Gerald Washington Gets A Crack At Deontay Wilder
By: Sean Crose
“Right now we don’t deserve the heavyweight title,” Gerald Washington said to me a while back. “It’s not easy to be the champion. You have to live right and work hard.” Now, several years later, Washington is apparently ready for his big chance. For the former pro footballer will now be facing WBC champ Deontay Wilder on February 25th in Wilder’s home state of Alabama. To be sure, Washington is something of a last minute replacement for Andrzej Wawrzyk, who was nailed for PEDs not so long ago. “This is a good fight,” the LA Times quotes promoter Lou DiBella as saying, “and a better fight now with Washington than it was with Wawrzyk.”
In fact, the hard hitting, undefeated Wilder has been having a hard time landing an opponent as of late. First, Alexander Povetkin tested dirty, now Wawrzyk has followed suit. Fellow Al Haymon fighter Washington, however, has been eager to step up to the plate. Like Wilder, Washington is a super sized heavyweight. Unlike Wilder, however, Washington has yet to hit the truly big time. His moment, however, is now. Indeed, it might be the perfect time for Washington to get a title shot.
For, with Anthony Joshua engaging in a heavyweight superbout with former kingpin Wladimir Klitschko in England this spring, Wilder has made it clear his eye is on the winner. And, even though few are probably giving Washington much of a chance against KO king Wilder, heavily favored fighters have taken their eyes off the ball before. Needless to say, the consequences have been disastrous. Wilder may need to be mindful of this fact, lest his promising career be cut short by the man who calls himself “El Gallo Negro.” The road to glory, after all, is loaded with some deep potholes.
Indeed, the heavyweight division has entered a new – and some would say quite fresh – era. Besides Wilder and Joshua, names like Ortiz, Parker and Miller are making the rounds in fight circles. The reality is that Tyson Fury shook things up in a huge way when he shocked Klitschko back in late 2015 for heavyweight supremacy. Fury has fallen victim to his demons since that time, however, so there’s no figurative “big man on campus” at heavyweight right now. Once the dust settles, however, one or two men will undoubtedly be standing tall. Few have said Washington will be one of the last men standing.
No doubt, Washington now aims to surprise a great many people.