by Johnny Walker
Does anyone remember Seth Mitchell?
Boxing fans can have very short memories when it comes to “next big things” who fall short of the mark.
But it wasn’t that long ago that ex-football player Mitchell was being billed by many as the the man to bring the heavyweight titles back to America, vanquishing the near decade-long reign of the Ukrainian Klitschko brothers.
As it turned out, Mitchell has a chin of glass, and has been dismissed and forgotten already by title-hungry American boxing fans.
Next up: Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder, who to this date has stopped all 32 of his opponents.
The problem this time is, the skill level of many if not most of those opponents has been on the level of the proverbial boxing “tomato can”: these include a pro caddie, a failed NBA player with no trainer, a buddy who fell down seemingly from fright when Wilder hit his gloves and rolled around like he’d been hit by a freight train, and a decent journeyman who was out of shape and fighting with 6 days notice.
That Wilder tried to tell the media that that his most recent opponent represented a “big risk” on his way to a title fight with WBC heavyweight champion Bermane Stiverne only shows that he is either delusional, or knows that his resume is, to put it politely, very weak.
Last Saturday night in Carson, California, it appeared that not too many boxing fans rushed down to the outdoor stadium to see the man hyped as the savior of American heavyweights, as Wilder took on Jason Gavern in front of a mere smattering of fans at the StubHub Center in a bout broadcast on Showtime Extreme. Apparently Wilder still has some convincing to do in his own country.
Gavern was out of shape and already gassing out by round two, but even the mild step up in boxing skill he brought to the table seemed to be giving Wilder some problems. Wilder looked very vulnerable to an overhand right, that, if it were landed by a guy named Klitschko, Stiverne, or even Haye or “Big Daddy” Browne, would likely see Wilder’s hype machine malfunction instantly the way Seth Mitchell’s did.
Alas, it appeared that, with no time to train, Gavern only intended to go four rounds, take his paycheck and go home — and that’s what he did, while not getting badly hurt in the process, other than taking a few rabbit punches from Wilder. He can be forgiven, as he has taken some big punishment from top contenders while giving his all in the past.
Sydney, Australia’s undefeated, 6’4″ Lucas Browne (21-0, 18 KOs), who has been aching to get in the ring with a man he views as a product of careful matchmaking, said via a press release that he was totally underwhelmed by what he saw on Saturday from “The Bronze Bomber.”
The hulking Browne had taken on a much fitter version of Gavern back in 2012 and in round three hit him with an explosive right hand bomb that left a disoriented Gavern on his knees, desperately hanging onto the ropes, gasping for air. The referee immediately called a halt to the fight.
Browne now believes that he hits much harder than Wilder, and would love to prove it in the ring.
“I was recently asked what my dream fight would be and I said Wilder straight away,” says Browne.
“I think the Gavern fight showed that Wilder may not be all people say he is.
“Gavern wasn’t in great shape and it took Wilder four rounds to get rid of him. When I boxed Gavern he was younger and fitter and I still took him out earlier and in better fashion.
“I know comparing results doesn’t tell the full story, but I honestly believe I hit harder than Wilder and I could knock him out.”
Browne is also not impressed by Wilder’s personal style of arrogant mouthing off–a type of behavior that seems to have become mandatory for many American heavyweights–believing that “The Bronze Bomber” hasn’t as of yet earned the right to brag.
“I don’t know him personally so I can’t really say I don’t like him, but I’m not a fan of his persona,” says the mild-mannered Big Daddy.
“The truth is, [Wilder’s] never had to fight his way through a war and his chin is yet to be tested. I think if I fought him and I landed on his chin, it would all be over.
“He’s ranked number one by the WBC without him really having to fight anyone of note so well done to him and his team for that.”