By Teodoro Medina Reynoso
Deontay Wilder again lived up to his Bronze Bomber name by knocking out highly touted Cuban challenger Luis Ortiz in the seventh round in the defense of his WBC heavyweight title last weekend in Las Vegas.
Wilder has earlier defended the same title against the same Ortiz via 10th round knockout and just like in their first fight, he was being outboxed and outpunched before he delivered the coup de grace. Again it was his right hand that proved the killer.
It was his ninth successful title defense, all but one ending in knockout. He was held to a controversial draw in his previous defense by UK’s Tyson Fury who himself barely escaped being knocked out himself, thanks to a slow counting referee.
Wilder’s Bronze Bomber nom de guerre has been inspired by Joe Louis, the original Brown Bomber and his winning a bronze medal in the Olympics.
But definitely his Bomber tag fits him and aptly describes his manner of disposing off his opposition, all 41 of the 43 he has thus far faced, much like Louis did to many of his in his record reign at the same heavyweight division many decades ago.
In his prime, in winning and defending the world heavyweight championship, Louis knocked out 24 of his 26 opponents, including a revenge first round knockout of his then most bitter rival, Max Schmeling. The German known as the Black Uhlan pinned Louis his first loss, and first knockout defeat before Joe went on to establish his dominance in the heavyweights in 1938, shortly before the war, during the war and post war period, well into the late 40s.
Curiously, Wilder also has had his version of Louis’s first conqueror, Max Schmeling. In the US Russia dual meet in February 2008, Wilder faced a smaller, barely six foot but solid and stockily built Russian named Evgeny Romanov who went on to force a referee stopped contest after dropping him with hard combinations.
Later that same year in the semis of the Olympics, he lost to Italian Clemente Russo on points and Wilder had to settle for the bronze.
But it would also be the last time that the tall and lanky American will lose a boxing bout.
Turning pro in 2009, Wilder would rack up 32 consecutive wins, all by knockout before winning the WBC heavyweight crown via unanimous decision over Canadian Bermane Stiverne in 2013, becoming the first American since Shannon Briggs lost his WBO title in 2007 to win a major heavyweight belt since 1998.
He would proceed to rack up another nine knockouts, including eight straight, in the defense of his world title interrupted only by that controversial draw with British, Tyson Fury who many still regard as the lineal heavyweight champion.
His list of knockout victims also included the likes of Serhei Liakhovich, Chris Arreola, Kelvin Price, Malik Scott, Eric Molina, Johan Duhaupas, Arthur Spiltzka, Gerard Washington, Stiverne in their rematch and Dominic Brazeale.
With his latest another one-punch knockout of Ortiz, veteran boxing columnist, Dan Raphael considers him to be the greatest puncher not only in heavyweight but boxing history. He recently wrote:
“Many of us at ringside at MGM Grand argued that Wilder is the best, with all due respect to all time punchers as Mike Tyson, George Foreman, Joe Louis, Lennox Lewis, Sonny Liston and Earnie Shavers…
Wilder’s right hand, the punch that felled Ortiz for the 10-count, is boxing’s most destructive weapon, by far and is responsible for most of Wilder’s 41 knockouts. But Wilder does not even have to land his best shot to put a guy down and out…
One man who does not need to be convinced of Wilder’s power? British trainer Ben Davison who trains lineal champion Tyson Fury and was ringside on a scouting mission…
“He is the biggest puncher not just in heavyweight history, but boxing history-bar none,” Davison said after the (Ortiz) fight…
Of course, Davison already knows all about Wilder’s punching prowess from his controversial draw with Fury last December, when Wilder dropped Fury twice with right hands, in the ninth round and huge one in the 12th that Fury survived thanks to a generous count from the referee.”
I am inclined to agree. In all my more than fifty years following boxing, i have seen many and almost all types of knockout punchers from the heavyweight division down and i must admit that this is the first time I see a vastly different, unique kind of a knockout artist or specialist in Wilder.
He is like Louis and also Foreman in that his knockout punch is deceiving as it does not look powerful enough to take an opponent down and out. The awkward, looping, almost bolo punch like manner he deliver his knockout punch also deceives the eyes but the result is undeniable, as it leaves the opponent down, either totally out or hurt, helpless and unable to get to their feet.
We have seen Tyson with his explosiveness, Louis, Liston, Foreman and Shavers with their sheer heavy handedness and Lewis with his sheer physical size, power and athleticism.
But this is really the first time we are seeing a peg legged giant with the chilling power of a heavyweight Thomas Hearns minus his superb boxing skills.
Wilder indeed is a rare kind of a heavyweight bomber.