Baby Steps: Vyacheslav Glazkov Decisions Garrett Wilson On NBC

(Vyacheslav Glazkov connects on Garrett Wilson; photo credit: Mike Gladysz, via Main Events)

Heavyweights Vyacheslav Glazkov and Garrett Wilson started roughly on NBC but finished one step away from a Rocky film, with the wild, hard-chinned underdog from Philadelphia going down swinging to the stoic eastern European. It wasn’t a complete copy; Wilson’s not Italian and Glazkov controlled the fight for the duration and got a unanimous decision victory in Verona, N.Y. There was no robot or Mr. T. But you can’t have everything.

Normally a cruiserweight, Wilson (13-7-1, 7 KO) stepped up to replace an ill Tomasz Adamek, who had been scheduled to face Glazkov (16-0-1, 11 KO). For a pumped-up 205 pound cruiserweight with a severe height deficit who took the fight on fours days’ notice, Wilson did his damndest to keep up.

He swarmed out of his corner at the bell and launched haymakers at Glazkov, trying to make up for his reach disadvantage with aggressive head movement and ferocity. Some of his hooks nearly spun him around like Babe Ruth missing a ball. The Ukrainian stayed cool, stuck a hard jab in Wilson’s face, and paced the fight at will.

All 10 rounds followed the same pattern. In round 3, an accidental head butt opened a superficial cut above Glazkov’s right eyebrow, which did as little to rattle him as the powerful overhand rights Wilson kept firing. Glazkov kept the basic approach of jab, right hand, left hook, digging into Wilson’s body. Everything he did was sharp, professional and Eastern European.

Wilson managed to connect a few of his heel-driven punches, rattling Glazkov with a right uppercut and a wild left hook in the 7th round. The Philadelphia fight wasn’t able to find the right place for that one knockout punch, however, and Glazkov’s methodical efficiency got him the decision (by scores of 97-93, 98-92 and 99-91). Glazkov threw and landed three times as many punches, jabs and power shots as Wilson.

Glazkov’s had a hard year, with a bitterly argued draw against Malik Scott and an undercard bout with Bryan Polley that added up to little more than a sparring match. You don’t get a call from Wlad Klitschko with those kind of performances haunting you. He had obviously been hopeful that the IBF North American heavyweight title would’ve pumped up his legitimacy if he’d taken it from Adamek.

While NBC may have simply cancelled the fight had it been on NBC Sports Network, the network show must go on. They searched far and wide for a heavyweight willing to fight a ranked boxer on four days notice. Lucky for them that Wilson is game as hell, and proved it in the ring. Like a lot of Philadelphia fighters, he took some fights in the past he should’ve avoided, so his record looks far different than his ring craft.

For Glazkov, this could have been a better performance. He showed himself a very capable boxer, as always, someone who can dominate a fight and stick to his game plan under pressure. Granted, he had been training for Adamek and had to adjust his plan accordingly, but he didn’t win spectacularly. Against a jumped-up cruiserweight with short guy ring-range and four days notice, he could have tried for a knockout to establish his dominance. After beating one guy like a mule and getting a questionable draw against another, he needs the juice.

Wilson, on the other hand, can’t go anywhere but up from here. He proved that you can get called to fight a ranked opponent and go the distance if you have heart, take the punches, swat away, and come from Philadelphia.