The Hottest Boxing Storylines for the Week of September 28
Big fight weekend down, big fight weekend on tap.
Deontay Wilder successfully defended his WBC Heavyweight Championship with an entertaining Round 11 TKO win over Johann Duhaupas on Saturday night in Birmingham, Alabama.
We ponder whether or not Wilder should be encouraged or worried about his performance against a fighter who came in completely unknown but probably won many fans with his toughness.
Next we turn to the coming week's action, which features Adrien Broner and Lucas Matthysse competing for world titles on different networks, the impending return of Antonio Margarito and the postponement of Wladimir Klitschko vs. Tyson Fury.
These are the hottest boxing storylines for the week.
Should Deontay Wilder Be Concerned?
Why do we all slow down to look at car accidents on the highway?
That question is about the best way to describe my feelings while watching Wilder, a heavyweight belt-holder known for his massive punching power, continuously pummel a game and overmatch Duhaupas with hooks, uppercuts, stiff jabs and everything just short of the literal kitchen sink.
Round after round, the challenger kept coming, kept trying, kept getting walloped with the types of shots that have almost always sent Wilder's opponents to sleep and then to the local hospital for a brain scan to make sure none of their marbles had been permanently knocked loose.
Duhaupas never went down, though, admittedly, there were plenty of times where a lot of us probably wished he would just so he would stop taking that punishment, and referee Jack Reiss had to be the one to finally pull the plug in Round 11.
The stoppage was absolutely the right call, even if the corner probably should've done it a couple of rounds earlier to save their guy unnecessary pain and suffering.
So what do we make of this fight?
Does Wilder get credit for overcoming adversity (which included a tougher-than-advertised opponent and a badly swelled left eye) or should he be worried that he put everything in the arsenal on an unknown's dome and never put him down?
Like most of those types of questions, the answer likely finds itself somewhere in the middle.
Wilder deserves credit for sticking with it and not getting frustrated, and Duhaupas, well, that guy deserves credit for being one hell of a tough SOB with an iron chin and an iron will.
Will Adrien Broner Finally Take Things Seriously?
You'd have to figure that Broner is probably running out of chances.
The Problem is a three-division champion, but his mouth has far outpaced his performances in the ring of late. He was manhandled by Marcos Maidana for his first career defeat late in 2013 before he reeled of a string of victories over second-tier foes to get back into the hunt.
But then Broner put forth his worst and most embarrassing performance earlier this year, losing a unanimous decision to Shawn Porter in a fight where he clowned, fouled and held but showed no game plan or ability to adapt, again.
He faces former world champion Khabib Allakhverdiev Saturday night on Showtime with the (somehow) vacant WBA Super Lightweight Championship on the line. The title used to belong to Danny Garcia, who has since moved up to welterweight, and Jose Benavidez is the interim champion, but this type of title manipulation is par for the course with the WBA.
The real question, largely meaningless belts aside, is whether or not Broner, who, love him or hate him, is a talented fighter, will finally buckle down and prove his worth in the ring and not by turning people off with his ludicrous comparisons and antics.
Allakhverdiev might not be a household name (his lone loss came in somewhat controversial fashion to Jessie Vargas) but he comes to fight, and he's not likely to fall victim to Broner's mind games. He can pull off the upset if his man once again comes to tell but not show how good he can be.
A loss would all but put that final nail in the coffin of Broner, who, unlike his idol and mentor, Floyd Mayweather, isn't so much polarizing as he is becoming frustrating and unlikable.
Can Lucas Matthysse Solve the Puzzle?
Lucas Matthysse is a wrecking ball of a puncher—we all know that—but he's been outboxed in all of his professional losses, though two of those (Zab Judah and Devon Alexander) are the subjects of considerable debate.
The Argentine takes another crack at a world title Saturday night on HBO when he faces undefeated Viktor Postol for the WBC Super Lightweight Championship recently vacated by Garcia.
Postol is a tricky boxer with a couple of decent names on his ledger, but you'd be understating it by saying he's never been in there with a puncher who can crack with the force of Matthysse. So we won't really know how he'll handle that sort of pressure until the bell rings.
Matthysse was last seen boxing (crazy, right?) his way to a majority-decision win (which should've been unanimous) over Ruslan Provodnikov in a Fight-of-the-Year candidate this past April in upstate New York. Most fans expected a high-octane war but were instead given something a bit more tactical with many moments of intense action but also a fair bit of boxing rather than slugging.
It's doubtful that Matthysse will be quite as focused on countering and picking off his opponent coming forward as he was against the relentless Siberian slugger, largely because that would seem to play right into the Ukrainian's strengths.
Most will likely pencil in Matthysse as the overwhelming favorite, rightfully, but Postol's tricky style could make this fight much closer and more entertaining than you'd think at first glance.
And an upset is certainly not out of the question.
Should We Be Happy About Antonio Margarito's Impending Return?
Allow me to confess something.
Hand-wraps scandal or no hand-wraps scandal, what did happen, could have happened or might have happened, Margarito was always one of my favorite fighters.
The Tijuana Tornado's relentless pressure and aggression, his willingness to take your best shot for five, six, seven rounds, knowing that he'll eventually get to you and see what you're made of, was always entertaining and fun to watch.
Margarito retired shortly after receiving a pair of wicked beatings from Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto back to back, fights that left him with severe damage to his right eye. With three losses in his last four fights and that type of injury, he called it quits.
It was just a couple of weeks ago that speculation began flying that Margarito was planning a comeback that now seems all but certain.
Steve Kim of Boxing Scene reported last week that Margarito has been examined by noted ophthalmologists and received a green light to resume his boxing career. His eye, which nearly derailed his rematch with Cotto during routine medical tests prior to the fight, is no longer an issue, and he's at no more risk of injury than any other fighter.
The 37-year-old could be ready for an in-ring return in November or December, pending the outcome of discussions with his longtime promoter, Top Rank.
But should we be excited?
Forget about the scandal for a second.
It's been almost four years since Margarito has been in the ring, and the last we saw of him he was taking severe and completely unnecessary punishment.
What's left for him at this point?
Is Batman Joking?
Yes, that is Tyson Fury dressed as Batman.
The undefeated British top contender for the heavyweight championship donned the attire of the Dark Knight for Wednesday's London press conference ahead of his fight with recognized division kingpin Wladimir Klitschko, which has since been postponed.
Klitschko was forced to withdraw after tearing a tendon in his left calf during training on Thursday.
Fury, of course, wasn't buying it, calling Klitschko, per Chris McKenna of the Daily Star (h/t Boxing Scene) a "bitch" on Twitter while openly calling the injury a lie and a sign that the towering Ukrainian is afraid to face him.
He even went so far as to credit his Batman stunt with scaring the champion into pulling out of the fight.
The bout, per Nick Parkinson of ESPN, is likely to take place on November 28.
Obviously, Fury's bluster is just an attempt to get under his foe's skin and get some sort of mental edge (we'd think, anyway) and not really indicative that he really believes Klitschko is running scared.
While it certainly stinks that we'll have to wait an additional month for this fight, it might well be worth it if Fury keeps up his entertaining antics along the way.
Worth it for us, at least, but for him?
Kevin McRae is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. You can follow him on Twitter @McRaeWrites.