After Saturday night, when big Deontay Wilder knocked out Cuban fighter Luis Ortiz, the world of heavyweight boxing became very interesting again.
Wilder at 6’7, is 42-0-1, and sometime in February, he is expected to fight 6’9 Tyson Fury (what a great name for a boxer), who is 31-0-1. I would pay to see that fight and I do not usually pay to see any sporting event.
Growing up in the era of Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Ken Norton and Larry Holmes, we were always thrilled by any heavyweight fight, because all of them were great.
Then came the Mike Tyson era, but his fights were always very one-sided, at least until the night that Buster Douglas surprised the world by making Tyson look human.
There haven’t been a lot of great heavyweights since Tyson, and Lennox Lewis, who never really got his due.
But now it seems that we could have boxing interest growing once again, as Wilder looks like he may be one of the hardest punchers ever. His comment after Saturday night’s fight in telling.
“Guys I’m fighting have to be perfect for 12 rounds. I only have to be perfect for two seconds.”
Wilder is not a polished fighter. He doesn’t really box, he just throws haymakers, but they are some of the hardest punches ever seen.
Joe Louis had a powerful punch with either hand. George Foreman could knock a man down with his left jab he was so strong and Tyson was a dynamo who simply came out of his corner wound tight as a spring and could deck anyone with either hand.
Wilder reminds me more of Earnie Shavers, who never won the heavyweight title because he did not defend himself well. But Muhammad Ali said that Shavers hit harder than anyone he ever fought and many other boxers agreed with that statement. Shavers seemed like he had iron inside his gloves.
Wilder was losing on the scorecards against Cruz, but then in the seventh round, he sent a straight right at Cruz’ chin and the Cuban pugilist went to the canvas like a felled tree. The fight was over.
If the fight with Tyson Fury comes off, it will match two of the tallest men ever to step in the ring.
It will look more like Karl Malone fighting Larry Bird than a typical boxing match, but that is what will make it so interesting.
There is no predicting who might win, but you can assume that it won’t go the distance, as it did the other time they met.
With that sort of punching power, someone will end up on the canvas.
* * *
For some reason, I got talked into putting in one more season coaching girls’ high school basketball.
There is not much interest in the program, as kids go play with premier soccer teams and volleyball teams or they get a job so they can support paying for a car.
I asked around for suggestions on how to make the season go at least somewhat smoothly. I was told to make practices more fun and the way to do that is to allow the players to have music blasting for much of practice.
That garbage that you listen to when you are at a game and the teams are warming up can now be played throughout much of the practice.
They say it motivates the players and makes them more focused. They become more upbeat and will work more intensely. The practice will go by quicker and more will get done.
Now there is a problem there too. I do not know any of the songs that these kids like, but they say that there are many curse words and talk of killing in some of them. That music is unacceptable.
Fortunately I coach with a woman who is only about 10 years older than the players and she knows which songs are inappropriate. She will go through their playlists and erase the more derogatory tunes.
That just leaves one important thing for me to do. Buy myself some real heavy duty earplugs.