Deontay Wilder-Gerald Washington: Pre-Fight Report Card

By Cliff Rold, photo by Ryan Hafey/PBC

Not everyone comes to boxing first.

Given a slightly different path in life, maybe Deontay Wilder is playing college basketball or football instead of entering a boxing gym at 19. He’s come a long way in the twelve years since. With limited experience and a ton of natural talent, he snared an Olympic bronze medal. After careful, methodical building as a professional, he’s got a belt and is inching closer to some potentially huge fights.

Gerald Washington came to boxing even later. After a four-year sojourn in the Navy, Washington played football for USC and made a couple NFL practice squads before exploring the sweet science. Turned pro at 30, he’s faced and defeated faded vets like Eddie Chambers and Ray Austin.

Is that enough to merit a title shot? Maybe not, but when an opponent was needed on short notice, was he supposed to turn it down?   

wilder-washington-weights (5)

Let’s go the report card.

The Ledger

Deontay Wilder
Age: 31
Title: WBC heavyweight (2015-Present, 4 defenses)
Previous Titles: None
Height: 6’7  
Weight: 222 lbs.
Hails from: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Record: 37-0, 36 KO?
Record in Major Title Fights: 5-0, 4 KO
Rankings: #2 (Ring, Boxing Monthly, BoxRec), #3 (ESPN), #4 (BoxingScene, TBRB)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced: 1 (Sergey Lyakhovich)
Gerald Washington
Age: 34
Title: None
Previous Titles: None
Height: 6’6  
Weight: 239 lbs.
Hails from: San Jose, California 
Record: 18-0-1, 12 KO
Record in Major Title Fights: No title fights to date
Rankings: Unranked
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced: 0

Pre-Fight: Speed – Wilder A-; Washington B
Pre-Fight: Power – Wilder A; Washington B
Pre-Fight: Defense – Wilder B; Washington C+
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Wilder B+; Washington B

There are some things to like about Washington so far. He feints well, seems to be learning on the job, and for this fight is the lowest weight he’s ever been. He’s got a little pop in his right hand and has tremendous size. Against an athletic but sometimes technically troubled heavyweight like Wilder, he might have a puncher’s chance.

What Washington does wrong leaves cause for concern. He keeps his hands low and his chin high. He still pulls straight back and often with his head squared right up. Wilder is an explosive, deceptively fast heavyweight. His power is legitimate and will likely be the most Washington has seen to date. Amir Mansour, who Washington drew with to some contention, can also crack but he’s not shown the sort of concussive force Wilder can.

Will Wilder unleash that power easily? That’s a big question. He broke his hand against Chris Arreola. The big money fights he wants would be further set back with another injury. Could that constrain Wilder? If so, could it open a door for Washington?

It’s not the best heavyweight fight we could ask for, but it’s at least a notable fight in prime time this Saturday (Fox, 8 PM EST/5 PM PST).   

The Pick

Washington should be commended for coming as far as he’s come to date. To go from football well into his twenties to a title shot, no matter how specious his credentials, in his mid-30s is a testament to the work it took to come this far. He’s stood in there with some solid pros and shown real development. What he hasn’t done is ever work out the kinks. He’s still stiff, holds his hands very low, and telegraphs his right hand. Could he land the perfect shot? Sure, but let’s deal in the most likely. Against Wilder, a faster and more fluid fighter, his flaws will mean absorbing some big bombs. Eventually, the ending bomb will land and Wilder will remain undefeated. 

Report Card and Staff Picks 2017: 2-3 

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by JASON SHAW on 02-25-2017

[QUOTE=yammy25;17452961]yeah this years definitely got the wheels on grease its shaping up to be really good. I have crolla losing by heavy MD. He's one of the most durable boxers in terms of body and his inside punch resistance is…

Comment by yammy25 on 02-25-2017

[QUOTE=JASON SHAW;17452951]thanks mate! im gonna try to stream it! at least we get to see linares vs crolla2 on showtime here in the states.... 2017 is already shaping up to one if the best years in boxing in a while!!![/QUOTE]…

Comment by JASON SHAW on 02-25-2017

[QUOTE=yammy25;17452872]I think around 10 ish, scheduled to finish at about 11.15pm GMT, roughly an hour and half before Sky sports show the deontay fight for us in Britain.[/QUOTE] thanks mate! im gonna try to stream it! at least we get…

Comment by yammy25 on 02-25-2017

[QUOTE=JASON SHAW;17452832]so the main event will be around 10 or 11 pm right?[/QUOTE] I think around 10 ish, scheduled to finish at about 11.15pm GMT, roughly an hour and half before Sky sports show the deontay fight for us in…

Comment by JASON SHAW on 02-25-2017

[quote=yammy25;17452750]sorry mate this didnt come up on my notifications. It starts in half hour pal. Or the undercard of it does at least.[/quote] so the main event will be around 10 or 11 pm right?

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