Thursday, March 13, 2014
Wilder set for toughest test in Scott
By Dan Rafael
Deontay Wilder will look to finish his 31st straight opponent Saturday when he faces Malik Scott.
Deontay Wilder is as imposing as any heavyweight out there. The 2008 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist is 6-foot-7, a chiseled 225 pounds and possesses a devastating right hand.
That right hand has been the weapon Wilder (30-0, 30 KOs) has primarily used to knock out every one of his professional opponents, none of whom have lasted beyond the fourth round.
Clearly, Wilder looks like he could be the next heavyweight champion of the world, especially considering that he has done well as a regular sparring partner for champion Wladimir Klitschko, who can't speak highly enough about Wilder's potential.
But Wilder also has never faced an opponent of remote note. In boxing circles, the woeful opposition "The Bronze Bomber" has faced is mocked regularly.
Despite his pathetic opposition, Wilder, thanks to his connections -- adviser Al Haymon and promoter Golden Boy -- finds himself just one win from becoming a mandatory challenger for the now-vacant alphabet world title, which will be filled on May 10 by the winner of the Bermane Stiverne-Chris Arreola rematch.
And at least Wilder, 28, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., will be facing a legitimate opponent in the final eliminator when he tangles with Malik Scott on Saturday night (Showtime, 9 p.m. ET, with preliminary bout on Showtime Extreme beginning at 7 p.m. ET/PT) at the Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.
The fight is on the undercard of junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia (27-0, 16 KOs) of Philadelphia -- but whose parents were both born in Puerto Rico -- defending against Mauricio Herrera (20-3, 7 KOs) of Riverside, Calif.
"I haven't seen Malik Scott personally fight but he has been in my camp before," Wilder said. "He was one of my sparring partners in my past camps. He was a lot of help and very competitive. He knows my style and what I bring to the table. We know each other's style. Whoever gets first to the punch will win. The smarter and better looking person will win and that's going to be me."
Scott (36-1-1, 13 KOs), a safety-first fighter, does not throw many punches and tries to frustrate his opponents. The two blemishes on his record both came in his past three fights, so maybe he is on the downside in his career.
Last year, he fought to a disputed draw with Vyacheslav Glazkov and then was controversially knocked out by Dereck Chisora in the sixth round in England. In a tune-up fight before facing Wilder, Scott scored a second-round knockout of a sub-.500 opponent in January.
The 6-4, 240-pound Scott, 33, of Philadelphia, has been a pro for 14 years and this is, by far, the most significant fight of his career. He understands the importance of Saturday's fight.
"I am extremely excited and I am taking on a dangerous fighter with the magnitude of Deontay's punching power and the aura that has been built around him," Scott said. "It will take that type of fighter for me to rise to the great level that I believe I am going to be at come Saturday night. I believe out of everyone that has fought Deontay, I have the highest skill. I am not coming to test him; I am coming to beat him. I'm happy for this opportunity and come Saturday night I am going to take full advantage of it. "