Deontay Wilder is known for his massive knockout power, which one tends to be when they have a crazy record like 42-0-1 with 41 knockouts, and he’s set to try to flex that muscle again this Saturday, facing Tyson Fury in a PPV main event rematch from Las Vegas.
Fury (29-0-1, 20 KO) is one of just two men to go the distance with Wilder, and the only man Wilder has faced as a professional that he hasn’t knocked out.
If you’re newer to the sport, hopping in on the buzz of this fight perhaps, you might not be totally versed in Wilder’s right hand bombs. And even if you are a longtime fan, hey, knockouts are fun to watch. So let’s take a look back at five of his best knockouts
5) Eric Molina (June 13, 2015)
Wilder won the WBC heavyweight title from Bermane Stiverne (more on him in a moment) in Jan. 2015, going the distance for the first time as a pro, and 12 rounds, at that. That kept open a question that some had been asking during Wilder’s deliberate rise to the top of the division: yes, he can punch, but how devastating is he going to be against better opponents? If Stiverne could go the distance and make Wilder do more than land a single power shot, what happens from there?
Wilder made his first title defense against the veteran Eric Molina five months later, and flashed the power repeatedly, dropping Molina in the fourth and twice again in the fifth. But Molina did hang around, pushing Wilder into the ninth round.
The Showtime commentators were trying to make a point when Wilder lowered the boom. It wouldn’t be the last time this happened.
“Deontay Wilder is giving people a chance to say, ‘Well, you’re not really handling this guy like you should,’” Al Bernstein was in the middle of saying when Wilder hammered Molina with another right hand. Molina went down, and referee Jack Reiss waved it off.
4) Bermane Stiverne (Nov. 4, 2017)
The aforementioned Stiverne managed to get a title shot just shy of three years after Wilder beat him over 12 rounds, but the way this happened was peculiar. Stiverne had been WBC mandatory challenger, but there was no demand for the bout and networks weren’t interested in buying it. Luis Ortiz was scheduled to face Wilder on Nov. 4, 2017, in Brooklyn. Ortiz failed a drug test, though, and wound up pushed out of the fight. Stiverne, on a month’s notice, stepped in.
It was the second time between 2016 and 2017 that Wilder lost a fight due to an opponent having drug test problems, following Alexander Povetkin in the spring of 2016. Wilder, growing frustrated with his contenders, promised to make Stiverne “pay for Luis Ortiz screwing up.”
And, indeed, Wilder came out fighting with a barely restrained fury. With just under a minute left in the first round, he hit Stiverne with a straight right that put the challenger on the canvas. Stiverne complained about a shot to the back of the head, but referee Arthur Mercante Jr brushed it off. When the action restarted, Wilder stood still like an indestructible horror movie monster, arms at his side, staring at Stiverne, who sheepishly came forward with his hands up. He busted the guard with a jab, banged three haymakers off the gloves of Stiverne, and dropped him again.
There were eight seconds left in the opening round when Mercante ordered the action resumed, whistling loudly to get the attention of Wilder, who seemed to be in some sort of trance. As he unleashed four more wild shots, Stiverne went back down, Mercante all but tackled Wilder to get him off, and the fight was over. This wasn’t a one-punch job, but the raw anger and fury displayed by Wilder was really something; you don’t see something like that too often.
3) Artur Szpilka (Jan. 16, 2016)
In Wilder’s third defense of his WBC belt in Jan. 2016, a year after winning the title, he faced Polish battler Artur Szpilka, a “hard man” southpaw who could, at his best, bring an awkward style and spirit to a fight.
This is largely forgotten four years later, but Szpilka actually gave Wilder a tough fight, easily the most he’d been challenged in his pro career to that point. After eight rounds, we had it 77-75 for Szpilka, while the official judges had it 77-75, 78-74, and 78-74 for Wilder. Szpilka had made things awkward with not just his southpaw style, but also an aggression that Wilder just didn’t get from many opponents. Szpilka was able to stay in the distance where he wasn’t in terrible danger of Wilder’s right hand, and he made it competitive.
