Adam Kownacki vs Washington: It won't be easyWritten by Leroy Cleveland
Adam Kownacki (18-0, 14 KO), ranked the No. 9 heavyweight in the world by BoxRec, will face the seasoned and rugged Gerald Washington (19-2-1, 12 KO) on January 26 in Brooklyn.
Kownacki vs Washington will be part of a FOX broadcast.
At first glance, this seems like your typical showcase affair. The 29 year old Kownacki is building his name and reputation to earn an eventual title shot and/or a fight with one of the real powerbrokers in the division while Washington is the proverbial "gatekeeper."
And yes, the 36-year-old 6'6" Washington has been stopped inside the distance in 2 of his last 3 contests; but by elite fighters - Deontay Wilder and Jarrell Miller.
And against Wilder, he was even on 2 of the 3 scorecards heading into Round 5, the KO stanza. Gerald gave Deontay a lot of trouble, defensively, until he was cracked by a Wilder rocket shot. Nevertheless, Washington is a big, strong athletic guy who can make an A-side fighter look bad.
“Everybody can punch, man,” Washington said prior to facing Wilder. “Everybody keeps talking about how Deontay can punch. Everybody can punch. If he lines you up, yeah OK, cool. I know I need to defend for that big punch...."
.... And for 4 1/2 rounds, Wilder couldn't line him up.... For anything.
And let's not forget that Kownacki is fresh off a 10 round war with Charles Martin who refused to gently assume his role as a stepping stone. Kownacki earned the decision win with 96-94 scores on all three cards but Martin, with his valiant performance, certainly redeemed himself of his poor showing against Anthony Joshua in 2016.
Kownacki is several levels above Washington in skill level and pedigree. And as the fight progresses, look for that separation of class to get wider and become more and more apparent. But Washington boasts the height, reach and degree of resourcefulness to spoil Adam's showcase and possibly surprise him.
After making his pro debut at the advanced age of 30, Washington has secured has some wins against familiar names including Sherman Williams (UD 8), Ray Austin (KO), Eddie Chambers (UD 8), Jason Gavern (UD) Nagy Aguilera (UD) and Travis Walker (TKO).
In order to break into the top 5, Kownacki must not only beat solid opponents like Gerald Washington, he must realize he won't sizzle every time.
Look for Washington to give Kownacki a good test.