By Luis Sandoval
Heavyweight contender Deontay Wilder kept his impressive streak of knockouts going as he disposed of his opponent Kertson Manswell in the very first round of their televised Fox Sports main event Saturday night in Mobile, AL.
It was a short night for the 2008 Olympics Bronze medalist who put on a dominant performance in front of a supportive crowd in his home state.
Things started slow as Wilder began to work behind his jab and keeping his shorter opponent on the outside. Manswell, who was a late replacement for Wilder’s original opponent Kelvin Price, decided to try and mount an attack as he made an attempt to get on the inside. It proved to be disastrous.
Wilder landed a big left hook and followed it up with a right hand that send Manswell crashing to the canvas. The power that secured Wilder 23 knockouts in 23 fights showed up quickly and had Manswell in serious trouble.
Manswell would beat the count only to find himself off his feet again as Wilder landed a glancing left hook that sent Manswell flying across the ring and onto the mat. The 2nd knockdown was a result of shaky legs as much as it was from a punch that didn’t land as cleanly for Wilder.
As the crowd cheered, Manswell would get up from the canvas for the last time as the end felt near. A final left hook from Wilder dropped Manswell for the third time in the contest - forcing the referee to wave the fight off and giving Wilder his 24th victory and knockout.
“I knew once he felt that jab it was over with” Wilder would say about Manswell not being able to stay with him in the fight. “The speed was the killer too man. I’m one of the fastest heavyweights in the division and with the foot work as well too. Once he felt that right hand, he definitely didn’t want any more”.
The power was definitely a factor along with Wilder’s ability to get to his opponent with minimal effort. His knockout percentage is definitely an attractive aspect of Wilder’s game and even he himself isn’t sure of its full potential.
“Like I said this is God given talent. Sometimes its scares me. I don’t even know the measurement of my power man. Sometimes when I hit these guys I feel the structure of my bones in my hands and when I feel it, I know it’s a good night. Night night!” said an animated Wilder.
In an era where top level American Heavyweights seem to be an endangered species, Wilder reminded us that there is still some hope left. Standing at 6’7, having a muscular physique and possessing true power, Wilder is slowly proving there may be another force to be reckoned with in the Heavyweight division.
In fact Wilder believes he’s ready for the best the division has to offer and said as much when he gave the two champions in the division a message.
“Klitschkos, don’t retire” said Wilder in his post fight interview. “And for all the heavyweights that are listening and watching me right now, what’s up baby?”
Calling out both Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko is indeed premature given the fact that Wilder has yet to face a top 15 Heavyweight but you have to admire his ambition. While he may not be ready for a Klitschko just yet, Wilder is definitely looking to take it the next level and be the answer to help a slumping division.
“I’m the answer. Ain’t nobody else going to be able to do it man. This is a God given talent for me. God says ask for what you want and you shall receive. It may not come when you want it but it’s always on time. And my time is about time” said The Bronze Bomber.
It definitely appears the time has come for Wilder to step up into the upper echelon and start taking on more significant and top tier names. With his performance tonight, you can’t help but look forward to seeing a hard hitting and skilled Heavyweight like Wilder mix it up and find out what he’s made of.
Jayson Velez got off to a slow start in his fight against Leiva Brea but made sure to end things emphatically. Brea, who on paper wasn’t considered much of an opponent, came to fight and made things interesting early on.
However once Velez got into rhythm, he began to control the fight and in the 6th round landed a monster left hook that dropped Brea. Brea would rise to his feet to beat the count but the fight was waived off by the referee at 1:47 mark.
In other action Dmitry Salita, who was making a return after a 16 month hiatus, made easy work of his experienced but limited opponent Roberto Valenzuela. Salita took control of the fight early and put on a sustained body attack to boot.
Valenzuela appeared to never really have an offensive response to Salita as he was on the defensive trying to avoid getting pummeled by the hard body shots. At the end of round 3, Salita landed a big left hook that put down Valenzuela.
Valenzuela would make it out the 3rd round but in the 4th, Salita would try his best to pour it on and forced the referee to halt the fight.
You can follow Luis Sandoval on Twitter @Truewest007. You can also tune in to The Boxing Lab, Boxingscene’s official audio show every Tuesday from 6-8PM PST with hosts Ernest Gabion, Luis Sandoval, and Ryan Burton.