Deontay Wilder
ESNY Graphic, Mayweather Productions

Deontay Wilder, fresh off his amazing one-punch knockout of Luis Ruiz, is becoming that all-time great heavyweight.

Rich Mancuso

Deontay Wilder is the supreme heavyweight and he proved that again Saturday night in Las Vegas. It was the powerful right hand, yet again, that placed Luis Ortiz on the mat for the second time in a year.

The same right has been used in nine of his past ten fights. Ortiz saw it later in their first fight at Barclays Center in Brooklyn last March, a fight that was also for Wilder’s WBC heavyweight title.

And with this knockout, one that saw Wilder trailing on the scorecards, similar to that first fight, experts are not in doubt. You can debate, and the experts who have been around this a long time will, about how Wilder compares to the great heavyweights.

We are talking here now about a heavyweight that is cementing a legacy. And the only thing remaining, as Wilder wants, is to unify the heavyweight titles.

“I am the best one to own those titles,” Wilder proclaimed.

After a tentative rematch against Tyson Fury, Feb. 22 is the date Wilder should be in line to unify the titles. It would be a quick turnaround as he awaits the winner of the rematch with champion Andy Ruiz Jr. and Anthony Joshua in two weeks.

So why the talk? Why is Deontay Wilder in that discussion, more so, as possibly the best puncher in heavyweight history and among the current stable of top contenders?

He knocks them out.

The punch is powerful and comes quick. Again, Ortiz was in control and used his left. Then as a left from Ortiz hit the champion, as Deontay Wilder says, “Don’t blink.”

Ortiz got caught and became the 41st victim of that Deontay Wilder right with power. Tyson Fury went down with that big right in their first fight and managed to get back up.

But not many are as tall and rugged as Fury.

Among boxing’s biggest punchers, Wilder is as good as Joe Louis. “The Brown Bomber” won his first 23 bouts, 19 by knockout, 54 KO’s in 71 bouts, including 22 KO’s in 25 successful defenses of his heavyweight crown.

He rivals those other legendary heavyweights. Rocky Marciano, undefeated with 43 knockouts in 49 fights, a slugging percentage of 87.7 percent.

Archie Moore, George Foreman? They were great punch artists. Moore holds the all-time record for total career knockouts which numbered anywhere from 130 to 143, depending on who was counting.

Maybe better than the power of Hall of Famer Mike Tyson is Wilder, though, yet a different style from the footwork that was displayed from Hall of Famer Muhammad Ali.

But Wilder? He is setting records. That’s 97 percent of slugging percentage and knockouts for this modern-day heavyweight who envisions fighting another six years.

“Wilder because of his tremendous right hand on any given day could knock out almost anyone, past or present,” said Ron Stevens, the former New York State Athletic Commissioner.

Stevens has seen those legendary heavyweights at ringside and on film. He continues to witness the impact. Deontay Wilder is making an impact on the record books as an all-time heavyweight great.

But, as Stevens and some historians say, “He would lose to many of the top heavyweights of yesteryear who would either stop him or outpoint him, as Fury almost did not that long ago. And Tyson almost seemed unbeatable.”

You can leave that for another day, because the historians, including yours truly, hardly play fantasy boxing and don’t compare fighters from one era to another because the sport is different.

Again, Fury could be the one in that rematch that puts an end to this Deontay Wilder streak and sneak by that mighty right.

Here is a look at the numbers from this latest knockout, courtesy of CompuBox:

Punch Stats

Total landed 34 35
Total thrown 184 179
Percent 19% 20%
Jabs landed 17 7
Jabs thrown 130 77
Percent 13% 9%
Power landed 17 28
Power thrown 54 102
Percent 32% 28%
— Courtesy of CompuBox

So, where is this going? The answer is simple: greatness and a true legacy for Deontay Wilder with that ultimate goal to unify the heavyweight titles firmly in mind (if boxing will allow it).

For now, understand what Deontay Wilder has become: an all-time great heavyweight.

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