Deontay Wilder: Should he forfeit title for now? (Pros and cons)
Oh the politics and drama of boxing...
Olympic gold medal winner and former WBA champion Alexander Povetkin (30-1, 22KOs) is the mandatory challenger for WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (36-0, 35KOs) and many surmise the latter will relinquish his belt rather than face the Russian at this moment.
(Image courtesy of CheckHook Boxing)
To be fair: Wilder has stated emphatically that he has no plans to relinquish his title and is extremely confident he can defeat Alexander Povetkin, insisting he wants to fight him right away. However, Deontay's team certainly doesn't seem overly- interested in this bout thus far.
... And it's not surprising. Alex is an excellent fighter on the inside and in mid range. One of the most decorated amateur heavyweights in history, he also possesses a fine chin and good punching power, and is clear a cut above anyone Wilder has ever faced.
Deontay Wilder Should Forfeit His Title
Team Wilder is in a quandary of sorts because the dangerous, highly-polished Povetkin is seemingly too much risk for the reward at this moment; especially given the style match-up.
Deontay would likely receive a higher purse for facing the winner of Tyson Fury vs Wladimir Klitschko 2 or Anthony Joshua should he defeat IBF champ Charles Martin later this year. Moreover, stylistically, Fury, Joshua and Klitschko potentially represent better style match-ups for Wilder.
And to add even a bit more sizzle, challenging the winner of the Fury vs Klitschko rematch might give Deontay the opportunity to vie for the lineal, real and legitimate RING Magazine heavyweight title sooner rather than later.
Should Povetkin continue to win, however, Wilder would have to face him eventually but the stakes and purses would seemingly be higher. And Deontay will have had a bit more experience against elite level opponents by then.
Deontay Wilder Should Fight Povetkin Next
On the flip side, a fighter who is considered a "champion" should be willing to take on all comers, and having to relinquish your belt for not facing a mandatory opponent looks bad.
Fans, and even many in the media, will consider that fighter 'scared,' not taking into account the business side. And quite frankly, fans shouldn't be asked to attempt to comprehend a fighter's business motives for giving up his title.
Fact: Wilder isn't scared to fight Povetkin.
However, it wouldn't be surprising if his handlers might be thinking of this from a strategic standpoint. And strategically, a case can be made for Wilder giving up his title to face the winner of Klitschko vs Fury 2.
Should that happen, Team Wilder would likely argue, "We gave up a mere belt to challenge for the authentic heavyweight title. We decided to fight for bigger cookies."
Wilder has enjoyed a lot of buzz for the last year or two and, regardless of the reasons, it would be a disappointing for him to forfeit his title. Furthermore, a subsequent loss to Fury, Wlad or Joshua would tank his stock even further because he will have already ducked one opponent heading into that fight.
In addition, should Wilder claim the lineal title late this year, he will haves saved some face yet wouldn't be considered the real champion until he beat Povetkin.
Should Wilder fight Povetkin next?