It's been a while since the days when the heavyweight division in boxing was the most exciting in the sport. The division was always the most prominent in years past with names such as Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Joe Frazier, among others to solidify the weight class. Not since the '80s and '90s era with Mike Tyson have we seen an exciting American heavyweight champion.
Of course, the weight class has clearly been dominated by the Klitschko brothers. But all of that might change soon with two emerging stars who have the potential to bring excitement back into the division. Their names are Deontay Wilder and Bryant Jennings.
Wilder is coming off a bout where he annihilated what was supposed to be his toughest opponent to date in Malik Scott. But the contest was stopped one round in after Scott was caught with a thunderous left hook, followed by a straight right, which sent him crashing to the canvas. This brought back memories of a time when a young Tyson destroyed a prime Michael Spinks.
Wilder is currently 31-0 with 31 knockouts, which is impressive even by Tyson's standards. He has yet to have a fight last more than four rounds, due to his ferocious punching power. However, he receives a lot of criticism for quality of opponents. But as he continues to win in dominating fashion, he will inevitably be forced to fight tougher names such as Chris Areola, Tomasz Adamek and maybe one day the ultimate challenger in Wladimir Klitschko.
His brash personality outside the ring will help him be a big draw inside the ring if he continues to win. He can take notes from some of the best trash talkers in boxing history such as Ali, Floyd Mayweather and Tyson. He has recently even claimed that he could beat up a young Tyson and Ali.
In the fight against Scott, he entered the ring with what appeared to be a gladiator mask, one that brought back shades of a young Bernard Hopkins and his executioner mask he wore back in the day. He also has a nickname similar to that of the great Joe Louis. Instead of the “Brown Bomber,” he is the “Bronze Bomber.” Wilder’s tactics inside the ring and out will make him a big draw in the future.
Bryant Jennings, the other up-and-coming name to look out for in the heavyweight division, hails from Philadelphia and has been just as dominant, but with a more technical style of fighting. The 29-year-old prospect is 18-0 with 10 KOs. In Jennings’ last fight, he showed his superior footwork and quick hand speed against Polish native Artur Szpilka.
He possesses a phenomenal jab, with his lengthy 84' reach. Like Evander Holyfield, he is humble but gets the job done when he needs to. Additionally, his grit and determination help him stand out in the ring and outside of it.
Jennings is not only a boxer, but he holds a full-time job, where he works as a mechanic at the Federal Reserve Bank. Like Rocky, he just wants a shot at the heavyweight title, which he will receive in due time if he keeps up his torrid pace.
A potential matchup between the two has been discussed in the past, but in reality it would not make sense to put together this early in both their respected careers. Both fighters will try to build their brands as best they can before a big payday. But if they are able to keep up what they have been doing, the public will be clamoring for the fight—just like it has been for Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
Both of these guys have the potential to revive the heavyweight division. If these two prospects keep winning the fights that they are supposed to, then we may once again see the days of Tyson vs. Holyfield—the slugger vs. the tactician. It would sure be a shame if this fight was not eventually made between these two.