Questions remain about Deontay Wilder’s viability as a top fighter

By Will Arons - 10/17/2022 - Comments

Deontay Wilder did what many expected him to do in knocking out the slow 38-year-old Robert Helenius in the first round last Saturday night in his comeback fight.

The fans that want to believe that Wilder (43-2-1, 42 KOs) is back and the same guy that he once was were excited about his victory over his old sparring partner Helenius.

Unfortunately, the reality is Wilder proved nothing with this win other than he can still KO tomato cans like he’d done earlier in his career.

For the casuals that don’t keep up with boxing, Helenius was knocked out by Gerald Washington in the eighth round in 2019. Washington is a mediocre heavyweight that has lost five out of his last seven fights.

Wilder only landed three punches against Helenius because he was on his bike the entire fight, worried about getting his chin checked by the big Finnish fighter.

We saw that Wilder lacked the self-confidence to stand in the pocket to fight Helenius in a traditional fight, and if not for the contest ending in the first, he would have been booed out of the Barclays Center Arena last Saturday night in New York.

The way that Wilder fought wouldn’t work against quality heavyweights that possess better chins, speed, power, and ability. What would have happened is Wilder would have gotten fatigued from his movement, and lost weak legs would have turned to rubber, as they had in his two losses to Tyson Fury.

Once Wilder’s legs were gone, his power would have disappeared, and he’d been knocked out once again. For Wilder to show that he’s back in the real sense, he’s going to need to prove himself against these types of heavyweights:

Tyson Fury
Oleksandr Usyk
Andy Ruiz Jr
Anthony Joshua
Joe Joyce
Filip Hrgovic
Frank Sanchez
Daniel Dubois
Joseph Parker

Andy Ruiz could be next for Wilder because it doesn’t look like he’s going to get a title shot against IBF/WBA/WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk like he’d been hoping.

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Unless Wilder ducks the Ruiz fight, he’ll be facing him in a final WBC title eliminator to determine the mandatory for Fury. It would be a difficult fight for Wilder because Ruiz has a good chin and fast hands, and he’s an excellent counterpuncher.

If Wilder chooses to move as much as he did against Helenius in a fight with Ruiz, he’s going to get tired and get stopped. All the fans that were under the mistaken impression that Wilder is back, they’ll be sadly be disappointed.

“Deontay Wilder is back,” Wilder said after the fight. “The excitement in the heavyweight division is back. I knew what he is capable of.

“I didn’t take him for granted. I could look in his eyes. He wanted to be [the first Finnish] heavyweight champion.”