Deontay Wilder says rival Malik Scott is ‘like my brother’
Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder said that he first met Malik Scott during the summer of 2011, when the American heavyweights were serving as sparring partners for Tomasz Adamek in advance of the veteran contender's 10th-round knockout loss to Vitali Klitschko in September of that year.
"We were in the Tomasz Adamek camp when Adamek was preparing to fight Vladimir Klitschko for the title. That's where I met Malik. We clicked really quickly," said Wilder, who turned 28 on Oct. 22 — six days after Scott's 33rd birthday.
"It was like we had known each other forever, man. It was great. We started sharing different things. His birthday and my mother's birthday are on the same day, and my birthday and his mom's birthday are on the same day. It's crazy."
Although the 6-foot-7 Wilder later recruited the 6-4 Scott as a sparring partner in advance of his first-round knockout of ex-beltholder Sergei Liakhovich in August of last year, the 2008 bronze medalist said they never broached the notion of one day being adversaries.
"We never discussed that. We never talked about fighting each other. We talk on the phone every so often, but we never discussed that there might be a chance that we might be fighting each other," said Wilder,
"We felt that there were other heavyweights that we would face to go where we wanted to go, but that's just what it is. I guess that that's why a lot of fighters don't get too close to each other in that division, because sometimes, you just have to fight one of your friends."
That will be the case on March 15 at the historic Colisio Ruben Rodriguez in Bayamon, Puerto, when Wilder (30-0, 30 knockouts) takes on Scott (36-1-1, 13 KOs) as part of what could be a Showtime-televised tripleheader whose main event matches RING, WBA and WBC junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia (27-0, 16 KOs) and rugged Mexican-American Mauricio Herrera (20-3, 7 KOs).
The Garcia-Herrera card also features a 130-pound crossroads rematch between Juan Manuel Lopez (33-3, 30 KOs) and fellow two-division titleholder Daniel Ponce de Leon (45-5, 35 KOs). Ponce de Leon was stopped in the first round by Lopez in June of 2008, and lost his WBO junior featherweight title to the Puerto Rican.
In his last fight in October, Wilder scored two first-round knockdowns on the way to a fourth-round stoppage of Nicolai Firtha. The win over Firtha followed a first-round stoppage of 2000 Olympic gold medalist Audley Harrison in April.
Scott rebounded from a disputed sixth-round knockout loss to England's Dereck Chisora in July with a second-round stoppage of Grover Young on Jan. 24.
RingTV.com spoke to Wilder about the prospect of facing Scott in this Q&A below.
RingTV.com: How do you plan to endear yourself to the Puerto Rican fans?
Deontay Wilder: Well, Puerto Rico sounds good to me. That's new territory and an opportunity to win some new fans. I'm going to bring them what I always bring to my fights.
I'm going to bring excitement and I'm going to bring entertainment, and I'm going to bring a lot of power. I'm fighting one of my good friends. I mean, he's like a brother to me.
But at the end of the day, we're fighting first, and we've got to take care of business first, or else, neither of our careers will prosper beyond this fight.
We both want to go to the next level, and we both want to be the best. So, we have to go through each other, and that's just part of the business.
RTV: Can you characterize your relationship with Scott?
DW: Well, it all started when we were in the Tomasz Adamek camp when Adamek was preparing to fight Vladimir Klitschko for the title.
That's where I met Malik. We clicked really quickly. It was like we had known each other forever, man. It was great. We started sharing different things. It's crazy.
His birthday and my mother's birthday are on the same day, and my birthday and his mom's birthday are on the same day. It's crazy.
RTV: Did you ever talk about the potential for fighting each other?
DW: No, we never discussed that. We never talked about fighting each other. We talk on the phone every so often, but we never discussed that there might be a chance that we might be fighting each other.
We felt that there were other heavyweights that we would face to go where we wanted to go, but that's just what it is.
I guess that that's why a lot of fighters don't get too close to each other in that division, because sometimes, you just have to fight one of your friends.
Sometimes, it's awkward, because we you know this guy and you've grown to love this guy, and you call him a brother, and now, here it is time for you to compete in the ring and stuff. I'm a very competitive person.
I don't like to lose at all. It's going to be a very interesting fight. We're going to come out and fight and we're going to come that much closer to reaching our goals. We're going to be able to take care of our families, and at the end of the day, that's all that matters.
RTV: Have you ever sparred with Scott?
DW: The only time that me and Malik got work in was when I brought him to my camp. That's when I was training for the Liakhovich fight. The other time that we were in camp together was when we tag-teamed the other fighter.
RTV: Can you describe how your sparring sessions went with Scott?
DW: It was good. We traded different shots. I took some, and he took some, of course. I was stronger than him, had more power and had a much stronger punch. I would say that I'm quicker than he is, too, and I'm definitely more athletic than he is.
But he definitely has more skills. But everybody knows that what kills skills is will. I have a whole lot of that, and I have a big heart. It's going to be a great fight.
So if you don't have Showtime, then you should subscribe right now. It's going to be a great card, overall, and it's going to be two American heavyweights coming to fight. It's going to be great. In my eyes, Malik still is undefeated.
RTV: How do you expect the fight to go?
DW: I think that I'm definitely going to be tested, but I'm definitely going to bring "The Bronze Bomber," like I always do. We're going to see what he brings. The thing about it is we both know what the other is capable of doing.
I definitely know that he has the skills, but he definitely knows that I have the power and the will, as well. So that's one of those those things that people have to tune in to see, because I don't know what's going to happen.
Deontay Wilder can get out-boxed by a skillful fighter, or Malik Scott could get knocked out by a power-puncher. So this is going to be a great fight. People have been looking for a step-up fight out of me, and out of him as well, so you don't want to miss this.
I have told my fans that 2014 is going to be a great year, and I'm glad that I can start out with this fight. It's going to be great. Even though he's like my brother, I'm excited to start the year out like this, because this will open up a lot of other things for me.