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Is Deontay Wilder The Next George Foreman? Or The Next Mac Foster?

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He’s 27 years old, stands 6’7″ and has an 84 inch reach, he’s undefeated, possesses a right hand that looks like a missile when it lands against the limited opposition that he’s had in front of him, and some observers think he’s perhaps the most promising American heavyweight to come along since Riddick Bowe. His name is Deontay Wilder and as of this writing he sports a perfect record of 29-0 (29) and is rumored to be fighting British heavyweight contender Dereck Chisora 17-4 (11) in his next fight. And yes, everyone who’s seen a heavyweight knockout artist ascend up the ranks has the same questions: who has he fought, how good is his stamina and what kind of chin does he have? And until he’s truly tested and fights a live fighter/contender we just don’t know if he’s closer to being the next Mac Foster or the next George Foreman.

From what can be garnered from watching him in his last few fights it can be said with impunity that when Wilder (seen above after last fight, a KO1 win over ex champ Sergei Liakhovich on Aug. 9) not worried about what’s coming back at him, he’s very willing to let his hands go and looks to end the fight with every right hand, left hook or uppercut that he launches. He’s also over-anxious and doesn’t seem to enter his bouts with anything on his mind other than landing his Sunday right hand. As to how he’ll deliver it seems to be no more than a passing thought, as though he thinks, ‘I’ll figure something out once the fight starts.’

Again, against the journeymen and stepping stone type opponents he’s faced, that’s been more than enough.

Physically, at 6’7″ and in the 235 pound range with his long arms, Wilder can present problems for any heavyweight in the world not named Klitschko once he blossoms and flowers into a first-tier contender down the road, assuming he doesn’t get chin checked and stopped along the way like the last American prospect, Seth Mitchell. The fact that he has a big knockout record will draw interest in him, but most sophisticated fans know it’s not how many you knock out, it’s who you knock out that sets you apart.

Back in the late 70s rising KO artist Mac Foster had compiled a perfect 24-0 (24) record, then he met tough guy and top tier contender Jerry Quarry at Madison Square Garden, on June 17, 1970. To date, Wilder’s biggest win is a first round knockout over former Olympic gold medalist and title challenger Audley Harrison. Heading into the Quarry fight, Foster’s record was littered with former top contenders and title challengers who were on the wrong side of the hill like Harrison.

However, there was an unforeseen problem Foster encountered when he fought Quarry, and that was after tagging him with his Sunday punch, Jerry buckled for a second and then proceeded to punch back. Foster slowly lost his nerve and went on to be counted out in the sixth round. In his next big fight Foster lost a 15 round decision to Muhammad Ali who was on the comeback trail after losing to “Smokin” Joe Frazier. After losing to Ali, Mac lost to every name fighter and contender he fought and finally retired in 1976 with a career record of 30-6 (30).

Then there’s George Foreman, who looked like a wild human wrecking machine on the way up. Prior to his title challenge against Joe Frazier, Foreman’s biggest win was a three round stoppage over rugged George Chuvalo. And like Wilder, to a degree, Foreman appeared wild at times and only concerned with landing his “anywhere punch,” as in, anywhere it lands it does damage. Prior to meeting Frazier, many ring observers questioned George’s power and ability to take a punch. After being in the ring with Frazier, the boxing world found out that Foreman was a genuine life-taker with both hands and not only could he take a punch but was also stronger than a country ox. At the end of the day George’s slight Achilles was his gas tank.

Deontay Wilder at this time is a good-looking prospect. The Chisora fight will give us only a slight indication as to who he really is as a fighter. And that’s because Chisora can be nailed with right hands on the way in, as we saw against David Haye. As to if Wilder punches as good as Haye, that’s anyone’s guess, but something we will know a little better after the fight. Then again Chisora may be a little easier to get out of there now that Haye has done so. Maybe the most we will find out about Wilder is how he reacts to pressure from a fighter who is looking to bring it as much as he is, which we can no doubt count on Chisora to do.

I’m confident in saying that Wilder hasn’t shown that he has the makings of the next great heavyweight, but in 2013/2014 one doesn’t have to be great to rule the heavyweight division, especially once Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko retire and there’s a scramble for their vacant title belts.

At this time no one can say for certain if Wilder is more Mac Foster than George Foreman. Although we may think we know, we really don’t, but we will in due time. It would be a needed injection for a genuine KO artist to come along and wake up the heavyweight division that has been in the doldrums for a decade.

Then again, if Wilder is only half as good as Foster, he’ll end up with a piece of the title sooner or later.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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Michael Dutchover Remains Undefeated in Ontario, Calif.

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ONTARIO-Calif.-Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

Lightweight prospect Dutchover (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out southpaw Aguilera (14-4-1, 4 KOs) in the fifth round with a barrage of body blows that left the Costa Rican limp at the Doubletree Hotel.

