By Jeff Aranow: Deontay Wilder says he still intends on fighting on May 18, whether it’s against Tyson Fury or not. If Fury doesn’t want the rematch, Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs) names the following contenders as options for his May 18 date: Dominic Breazeale, Adam Kownacki or Dillian Whyte.
The big money contract that Fury was given by Top Rank Boxing to fight on ESPN could make him tougher to negotiate with for Wilder. Fury loses nothing if he prices himself out for the Wilder fight. With the big money that Fury is getting with Top Rank, he doesn’t need to fight any the dangerous guys like Wilder and Anthony Joshua for him to get a big payday. The money is already there for Fury from his monster contract with Top Rank. A contract like that might cause Fury to lose his ambition, because he no longer needs to fight the best in order to make money.
Fury (27-0-1 19 KOs) revealed earlier on Monday that he signed a multi-fight co-promotional deal with Top Rank Boxing to fight on ESPN. Although Fury states that he’s still interested in fighting a rematch with Wilder, his new promoters might have other ideas for him. Top Rank signed Fury to a multi-fight deal for a reported $103 million. With that kind of money, they’re going to be selective in how they match Fury, and that could mean that Wilder, who fights for Premier Boxing Champions, won’t be an option.
Wilder says that he’s a free agent, and can fight on ESPN in order to face Fury in a rematch. As far as Wilder’s concerned, the way a rematch with Fury doesn’t happen is if he’s not interested in the fight anymore. If Fury decides he doesn’t want another fight with Wilder, then ‘The Bronze Bomber’ will fight the likes of Kownacki (19-0, 15 KOs), Breazeale, Whyte or Luis Ortiz in mid-May.
“I’m a free agent. I can fight anyone,” Deontay Wilder said to Thaboxingvoice. “I don’t necessarily have to fight on the network that I’m on. I can fight anywhere. I’m the champion though. The rematch [with Fury] is still on the table for him, if he wants it.”
It’s a relief that Wilder is capable of fighting on ESPN if need be in order to fight Fury. Again though, Top Rank will likely have their own ideas what they want to do with Fury now that they’ve paid him so much money to sign him.
“We’re still fighting in mid-May,” Wilder said. “It could be the 18th. That hasn’t changed. Deontay Wilder will still be in the ring. It could be [Dominic] Breazeale. It could be [Adam] Kownacki. You got [Andy] Ruiz. You got [Luis] Ortiz again. A lot of people would love to see it. Hopefully it’s Fury,” Wilder said.
If Wilder chooses Whyte, he’s going to put him and his promoter Eddie Hearn on the spot, because they seem to be under the belief that Deontay has been avoiding him. For Wilder to suddenly try and line up a fight against Whyte, it’ll create a situation where he’ll have to back up his talk. As of now, the World Boxing Council has already ordered Whyte to face mandatory challenger Breazeale (20-1, 18 KOs) for the interim WBC heavyweight title. Whyte is interested in taking that fight because he wants to get a title shot against Wilder. However, if Deontay volunteers to give Whyte a title shot against him on May 18, then it’s going to be interesting to see what he and Hearn choose to do. Will they agree to fight Wilder or will they reject the fight, saying that they want to earn a better purse split by beating Breazeale to become the WBC mandatory challenger.
#5 WBC Kownacki (19-0, 15 KOs) would be an excellent option for Wilder’s May 18 fight. Kownacki has a lot of Polish boxing fans that would come see him and Wilder fight it out. This would be the second Polish fighter that Wilder has faced. In 2016, Wilder knocked out Artur Szpilka in the 9th round. Szpilka had to be taken out of the ring on a stretcher after being knocked out by Wilder. Kownacki knocked out Szpilka in the July of 2017. Last month, Kownacki knocked out former world title challenger Gerald Washington in the 2nd round on January 26. Washington was knocked out by Wilder in the fifth round in February 2017. Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller stopped Washington in the seventh round in July 2017. Kownacki could be more dangerous of opponent for Wilder than Dillian Whyte would be due to his heavy hands. Whyte isn’t a huge puncher. He talks like he’s a knockout artist, but he’s not. Whyte is a better talker than he is a puncher.
