To say that Johann Duhaupas was a glutton for punishment would be to understate the buffet of abuse the man was force-fed at the hands of Deontay Wilder on Saturday.
Really, it was like an evening at the Golden Corral, but with Wilder’s fists in place of dubious deep-fried eats.
Still, Duhaupas survived the nonstop onslaught at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama, fought valiantly and proved himself to have a bulletproof beard. That is, until the 11th round, when the Frenchman eventually succumbed to a barrage of vicious shots by Wilder, with referee Jack Reiss mercilously halting the proceedings with 55 seconds remaining in the penultimate round.
Through it all, though, Duhaupas never hit the canvas, his chin proving so durable it seemed like something manufactured by Rubbermaid.
“His chin should have been drug tested,” Wilder joked in his locker room after the fight in between bites of celebratory pizza.
Just how much punishment did Duhaupas take?
“More than most,” Wilder said with a grin.
Nevertheless, Duhaupas never stopped coming forward throughout the fight. And with Wilder inexplicably keeping his hands low on too many occasions, Duhaupas was able to find home with his jab on multiple occasions.
It was enough for Duhaupas to do some serious damage under Wilder’s left eye, which began to swell shut in Round 4.
Still, it was Duhaupas who absorbed the majority of the punishment, the bridge of his nose bleeding from the opening round.
How Duhaupas remained upright after swallowing a massive left hand in Round 3 will go down as one of the great mysteries of the ages, right up there with the Shroud of Turin and the true whereabouts of Waldo.
Actually, Wilder rocked Duhaupas with devastating right hands the whole night, unleashing a particularly blistering array of combos in Round 4 in the center of the ring as Duhaupas’ face began to take on the texture of a tomato after being hurled against a brick wall.
As the fight progressed, Wilder got more and more comfortable, marching in place, rolling his shoulders and getting jiggy with it for the loud, raucous home state crowd of 8,471.
“When I get into a certain state of mind, I’m having fun in there,” Wilder explained afterward. “You saw many times that I was having fun, just letting him know, ‘I’m still here, I’m not going anywhere.’ I was never fatigued, never tired. I had full energy. I was prepared to go 12 rounds.”
The stats tell the story: Wilder outlanded Duhaupas 326-to-98 in overall punches, 143-51 in jabs and 183-to-47 in power punches.
Duhaupas did his best to weather the storm—or, more accurately, hurricane—firing punches until the end.
But after eating a series of uppercuts on the ropes, Reiss had seen enough near the end of the 11th, waving things off to give Wilder his 34th stoppage in 35 career fights.
“My main mission was to get the knockout,” Wilder said. “He’d never been knocked out before. I got that tonight and put on a great performance for the state of Alabama. I’m happy with the outcome.
“Now that I have this prized possession,” Wilder said as he gestured toward the championship belt around his waist, “it’s a tough job being the champ, because everybody’s coming to get what you have. But this is what it’s all about.”
That, and another slice of pizza, of course.
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