Manny Pacquiao Names Deontay Wilder the Best Active Heavyweight Boxer in the World

Published 08/19/2021, 11:17 AM EDT
NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 03: Deontay Wilder is tended to in his corner against Luis Ortiz during their WBC Heavyweight Championship fight at Barclays Center on March 3, 2018 in the Brooklyn Borough of New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)


In the next few months, boxing’s heavyweight division will see significant developments. Two-time unified champion Anthony Joshua will face the undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk on September 25. Nearly two weeks after this massive event, two-time champion Tyson Fury and former WBC champion Deontay Wilder will finally settle scores on October 9.

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Boxing icon Manny Pacquiao recently appeared on the Last Stand Podcast with Brian Custer. They talked about Errol Spence Jr’s retina tear injury and his expectations from his fight against Yordenis Ugas on August 21. Custer also asked Pacquiao about his top pick in the heavyweight division led by Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, and even Deontay Wilder.

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The Filipino Senator picked Deontay Wilder as his favorite in the heavyweight division to Brian Custer’s surprise. ‘The People’s Champ’ knows a good boxer when he sees one. Can Deontay Wilder restore his name in the championship column?

What went wrong in the first two fights?

As a professional boxer, Deontay Wilder has fought 44 times and has won 42 of those. His infamous right hand has allowed him to secure 41 wins by knockout. The only 2 deviations in his otherwise exceptional record have come from a single opponent, Tyson Fury.

In the first fight, Deontay Wilder showed an offense-oriented approach, started off strong, and even dropped his opponent multiple times. However, Tyson Fury was quick to identify loopholes in Wilder’s defense and overall movement. In the second half of the first fight, Fury completely turned his game around by showing world-class movement, footwork, and defense. This helped him close the first bout with a draw.

Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury during the WBC Heavyweight Championship bout at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 1, 2018. See PA story BOXING Los Angeles. Photo credit should read: Lionel Hahn/PA Wire (Photo by Lionel Hahn/PA Images via Getty Images)

However, things went south for ‘The Bronze Bomber’ in the second fight. While Tyson Fury was even more aggressive as well as defensive the second time, Deontay Wilder showed no significant improvements in his game plan.

Even in the second clash, he was deadset on securing a knockout. This one-track mindset allowed Tyson Fury to adopt a ‘stick and move’ approach. ‘The Gypsy King’ stopped his opponent in round 7.

Can Deontay Wilder pull off the greatest upset of 2021?

Critics of ‘The Bronze Bomber’ like to have a fisheye focus on the glove tampering and the muscle-relaxant spiked water claims. However, most often ignore or forget the Alabama native’s achievements in the sport. While Wilder’s right hand is his most effective weapon, his training for the trilogy fight shows that he is trying to unlock new weapons in his arsenal as well.

Based on recent training videos shared by Deontay Wilder’s team, it seems fans might see a different version of ‘The Bronze Bomber’ this time around. In the videos, he seems more active on his feet and agile with his movement. It appears as if the former champ is also shiting his focus on landing effective body shots, this is something that fans did not see in the first two fights.

TUSCALOOSA, AL – FEBRUARY 11: Deontay Wilder, 34-year-old WBC Heavyweight meets the press at the Skyy Boxing gym on February 11, 2020 Tuscaloosa. Alabama. The media session was held ahead of his upcoming Heavyweight title bout against Tyson Fury on February 22nd in Las Vegas. At the Skyy Boxing gym in his hometown of Tuscaloosa. Alabama. (Photo by Neville Elder/Corbis via Getty Images)

If he can implement these changes and not be influenced by Fury’s unconventional movements, Deontay Wilder definitely will have a fair chance of winning the third fight.  If he can pull off this upset over Fury, his next challenger could be Anthony Joshua or even Oleksandr Usyk.

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There are exciting times ahead for the division, how do you think this heavyweight storyline plays out?

 

 

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Sanjit Misra

251 articles

Sanjit Misra is a boxing author at EssentiallySports. Sanjit fused this passion for writing with his love for jabs, hooks, weaves, and uppercuts and entered the realm of boxing journalism. The elegance, the science, the techniques, and the finesse of hand-to-hand combat was what initially drew him into the world of boxing.

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