention to Wilder is a good step in the right direction.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at m[email protected].