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Deontay Wilder: "People appreciate me" after watching Jennings-Perez

Deontay Wilder took some thinly-veiled shots at Bryant Jennings, saying fans appreciate him more now after watching Bryant Jennings-Mike Perez on Saturday.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

Bryant Jennings was the declared the winner of his bout with Mike Perez. Many people will hotly debate how that dubious point deduction in the final round made the difference in the fight, by causing what would have been a majority decision draw into a split decision victory. Either way, Jennings got the nod and gets the shot to take on the winner between between Deontay Wilder and Bermane Stiverne (if injuries don't completely derail that fight). Wilder wasn't impressed by what he saw out of either Bryant Jennings or Mike Perez during their heavyweight bout this past Saturday and had no problem letting it be known why he believes it was beneficial for him, as reported by RingTV.

"People definitely appreciate guys like me that come in and get the job done. People might say things about my opponents, but when they see a fight like this, and then, they see a guy like me with a 100 percent KO ratio, then people really start to appreciate me," said Wilder, 29, who is coming off a 96-second stoppage of Malik Scott in March.

"I got several text messages and other support on the social media during that fight, and a lot of them were saying that Deontay Wilder's going to be around for a long time.That's because when they see me, and then they have to sit down and watch a heavyweight fight like Jennings and Perez, then people appreciate the fact that I go out there and that I try to give the people what they want to see, which is excitement. So, long live the king, Deontay Wilder."

Deontay also didn't straddle the fence about his opinion on the outcome of Jennings-Perez:

"I felt like that fight was definitely a draw," said Wilder. "I felt like the referee definitely should not have taken a point away in the 12th round. That is what definitely gave the fight away ... That's the only way that Jennings won that fight.

"As I watched the fight, I felt like Perez was starting to get fatigued, holding his hands down, and you could tell that Jennings is not the athlete that he claims to be. Man, I'm just happy to be a part of the heavyweight division. People are coming around now, because they know that I can bring the heavyweight division back, and I'm planning on doing that."

Deontay is right that fans love to see knockouts, and he's delivered on that front thus far. Yet while its easy to infatuate the crowd with knockouts, it doesn't necessarily prove you are at the upper-echelon of the sport. Much of the time knockout ratios can be equated to one's level of competition. When one starts facing top-notch competition every time out, their KO ratio usually dissipates fairly quickly, and that's mostly because elite-level fighters know how to not get knocked out if they choose to fight cautiously. Thus I don't think its a total knock on the ability of Bryant Jennings, who was in with a skilled and tough fighter in Mike Perez. Perez has good boxing skills and displayed his good chin on several occasion. Wilder is, however, correct in his assessment about Perez's conditioning, as we've seen him fade in the second half of fights his last few times out.

So now that Wilder feels his 'appreciation,' will that be enough for him to rise into a legitimate heavyweight star? And do any of us think that Wilder or any other heavyweight is poised to take down Klitschko at this point? I'm skeptical.

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