Could Rising Heavyweight Deontay Wilder Beat a Klitschko?

Ralph Longo@ IIIDecember 17, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 15:  Deontay Wilder celebrates following his Vacant WBC Continental Americas Heavyweight title fight victory over Kelvin Price at Los Angeles Sports Arena on December 15, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

After Deontay Wilder's (26-0, 26 KO's) third round destruction of the previously unbeaten Kelvin Price, the question has to be asked, does Wilder have a shot to beat a Klitschko? That's ultimately what it comes down to if you're a heavyweight these days, and for most the answer is a resounding no. 

So, does Wilder have what it takes? 

First, the positives. Wilder stands at 6'7" and is still adding weight to his frame, but he's about 225 pounds, which is fine to compete with the big boys of the division. He's only 27 years old and isn't even at the peak of his skills yet. Wilder is extremely athletically gifted, and while still very raw, possesses near super-human power in his right hand.

His hand and foot speed are above average as well, and his arm length and reach are as large or larger than almost any Heavyweight on the scene. 

If he's able to get that right hand to the chin of one of the Klitschko brothers, he really does legitimately have a chance to knock them out. He has about as much force in his punches as anyone we've seen in recent years.

He hasn't fought great fighters, but to knock out 26 guys in a row is no easy feat and is accomplished by very few. 

Wilder does have a lot of potential drawbacks that would make it a difficult fight if he ever steps in there with Wladimir or Vitali. Wilder's defense seems to be lacking, and he tries so hard to land his big shots that he often leaves himself open to counters. 

Wilder's also not really technically proficient yet, which could pose serious issues for him. I can picture Wladimir Klitschko just jabbing from range and picking Wilder apart from distance and clinching him when he gets in close. 

The biggest question mark for me is how will Wilder react when he's truly tested? He's yet to really have to dig down deep and really fight, so how will he respond if he's knocked down or hurt? Will he have the mettle and fortitude to fight back, or will he pack it in when he meets a challenger that can take his best shot? 

Ideally, Wilder will match up against a top American contender like Bryant Jennings or Chris Arreola next year. This will give us a better picture of who the best American Heavyweight is. Either fight represents a real test for Wilder and will give us a better idea of who he is as a fighter. 

So, right now, the answer to if Deontay Wilder can beat a Klitschko is that we're not quite sure. Hopefully though, we'll find out soon enough.