Then Wilder landed the right hand when Szpilka got a little too reckless throwing a shot in the ninth, and that was that. Wilder admitted openly after the fight that Szpilka was craftier and slicker than he expected, and gave the challenger his due for a tough fight.
This was also the first night that we saw Wilder and Tyson Fury interact face-to-face in the ring. Fury, who had just upset Wladimir Klitschko two months prior, came into the ring post-fight and got in Wilder’s face, calling him a “bum.” Wilder responded that Fury was an “actor.” The two promised a fight at some point. Instead, Fury wouldn’t box again until 2018, though within six months of the official start of his boxing comeback, he did indeed fight Wilder.
2) Luis Ortiz (Nov. 23, 2019)
Another thing that Wilder said after his win over Szpilka was that he was learning to wait for the knockouts to come to him. “We’ve got 12 rounds, and I’m very patient,” he said that night. “They all can’t be pretty.”
Nearly four years later, he really put that idea to the test in his rematch with Luis Ortiz. The two had finally met in Mar. 2018, with Wilder battling past Ortiz to win a 10th round stoppage in a wild brawl, a true slugfest.
Through six rounds, the rematch looked nothing like the first meeting. Wilder and Ortiz both were landing about five punches a round this time, and what was landing wasn’t exactly substantial for the most part. Wilder wasn’t tentative, exactly; he was fighting with the confidence that eventually, Ortiz would give him the opening and he’d take advantage. He took no risks, knowing for a fact that Ortiz was actually a dangerous opponent.
So the first six rounds stunk from an entertainment standpoint, but there just wasn’t much happening. We had Ortiz up 59-55 after six, official scores were 58-56, 59-55, and 59-55, all for Ortiz, as well. You could’ve easily had Ortiz up 6-0.
Late in the seventh, Wilder saw the opening, and that was all she wrote. One right hand clanged off the side of the Cuban’s head, and the veteran did what he should have, trying to collect himself instead of quickly staggering to his feet. He just couldn’t beat the count of Kenny Bayless, and a look into his eyes tells you that even if he’d gotten up a second or two quicker, he was gone, anyway. He would have gotten out of round seven, but the fight was over.
1) Dominic Breazeale (May 18, 2019)
These two talked a lot of shit for quite a while ahead of this fight. They’d had some sort of altercation at a fight in the past, the story varying by which one of them you asked about it. Breazeale presented a strong front at press gatherings and what have you, showing no fear of Wilder. And honestly, I’m sure he was confident he could stand in there with the big man from Alabama.
When Breazeale got mildly wobbled about halfway into the first round, he was able to survive.
“Credit to Breazeale for having the character to throw with him, and —” Showtime’s Paulie Malignaggi began.
“Oh,” he continued, as Wilder casually stepped toward Breazeale after a break, uncorked the right hand, and bounced it off Breazeale’s head. It was over. The brave Breazeale tried to get up, but he couldn’t beat the count, and again, if he had, it was over anyway, as he fell back into the ropes.
You could argue something else as the No. 1, sure. Maybe the Ortiz rematch instead, as Ortiz was a much more dangerous opponent, considered much more of a serious challenger. But for me, nothing beats Wilder walking over to Breazeale in almost “What up, Marge?” fashion before almost knocking his head off his shoulders.
One extra thing I want to note is that Saturday’s fight with Tyson Fury will be the third rematch of Deontay Wilder’s career. Both rematch fights made this list. The first time he fought Bermane Stiverne, he went all 12; the second time around, Wilder thrashed him inside one. The first time he fought Luis Ortiz, it was the toughest fight of his career to that point; the second time around, Wilder took his time and iced him in seven.
There’s no question that at this point, Tyson Fury has been the toughest opponent of Wilder’s career. Will Fury find himself on this list after Saturday night, going out in highlight reel fashion?