By Steve Kim
Since defeating Bermane Stiverne with a twelve round unanimous decision in January of 2015 to capture the WBC heavyweight title, Deontay Wilder has defeated the likes of Eric Molina, Johann Duhaupas, Artur Szpilka, Chris Arreola and Gerard Washington in a string of rather uneven performances which have led some to believe he has actually regressed during his stint as a belt-holder.
But Don House, who trains Stiverne, states - "Here's the thing, I don't think he's regressed. A guy gets comfortable when you keep hand-picking opponents and you don't have to put in much effort. So his opponents been hand-picked so he knows what he's going to do with them."
Stiverne and Wilder will lock up once again this coming Saturday night in a mandatory rematch from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The fight came about after previous opponent Luis Ortiz failed a pre-fight drug test. Stiverne, who was already fighting on the card and is currently the mandatory challenger under the WBC, was elevated to the main event.
What's alarming to some is that while Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) keeps on winning, he actually struggled a bit with the likes of Washington before stopping him in five.
"Some of these guys show up to fight - and like this guy, he showed up to fight but he didn't have enough to beat Deontay," House said of Washington, who faced Wilder back in February in what was his last outing.
"Deontay's strong enough and he got rid of him. I don't think he's regressed. I just think he knows he's going to win.
"So knowing you're going to win, you kind of get un-motivated - if that's a word."
If Wilder wins on Saturday, it will bring him one step closer to a potential 2018 unification with IBF, IBO, WBA champion Anthony Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs).
Steve Kim is the news editor for BoxingScene.com.