For two rounds Aguilar used an awkward counter-punching style that had Dutchover a little tentative. But once he figured out that combination punching was the key, he opened up with barrages and floored Aguilar with body shots at the end of round four.

That signaled doom for Aguilar.

The fifth round saw Dutchover target the body with impunity as Aguilar tried holding, running and covering up with no success. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth signaled the fight over at 2:31 of the fifth round giving Dutchover the win by knockout.

In a bantamweight clash Santa Ana’s Mario Hernandez (7-0-1, 3 KOs) and Mexico City’s Ivan Gonzalez (4-1-2, 1 KO) fought to a majority draw after six back and forth rounds.

Hernandez targeted the body against the taller Gonzalez who relied on long range counters. Both found success but neither could prove superiority after six turbulent rounds.

After six rounds one judge saw it 58-56 for Gonzalez but the two other judges saw it 57-57 for a majority draw.

Other bouts

South Central L.A.’s Ruben Torres (7-0, 6 KOs) extended his undefeated streak with a knockout over Mexico’s Eder “El Koreano” Amaro (6-6, 2 KOs) in a lightweight fight. But it wasn’t easy.

Amaro switched from southpaw to orthodox and was matching Torres for two rounds until the taller local fighter began blasting away to the body and head with precision. Many in the crowd cheered “Koreano” in unison but it couldn’t help once Torres zeroed in.

At the end of the fourth round Amaro could not continue and the fight was stopped giving a knockout for Torres.

Richard Brewart Jr. (2-0) mowed through Edward Aceves (0-5) flooring him with body shots in the first round then overwhelming him in the second. After seven unanswered blows referee Eddie Hernandez stopped the fight at 1:32 of round two giving Rancho Cucamonga’s Brewart the win by knockout in the super welterweight bout.

Southpaw David Ortiz (1-0) won his pro debut by unanimous decision after four rounds in a welterweight match against San Diego’s Mario Angeles (2-11-2). Ortiz lives in Bloomington, Calif. and is trained by Henry Ramirez. No knockdowns were scored.

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Charr-Oquendo Scuttled When Charr Tests Positive; the Odious WBA Saves Face

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Manuel Charr

Manuel Charr and Fres Oquendo were scheduled to fight in Cologne, Germany, later this month (Sept. 29). Charr would be defending his WBA world heavyweight title, the “regular” version of it, not the “super” version which rests in the hands of Anthony Joshua.

The bout was quickly cancelled when it was revealed that Charr had tested positive for two banned anabolic steroids. The test was performed by VADA, the anti-doping agency identified with Las Vegas neurologist Dr. Margaret Goodman.

The 33-year-old Charr, born in Lebanon but a resident of Germany since the age of three, won the belt in his last start with a unanimous decision over 281-pound Russian behemoth Alexander Ustinov in Oberhausen, Germany. The title was vacant. Charr won the right to fight for it with a 10-round decision over Albanian slug Sefer Seferi. The victory over Ustinov elevated his record to 31-4. He has been stopped three times, by Vitali Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin, and Mairis Briedis.

If it wasn’t for bad luck, as the old saying goes, Fres Oquendo wouldn’t have any luck at all. For various reasons, his fights keep falling out. Before long he’ll be drawing social security. Well, not exactly, but he turned 45 in April and hasn’t fought in more than four years.

Oquendo has competed for this belt before. In his last ring appearance in July of 2014, he lost a majority decision to Russia’s Ruslan Chagaev in Grozny, Russia. As a concession for taking the fight on short notice, Team Oquendo negotiated a rematch clause in the contract, but a shoulder injury prevented Fres from activating it. When the injury healed, he had to go to court to compel Chagaev to fulfill his obligation. But then the Russian retired, muddling the water.

The WBA was legally bound to find Oquendo a title fight and in desperation turned to ancient Shannon Briggs. But the Oquendo-Briggs fight, scheduled for June 3 of last year in Hollywood, Florida, fell out when Briggs’ urine specimen showed an abnormally high level of testosterone.

Fres Oquendo was dogged by bad luck even before these recent developments. His professional record, 37-8, is somewhat misleading as six of his eight defeats were razor-thin including his 2003 setback to Chris Byrd and his 2006 setback to Evander Holyfield. However, Oquendo, something of a cutie, was never a crowd-pleaser and in none of his narrow defeats was there a public clamor for a rematch.

The cancellation of Charr-Oquendo cuts the World Boxing Association out of a sanctioning fee, but one would think that the WBA honchos are actually rather pleased by this turn of events. The fight, more precisely the WBA’s world title imprimatur, would have brought more unwanted publicity to the Panama-based organization.

