Mancuso: Now Give Deontay Wilder The Chance

Yes it was a mismatch and all 2:59 of a first round at the Barclays Center Saturday night. But Deontay Wilder did what he said and made a mockery of Bermane Stiverne the mandatory challenger for the WBC Heavyweight title. And with that it is time to give Deontay Wilder the opportunity and unify the titles.

And the heavyweight division deserves a unified champion which has always been the intent of Wilder, the lone American to hold one of the alphabet soup belts. Wilder deserves that chance but the boxing fans need to accept him and that goes worldwide.

Are you hearing this Anthony Joshua? The other part of this title picture is Joshua the popular British heavyweight who defended his title a fourth time with a 10th round knockout over Carlos Takam last weekend in front of 76,000  fans in Cardiff, Wales.

But to get this unification fight sealed, and in boxing this is never easy, Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn would prefer to fight before the large crowd in Wales, or avoid Widler and take on Dillian Whyte who is that other British contender.

More so, Wilder and his promoter Lou DiBella are looking for that respect. In other words, Stiverne was the mandatory challenger of choice when Luis Ortiz failed another drug test. This was a rematch of two years ago that saw Wilder take the WBC title in a unanimous decision.

And last year there was another failed drug test from Alexander Povetkin, so Widler was inactive and they said he was avoiding opponents. All along, Deontay Wilder asked for acceptance and  to get that respect with a goal of unifying the heavyweight title.

It got to the point last week when Wilder made that declaration, and it was loud and clear. If he did not defeat Stiverne than he would step away from boxing and part of that was not getting that opportunity to face Joshua and unify the division.

So now Widler did his end of the bargain. But as always, boxing politics will make this interesting before we see Joshua and Wilder in the ring. The talk is a possible unification in the spring of the new year, the venue not determined.

Anthony Joshua has his followers, and if Deontay Wilder does not then there needs to be an intense question as to why he has not been accepted. And please don’t blame Wilder for facing Stiverne Saturday night and only because  that was a mandatory choice of the WBC that calls the shots with their title.

After putting an overweight Stiverne on the mat three times, a joke for  a contender, Wilder said it again, “I just want to prove that I am the best. I know I am the best but I want to prove I am the best.”

He added, and referred directly to Joshua “I declare war upon you. Do you accept my challenge? I’ve been waiting for a long time. I know I’m the champion. I know I’m the best, Are you up for the test? I want Joshua, If he doesn’t give me the fight we have other plans.”

However, there can be no other plan. The time is now and the cards are on the table to unify this heavyweight title and put that division back on the map. Deontay Wilder deserves that opportunity and support just like his adversary overseas.

“I hope the American fans start embracing and supporting their American heavyweight champion the way the UK supports Anthony,” DiBella said.

Perhaps they will now as boxing fans deserve to see the two best heavyweights in the ring. However as stated here more than once, this is boxing and getting it right always seems to resemble the shenanigans of the political orbit in Washington D.C.

And for now Deontay Wilder deserves that support to unify the title. It has to be done whether you respect him or not because the division has always been the face of boxing.

Comment Rich Mancuso: [email protected]  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso


About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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