Date: Saturday, February 25, 2017
Time: 8PM US Eastern
We will only see what Deontay Wilder is capable of when he fights the significant threats within his division. Until then, however, we will have to be satisfied uninteresting showcases for Wilder. It remains to be seen whether Gerald Washington will pose that threat - he is undefeated.
For example, Wilder's balance and coordination are discernible, but that is irrelevant if he is able to land at will from distance. We will never see a good snappy jab until someone quick enough forces him to keep his hands up.
He will always lower himself to his opponent's level until someone forces him to elude. Simply fighting someone his own size would be sufficient. Anyone - Anthony Joshua preferably, perhaps Tyson Fury but he will be constantly moving backwards such that Wilder would feel comfortable dropping his hands.
So, Washington is 6'6 with a reach of 82 inches, but his 63% knockout percentage is undesirable. For once again, Wilder may feel encouraged to drop his hands for what is considered a non-puncher by heavyweight standards. Wilder himself is 6'7 with an 83-inch reach, but the difference may seem greater on fight night when arm length differences are considered.
All in perspective, Wilder is likely facing an opponent in Washington who will have to move forward and who will not have threatening power. Regardless, this is appropriate insofar as Wilder is coming of an injury that includes a broken right hand and torn right biceps. In effect, Washington's role is that of a tuneup and his statistics appear to corroborate that.
A good strategy for Washington would be to move outside of Wilder's jab and away from his right hand. From there he can close the distance to throw his own jabs, rights, and left hooks. Washington's feet are arguably quicker than Wilder's but that still remains to be seen.
Lastly, Washington is reputable for fatiguing, giving Wilder some insurance for the second half of the bout should he experience any aches or pains or find himself tired from his own layoff.