Mancuso: Deontay Wilder Wants It All, And If Not?

This was not the typical boxing media conference call that would put more hype to a heavyweight title fight at Barclays Center in Brooklyn a week from Saturday. WBC champion Deontay Wilder went on about how boxing can be a sport of not fulfilling goals, and there was opinion that at times shifted gears from the ring to what is wrong with racial division in America.

Then out of nowhere there was this: Wilder said he will retire from the sport if he does not defeat former title holder Bermane Stiverne in their rematch that will be televised on Showtime Championship Boxing.

Just what the doctor did not order, because if Wilder, an advocate of unifying the heavyweight titles holds his word then the once illustrious division in boxing is further complicated. And because boxing has become that type of free-for-all sport when it comes to unity, the prestigious World Boxing Council title also digs a further grave.

If anything, the bombshell by Wilder will further put interest in a heavyweight title fight that was redone after 27-0 Luis Ortiz, the mandatory challenger,  was pulled when he once again tested positive for an illegal substance.  

So as it goes, Wilder gets Stiverne again who he easily defeated on points for the title in January of 2015.

And the last thing we wanted to hear was a reigning world champion putting his title on the line and making that statement about quitting the sport if it does not go his way. Was this a frustrated Deontay Wilder or just another typical way to put more steam into a fight that has sparked minimal interest?  

“Y’all can quote me on this,” Wilder said. “Y’all can put this on paper. Y’all can put this at the top of the headlines because the way I’m feeling about boxing right now, if Bermane Stiverne beats me I will retire. You can put that down. I will be out of the way. Boxing ain’t gotta worry about me no more.”

That is if Wilder should lose this fight, and the frustration stems from claims that nobody wants to fight him, but the 39 year-old Stiverne should be no match if Wilder is healthy and ready. Critics have said that Wilder had easy opponents in his five title defenses and Ortiz would have been the challenge.

That, and Ortiz once again failing a urine test administered by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association brings on a frustrated heavyweight champion.

And there is more to this because Deontay Wilder loves the sport.  But those in the know have seen the champion become more frustrated as his quest to unify the division gets more complicated. It has happened more than once over the Wilder title reign, and right now the center of attention is with Anthony Joshua.

Joshua, holder of two titles in the division defends against Carlos Takam Saturday evening from Wales in a fight also televised on Showtime. To many, Joshua is the new face in a crowded heavyweight division with a promising and new look.

“All I wanted to do is prove that I am the best,” Wilder said. “And the best don’t wanna fight, so what’s the point of me being in this sport? If Bermane beats me, if he beats me, y’all don’t have to hear about me no more. I’m done. That’s how serious it is. It don’t get more serious than that. So let the games begin.”

That sounds significant for sure. Then again, it could be a ploy from Wilder who has always delivered his message in a quest to unify the heavyweight title and prove he is the best.

Wilder made this fight more interesting, Now it is a matter of delivering a rematch to the fans and in the end that is what matters.  Boxing is always about trash talk and until there is a unified  heavyweight champion which has always been a face of the sport, there will always be speculation as to who is the best.

Wilder against Stiverne became that more interesting.

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About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich has covered countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and BoxingInsider.com, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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