Deontay Wilder to Anthony Joshua: ‘All roads lead to me’
Deontay Wilder has an unblemished record and a World Boxing Council heavyweight title belt, but if that’s not enough to convince people of his talent, he’s more than willing to talk.
“I have a natural killer instinct. I’m born with it,” Wilder said during an interview this week. “When I smell blood, it’s worse. When the bell rings, you can hurt that man’s body any way you want.
“A lot of people say I’m sloppy. A lot of people say I’m wild. It ain’t broke. Why fix it? They don’t understand the art. I’m very smart and powerful at what I do.”
Wilder scored a first-round knockout of former champion Bermane Stiverne last year, and his next target is Cuba’s unbeaten Luis Ortiz (28-0, 24 knockouts) in a March 3 bout from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center that will be televised by Showtime.
Ortiz, 38, has earned praise and respect for his disciplined style. Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs) views the match as an opportunity to underline his talent and coax England’s unbeaten, two-belt heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua toward an anticipated unification bout.
There are obstacles to that matchup, however. Joshua’s March 31 unification with World Boxing Organization champion Joseph Parker is Joshua’s final bout on his existing Showtime deal, and HBO has wooed Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn. With HBO, former champion Tyson Fury and former title challenger Alexander Povetkin would become possible next foes.
Joshua has already drawn 90,000 to Wembley Stadium for his 11th-round knockout of Wladimir Klitschko, and an additional 80,000 are expected to Wales for the Parker fight.
“What he’s dealing with, I blame his promoter more than him, but I also blame him,” Wilder said. “If they take an HBO deal, it’s going to be obvious what they’re doing — they’ve said they want to make him sports’ first billionaire.
“But doing that, the fans know. All roads lead to me, and I’m going to be here for a long time. I’m the best heavyweight in the division.”
Wilder was in Los Angeles this week for the birth of his fifth child, a daughter. He will return home, to Alabama, to conclude training for Ortiz.
“Training hard, getting my mind right. I’m into visualization and meditation, exercising the mind,” Wilder said. “People can’t grasp why I’m so confident and so dominant … it’s all about me visualizing what I’m going to do. So when it’s time, it’s easy, like I’ve been there before.
“With Ortiz, I’m not worried about anything he can bring. It’s going to be a shock, a surprise to a lot of people. It’s just a matter of time. We don’t know when it’s coming, but it’s coming.”
He predicted a knockout victory by the end of the third round, saying he was unimpressed watching at ringside Ortiz’s most recent bout in December.
“Beating Ortiz automatically makes me the most dangerous man in the world,” said Wilder, who has had three fights scrapped because scheduled opponents were eliminated by positive tests for performance-enhancing drugs. “If anyone knows my history, they know I’ve tried to take on the best, but these guys duck me, go another path or they got on steroids or PEDs. I’ve never understood that.
“If everything had gone the way I wanted, I would’ve beaten half of the top guys in the division, but it’s all good. Nothing has been given to me. Ever. I’ve always worked from the bottom all the way up. I continue to do so today.”
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