Heavyweight knockout king Deontay Wilder has a decision to make.
The day before Friday night’s first-round stoppage of ex-beltholder Sergei Liakhovich, the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist learned that Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer had declared him to be a candidate to face the winner between Seth Mitchell and Chris Arreola on Sept. 6.
Prior to that, however, the 6-foot-7 Wilder had already received a request from the camp of former titleholder David Haye to serve as a sparring partner in preparation for his all-English clash with unbeaten 6-foot-9 contender Tyson Fury.
“I had heard from my longtime trainer and co-manager, Jay Deas, and he had communicated that Haye wanted to work with me before traveling to the Liakhovich fight … We’re considering that,” said Wilder.
“I wouldn’t mind going to England to help David out against Tyson Fury. We’re looking at a lot of things, because I’ve got a lot of other things going on, too. So we’ll see what happens. We’re still in negotiations with a lot of other things and stuff like that.”
But if Wilder splits for England, that would likely mean bypassing a trip to Indio, Calif., for a ringside scouting report on Mitchell-Arreola.
“I haven’t decided where I’ll be yet,” said Wilder. “As far as having the winner of that fight, that would be great. That would be great for boxing, that would be great for the fans, and I’m ready for whoever.”
Wilder celebrated his 27th birthday last Oct. 22 in Austria while spending time as the primary sparring partner for RING, IBF, WBA and WBO champion Wladimir Klitschko as he trained for his unanimous decision victory over Mariusz Wach in November of last year.
Wilder also served in a similar capacity for Haye leading up to his unanimous decision loss to Klitschko in July of 2011.
“I went to David’s camp before when I got him ready for the Klitschko fight, so I was up there before, and it will be even better this time because I’m a more seasoned professional now. I’ve got friends in London as well, too, so it would be all good,” said Wilder.
“I’ll get to see my friends and to help David out to beat somebody that I want him to beat as well, so it don’t get no better than that. I think that David’s going to beat him anyway. I really do believe that. David can be a cautious fighter. He’s a counterpuncher as well. I like David as a person. It was great hanging out with him the first time, and I’m sure that it will be the same way this time.”
As for his next fight, Wilder is keen on the idea of facing either Mitchell, who is coming off June’s unanimous decision over Johnathon Banks, or Arreola, who last suffered a unanimous-decision loss to Bermane Stiverne.
“I feel like my style would definitely be tailor-made to deal with either one of them… They both come forward and they both lean forward above their knees, which gives me the advantage, really, because with my longer arms all that I’d really have to do is to sit back,” said Wilder.
“But we’ll just have to see what happens and when. I feel like the man that really wants to fight me will do whatever it takes to beat his guy and to earn the right to fight me. The one of those guys who least wants to fight me is going to get in there and let the other guy have his way and let him fight me, and he’ll sit back and watch us fight. But we’ll see.”
WILDER: I’VE GOT MORE POWER THAN MIKE TYSON
Wilder had also been called “No. 1…among the American heavyweights,” and, “the best heavyweight prospect for winning the heavyweight title,” by the late Hall of Fame trainer Manny Steward, who trained Klitschko as well as Hearns.
“When people say that sort of thing, it’s all good. It’s a great compliment when people try to size me up to other people, or intimate that I look like other fighters and stuff like that, but I just feel like I’m Deontay, man. I don’t want to be known as the next this guy or the next that guy. I want to build my own legacy, and I want to be known as Deontay Wilder. Like I said, that’s a compliment that people do that, because a lot of people compare me to Mike Tyson with my power, but I feel like I have more power than Mike Tyson, and my arms are longer, too,” said Wilder
“So that makes it even better because when you’re long like me, my weapons are going to be more effective. This man was shorter, so with my longer width, I’m going to have a lot more pop on my shots. I have more of an advantage as well, too. I’ve been compared to having the power of Lennox Lewis and the accuracy of Shannon Briggs. But like I’ve said, those are great compliments and I appreciate them and they make me feel good. But I don’t let it get to my head. I want to build my own legacy and be like no other fighter that you’ve ever seen.’
WILDER ADDRESES QUESTIONS ABOUT HIS CHIN, NUMBER OF ROUNDS
Wilder has 17 first round knockouts, six second-round stoppages, four in the third round and two in the fourth, leading some critics to question his ability to go the distance if he has to, in addition to the strength of his chin.
“Those people are not in the ring, they’re not going the rounds, and they’re not throwing or taking the punches, and neither will I. I think that people are so used to the traditional thing as far as seeing people getting hit, and stuff like that. I beg to differ. The object of boxing is to hit and not get hit, you know, and I abide by that rule. I don’t care if I don’t ever get hit cleanly by a punch. That’s my least thing to prove, whether I have a chin or not. I’m not going to just stand in there and let somebody hit me in the face. I don’t really care about people wanting to know if I’ve got a chin, or can I go the rounds,” said Wilder.
