Deontay Wilder: A free, mainstream showcase is imperativeWritten by Leroy Cleveland
Al Haymon's Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) recently announced WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (33-0, 32 KO) will face unheralded Eric Molina (23-2, 17 KO) on Showtime.
The bout will serve as Wilder's first defense of his WBC title and will take place June 13 in Alabama.
So who is he fighting, again?
Fans might remember when Molina faced Chris Arreola in a very short but explosive WBC eliminator on Showtime in 2012. In the opening round, Molina rocked Arreola with a clean overhand right but could not close the deal as Arreola's superior experience enabled him to weather the storm and violently knockout his foe moments later.
Since then, Molina has reeled off five wins in a row and KO'd his last three opponents.
So, why isn't Wilder vs Molina on NBC or CBS, platforms much larger than Showtime?
A young, exciting, charismatic heavyweight knockout artist, Wilder is seemingly perfect for the mainstream networks.
Who cares if Wilder scores an early knockout?
Mike Tyson and Ronda Rousey's popularity prove the public is far more accepting of a quick, violent, one-sided mismatch than a tit-for-tat affair between two evenly matched opponents.
Fact: The casual mainstream, especially when just warming up to the sport or a particular fighter, don't have to witness Hagler vs Hearns or Gatti vs Ward to get excited.
When a fighter is on a path like Wilder's, it's imperative for his handlers to get the public excited, and dominant heavyweight monsters transcend the sport itself.
Bill Cayton and Jim Jacobs were masterful in introducing a little-known 19 year old named Mike Tyson to the masses.
"When can we see him again?," fans asked.
When casual and non-fans are saying that, a promoter is doing her/his job.
So, when will we see Wilder's coronation to the mainstream?
Strength is truly in numbers.