ESPN’s Dan Rafael, who has the largest platform of any boxing writer, has been a persistent critic of the organization which once recognized 41 “champions” in 17 weight classes. In 2009, Rafael wrote, “(The WBA) has become such an absolute farce that even somebody like me, who follows boxing closely, sometimes has a hard time keeping track of all the nonsensical so-called world title belts the WBA has been doling out at an alarming rate. It almost reminds me of the ladies at Costco who hand out various samples on a busy Saturday afternoon.”

Rafael took note when WBA president Gilberto Mendoza promised to cull the herd by eliminating “regular” titles, and then became more caustic when Mendoza didn’t follow through. Recently, in one short, punchy diatribe, Rafael blistered the WBA as wretched, vile, and rancid.

Regardless of your opinion, it’s hard not to feel sorry for Fres Oquendo who keeps getting stranded at the altar. No, he’s not fun to watch and a man of his age shouldn’t be taking any more punches, but he has always been an honest workman and by all accounts he’s a very decent man. Born in Puerto Rico but raised in Chicago, Oquendo pitched right in when the island nation of his birth was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. He was personally responsible for relocating Puerto Rican boxing legend Wilfred Benitez and Benitez’s sister, his caregiver, to Chicago where their lives wouldn’t be as hard.

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Bob Arum Hails Terence Crawford (not Lomachenko) as Boxing’s Next Superstar

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Arum says Terence

Top Rank’s Bob Arum says Terence Crawford will become this generation’s Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao–elite boxers who became worldwide celebrity sensations. Arum, who promoted both Mayweather and Pacquiao on the way to their historic crossover statuses expects big things from the undefeated Crawford over the next few years.

“He’s the best fighter in the United States, and he’s so charismatic,” said Arum. “He comes from middle America, and In the next year or so, he will be huge.”

Arum’s assertion is noteworthy for two reasons. First, Arum is also the promoter for Vasyl Lomachenko. Lomachenko is ranked No. 1 pound-for-pound by The Ring, the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. More importantly, Lomachenko seems to have a groundswell of support behind him both in the media and among fight fans.

Lomachenko has also been heavily featured through Top Rank’s television partnership with ESPN. While Crawford has achieved more in his career than Lomachenko (at least in my eyes) and, as noted by Arum, is a homegrown American talent, Lomachenko seems to be considered the more marketable commodity to that network judging by the amount of promotional materials ESPN has pumped out about the fighter over the last year.

The other reason Arum’s claim about Crawford is interesting is the performance of Canelo Alvarez over the weekend in his majority decision rematch win over Gennady Golovkin. Besides Mayweather and Pacquiao, Alvarez is the clear PPV leader among all of boxing’s current commodities, and his status as boxing’s new money fighter should only grow stronger after the best win of his career.

Still, Crawford is one of the few very elite fighters in all of boxing. He’s ranked No. 2 pound-for-pound by The Ring, the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.

While Lomachenko and Alvarez are also candidates to become boxing’s next big thing, there’s no doubt Crawford is also one of the few boxers in the sport right now with the right things in place to become the next Mayweather or Pacquiao.

Omaha’s Crawford is in the midst of an historic run. When he stopped Jeff Horn in round 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in June, Crawford captured a world title in his third different weight class, welterweight. This after Crawford had already captured two lineal boxing championships, as well as multiple alphabet titles, in both the lightweight and junior welterweight divisions.

By any measure, Crawford is truly one of the best boxers in the sport. Not only does he look the part in the ring on fight night (something more and more writers seem to value most when voting for pound-for-pound lists), but the fighter has already accomplished so much in his career that it seems Arum is doing more than the fiduciary duty of promoting his fighter when he ascribes to Crawford such lofty praise.

Crawford, still just 30 years old, is already halfway to matching Mayweather and Pacquiao’s shared record of most lineal championships. Over the course of his career, Mayweather captured lineal championships at junior lightweight, lightweight, welterweight, and junior middleweight. Pacquiao won his as a flyweight, featherweight, junior lightweight, and junior welterweight.

In order for Crawford to grab lineal championship No. 3, most believe he’ll have to go through welterweight phenom Errol Spence. While promotional entanglements might keep this superfight on the shelf for a while, Arum said he had no problem pitting Crawford against Spence in what would be one of the best matchups in recent memory.

“Absolutely,” said Arum when asked about working with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, who represents Spence, to make the fight. Could any response from him be more exciting? Crawford vs. Spence might be the next superfight in boxing. Both fighters are among the very elite, and unlike what ultimately happened with Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, who fought each other well past their peak years, both would be in the prime of their careers.

Winning that fight would certainly go a long way to making Arum’s vision of Crawford’s future come true. And who knows? Maybe Crawford really is the next Mayweather or Pacquiao. Heck, for all we know, he could even be on his way to doing something more.

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