Donning Muhammad Ali-inspired trunks, WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (37-0, 36 KOs) had no trouble with Chris Arreola (36-5-1) on Saturday night in Birmingham, Alabama.
Wilder earned a technical-knockout victory when Arreola's corner stopped the fight as its battered fighter came over to the stool after the eighth round.
It was the right call, as Wilder was teeing off on Arreola with a stiff and damaging jab. Arreola's left eye was swollen shut, and he was bleeding above his right eye.
Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole applauded the decision to stop the fight:
Kevin Iole @KevinI
Good job by Henry Ramirez there. Chris had no chance to win at that point.2016-7-17 02:31:45
Here's a look at the lopsided numbers, per CompuBox:
Complete domination as @BronzeBomber lands 52% of his power shots @premierboxing https://t.co/NVIKfLhx7V2016-7-17 02:33:02
Arreola is past his prime and known for being in less-than-ideal shape for fights. The 35-year-old looked as good as he has in a long while, but he was still no match for Wilder.
Despite the inferior competition, Wilder's performance was impressive considering he revealed a right hand and shoulder injury during his post-fight interview on the Fox broadcast. He wasn't as aggressive as he has been in previous fights, but he did a great job of hiding the pain.
Arreola couldn't get inside to do any damage, and Wilder snapped his head back with the jab innumerable times. It was a clinic while it lasted, and Wilder again showed his boxing skills are developing.
Originally, Wilder was supposed to face Alexander Povetkin. But the latter failed a pre-fight drug test, and the bout was called off. Arreola stepped in to take an opportunity to fight for the title, and Wilder did his job by winning handily.
Who's next in line?
Will he challenge the winner of the rematch between WBA and WBO heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and Wladimir Klitschko, or will he take on fellow Showtime stablemate and IBF titleholder Anthony Joshua?
Wilder had an answer for that—sort of—per Premier Boxing Champions:
"I don't play boxing. Of course I want the Furys, of course I want the Joshuas. The question is: Do they want me??" - @BronzeBomber2016-7-17 02:37:33
A fight between Wilder and the winner of the Fury-Klitschko bout or Joshua would be interesting, and it would likely be the biggest heavyweight bout since Lennox Lewis battled Vitali Klitschko in 2003.
Even if Wilder, Fury, Klitschko and Joshua aren't ready to unify the titles, the boxing community is; hopefully that counts for something.