“The thing is, as long as I know what I can do, and as long as I know my abilities and can achieve based on my abilities, then let the next guy try to come on and prove himself against me in the ring. But I’m not just going to sit up there and say, ‘Okay, I’m just going to let this guy come and hit me’ just so that I show the world on national television that Deontay Wilder can take a punch, like, ‘Alright, I’m just going to carry this guy so that I can prove to the world that I can go rounds.’ I don’t care if I don’t have to go beyond four rounds for the rest of my career. I don’t care if I don’t get hit for the rest of my career. For me, I look at it as this being something that never has been done. That will just get me another step closer to being in the Hall of Fame. I’m all about making history.”
WILDER’S MOTIVATION: HIS DAUGHTER, NAIEYA
Wilder said that he’s drawn inspiration from his own admiration for his 8-year-old daughter, Naieya, whose motor skills and learning ability belie the fact that she was born with the congenital disorder spina bifida.
“I made her a promise a long time ago that I would be successful. She’s the main reason that I even got into boxing. If she wasn’t born, I wouldn’t be doing this. God don’t make mistakes, and if it wasn’t for her, then I wouldn’t have been introduced to boxing, and I would never have pursued the career in boxing. I never would have gone to the gym if it wasn’t for her. She is behind me. I’m doing this all for her,” said Wilder, whose youngest daughter, Ava, is a 2-year-old.
“I set a goal a long time ago, and I want to fulfill that dream and that goal that I’ve set for myself. If I stop now, then I won’t feel complete, and it will bother me. I will always wonder what if. She makes fight harder, she makes go through all of the things that I put my body through to get myself into the best possible shape. I love my kids, and they motivate me even more, because there’s nothing like fatherhood. There’s nothing like coming home and seeing those beautiful faces on those small people. I have an opportunity to raise some kids who may be able to change the world. You never know what they can be, and I have an opportunity to prepare them for that.”
ANSELMO MORENO MAKES 11TH DEFENSE OF HIS TITLE
In an event that was promoted by Sampson Lewkowicz, Moreno (34-2-1, 12 knockouts) rebounded from his last fight, when the 28-year-old lost a unanimous decision as a junior featherweight to then-WBC beltholder Abner Mares, ending his winning streak at 27.
Urina (24-3, 20 KOs) had won seven consecutive fights, including six straight by stoppage, before scoring a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Jesus Martinez in his previous bout.
Urina previous loss had come by unanimous decision against once-beaten WBO junior bantamweight beltholder Omar Narvaez in June of 2011.
Also, welterweight Devis Caceres won his fifth straight fight by majority decision over Azael Cosio, and Venezuela’s female WBA featherweight beltholder Ogleidis Suarez (19-2-1, 8 KOs) won the first defense of her title by unanimous decision over Colombia’s Liliana “La Tigresa” Palmera (21-11-3, 15 KOs), whom Suarez had knocked out in the seventh round in October of 2012.
ANTONIO DEMARCO WINS BY FIFTH-ROUND TECHNICAL KNOCKOUT
Former WBC lightweight titleholder Antonio DeMarco (29-3-1, 22 KOs) dropped his man twice in the fifth and final round of Saturday’s technical-knockout victory over junior welterweight rival Fidel Munoz in Tijuana, Mexico.
DeMarco (29-3-1, 22 KOs) bounced back from November’s eighth-round stoppage loss to Adrien Broner, who took the belt DeMarco had earned with an 11th-round knockout of former two-division beltholder Jorge Linares in October of 2011.
In September of last year, DeMarco’s 44-second knockout of John Molina represented his fifth straight win since falling by ninth-round knockout to late Venezuelan Edwin Valero (27-0, 27 KOs) in February of 2010.
GAMALIER RODRIGUEZ, RONALD CRUZ, FELIX VERDEJO ARE ALL VICTORIOUS
Featherweight Gamalier Rodriguez (22-2-3, 15 KOs) won a unanimous decision over Jorge Pazos (14-6-1, 8 KOs) at the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Pa., improving his unbeaten streak to 14-0-1, with 11 knockouts against a man who lost for the third straight time.
Also on the card, welterweight Ronald Cruz (18-2, 13 KOs) ended a two-fight losing streak with his second-round knockout of Rodolfo Armenta, and lightweight Felix Verdejo (7-5, 5 KOs) won a unanimous decision over Guillermo Delgadillo.
Photos courtesy of Deontay Wilder
Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]