Deontay Wilder, the 26-year-old American heavyweight prospect from Alabama, is returning to the ring this Saturday in Missouri on the Maidana vs Alexander undercard, and though he's been protected so far in his pro career, Golden Boy Promotions is taking it to a new low with this matchup.
Wilder (20-0, 20 KO) is facing Marlon Hayes (23-10, 11 KO). Right there the record isn't so bad -- a journeyman, you might be thinking, or a gatekeeper. But that's not the case at all. This is a fight that the Missouri commission shouldn't even be sanctioning, and that Golden Boy should be ashamed of putting together.
Here are the issues:
- Marlon Hayes is 40 years old.
- Marlon Hayes is 5'9". Wilder is 6'7". That's a ten-inch height difference. It's such a height difference, we might as well round it up to a foot.
- Marlon Hayes has lost five straight fights. He is 3-10 in his last 13 fights.
- He hasn't fought since October of 2007. This is such a long break, we might as well round it up to five years out of the ring.
- Marlon Hayes is a light heavyweight who last fought as a cruiserweight, and has fought as low as middleweight.
- Marlon Hayes was never more than a club fighter.
There is an argument, and I had it on Twitter, that Wilder is still learning on the job. I argue he's not learning much of anything. When a fighter is this badly hidden away, which comes with simultaneous hype, there is a problem, and his matchmakers and handlers know that there's a problem. Wilder has not even taken half a risk thus far, and this is such a bottom of the barrel fight that it defies any logic. What possible good comes from Deontay Wilder beating up a 40-year-old guy who hasn't fought in half a decade and is a foot shorter than him? Other than the ability to say after the fight, "Deontay Wilder is now 21-0 with 21 knockouts! What a prospect!"
He's not really a prospect at this point. He's a club fighter with hype. I'm not saying he'll never be a real prospect, or can't ever be a potential contender, but the only differences between Deontay Wilder and any other guy running up a see-through record are a bronze medal and a power promoter.