Sheppard’s next fight nixed

With the advancement of technology and having sports on a vast array of platforms on a 24-hour basis, the options are nearly endless for tough guys hiding behind the anonymity of cyberspace to take any stance they want.

For example, I’ll use what was supposed to be the upcoming fight between Deontay Wilder and Wirt County’s Mike Sheppard as a prime highlight to what I’m talking about.

Sheppard, a school teacher and part-time fighter known as a journeyman in the business, signed the contract last week to fight Wilder, who is 31-0 with 31 KOs, on Aug. 16 in California.

If one takes the time to read the message board postings, Twitter talk or story comments which are out there, the degree of bashing for both Sheppard and Wilder is unbelievable. A lot of it isn’t fit for print.

I guess I’ll give ESPN boxing guru Dan Rafael at least a little credit, but even his comment on Twitter that “Sheppard is so bad he wasn’t approved by the Cali comm” is interesting. It never amazes me at the arrogance, or maybe the word I’m looking for is ignorance, of some people. I’m sure Mr. Rafael wouldn’t last long versus Sheppard if they did a charity heavyweight boxing match.

“Apparently, someone approved me initially. I don’t know,” Sheppard said of the decision by the California State Athletic Commission as he understood it.

“I can’t control it. It seems like everyone out there in control of something is an ‘insert colorful word of choice’ about it. It’s like people in charge of stuff push people around because you can get by with it.”

After reading late Tuesday night that the CSAC did indeed nix the fight and will not allow Sheppard to face Wilder, I decided to try and contact the source.

As it turned out, I was able to speak with Andy Foster, who is the executive officer of the CSAC. He made the decision to not allow Sheppard in the ring.

“This is not an approved bout. Had this fight been two fights ago (for Wilder), I’d have approved this fight,” said Foster. “I’m looking at some other opponents right now.”

Nonetheless, despite the fight being nixed and what would’ve been a pretty decent payday, as well as an opportunity few get a chance at going against an opponent like Wilder, Sheppard is moving on.

“I got a lot of bad fights on my resume. I’m really better than I look on paper, stepping up and fighting top competition,” noted Sheppard, who fights for the passion as opposed to having been born and bred to do this on a full-time basis. “It is what it is.”

I suppose it is and obviously the decision by Foster, who noted “I just don’t think he has a very good chance and the boxing severity index puts him as high risk,” is the final word.

My only question is how were Wilder’s other opponents not considered high risk?

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com