By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Deontay Wilder would rank No. 1 or near the top of any objective list of the most powerful punchers in boxing.
The hard-hitting heavyweight champion has won by knockout in 39 of his 41 professional fights. The Tuscaloosa, Alabama, native also knocked out one of the two opponents that has gone the distance with him when he floored Bermane Stiverne three times and stopped him in the first round of their rematch 18 months ago.
Wilder won’t be found on any credible pound-for-pound lists, largely due to the technical flaws he has overcome to make eight title defenses. Many boxing observers also feel Tyson Fury out-boxed the WBC champion during their December 2 battle that resulted in a 12-round split draw.
Regardless, the 33-year-old Wilder couldn’t care less about where he ranks on such subjective lists. He is more concerned about defeating Dominic Breazeale on Saturday night and moving toward more lucrative fights – a rematch with Fury or the most profitable fight of all for him, a showdown with Anthony Joshua.
“I don’t keep up with pound-for-pound lists,” Wilder said after an open workout Tuesday night at Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn. “I don’t really care about it. So, I don’t care about pound-for-pound lists. I let those that care about it – I think that’s a question for someone else because I don’t keep up with it at all. I don’t care about that. I care about building my legacy and doing what I’m doing. I’m building for generational wealth. There will be one champion, one face and one name, and you’re looking at him.”
Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs) is consistently listed as an 8-1 favorite over Breazeale, who has lost only to IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO champ Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs). The 33-year-old Breazeale (20-1, 18 KOs), of Eastvale, California, is the mandatory challenger for Wilder’s title.
Their fight Saturday night will be the last of three matches Showtime will televise from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
In the co-featured fight, Gary Russell Jr. (29-1, 17 KOs), of Capitol Heights, Maryland, is set to defend his WBC featherweight championship versus Spain’s Kiko Martinez (39-8-2, 28 KOs). The show will start at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT with a 10-round, junior welterweight bout between Juan Heraldez (16-0, 10 KOs), of North Las Vegas, Nevada, and Argenis Mendez (25-5-2, 12 KOs, 1 NC), of Yonkers, New York.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.