“It’s a draw, nobody won and nobody lost,” Wilder said about his 12 round draw against Fury last December. “I’d like to see a winner and a loser. To even it out, we’ve got to see a rematch. Everyday, he thinks about that knockout. He don’t even know how he got up. He’s not going to be no better than he was. I seen everything he has to offer. The only thing he seen of me is my power, and it carries from the first round to the twelfth round. I’m very dangerous no matter what. I’m a very dangerous human being,” Wilder said.
What Wilder says about Fury not being better in the rematch could prove to be correct. Fury did a lot of movement, feints and boxing during their fight last December. Fury isn’t going to be able to do more than what he did last time. His game is set. That’s how Fury fights, and he’s not going to able to come into the fight with a new plan going after Wilder to try and back him up and knock him out. This isn’t like the Saul Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin rematch where we saw a more aggressive Canelo going on the attack to back GGG up. Fury lacks the punching power to take the fight to Wilder. If Fury does go into the teeth of Wilder’s offense, he’s going to put himself in position where he could get knocked down or KO’d.
“This is great news [Fury signing with Top Rank Boxing to fight on ESPN],” Wilder said. “I’m happy for him.”
If Wilder is a free agent, as he says, you have to wonder why Top Rank didn’t make a huge offer to him to sign him with their stable. Did they hold back because they don’t see him as having the longevity that Fury possesses or was this decision based solely on Wilder’s popularity in comparison to Tyson’s.
“A Dillian Whyte fight in the UK would definitely interest me,” Wilder said.
Once Whyte’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing hears this news of Wilder being willing to fight Dillian, the next move will be his to phone up his co-manager Shelly Finkel to start up the negotiations with him to try and put the Wilder-Whyte fight together. If Wilder is willing to give Whyte a title shot in three months from now, then there’s no point in a fight with Breazeale being made for Dillian. Hearn needs to start negotiating the fight between Wilder and Whyte right away so that he’ll be ready to go on May 18 against him. However, it’s unlikely that Whyte will take the fight with Wilder. Whyte complained that April 13 was too soon for him to challenge IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO champion Anthony Joshua for his titles at Wembley Stadium in London, England. If the April date was too soon for a huge fight with Joshua, then it’s very likely the case that Whyte will feel that May 18 is too soon to be taking on Wilder for his World Boxing Council title. Whyte doesn’t want to rush himself and get beaten by Wilder, so he’s probably going to reject that fight and continue with his focus of facing Breazeale next for the interim WBC heavyweight title.
“I’m still saying there will be a rematch until I hear something else,” Wilder said of Fury. “Talking to him, everything is still good at this point in time. The WBC already determined that it would be 60-40 if it goes to purse bids, so I’m in good shape either way,” Wilder said talking about the possibility that the negotiations with Fury winds up going to a purse bid.
Wilder thinks Fury would be “stupid” not to take the rematch with him, but he would fully understand if it he chooses not to take the fight. Wilder says that his knockout of Fury in the 12th took something from him. Wilder calls it a “knockout” despite it being counted as just knockdown due to the referee Jack Reiss giving a count with Fury seemingly unconscious for the first half of the count. Wilder thinks Fury won’t be the same after that vicious knockout, and might not want to deal the possibility of that happening to him again. Wilder believes that Fury thinks about that knockdown everyday.
“We’re going to see who is the last heavyweight champion standing,” Wilder said. “We’re going to see who the last man is standing, and I guarantee you, it’s going to be me. I promise you that. Didn’t I say Fury was going to go timber? It happened. That’s what he thinks about all the time, that traumatic moment. It would be a stupid move not to fight me, but I would understand it, because I hit the hardest in the division. I’m the most scariest fighter in the division, hands down,” Wilder said.
The way Fury was knocked unconscious by Wilder in the 12th round, it’s difficult imagining him coming back from that to be the same fighter. In a lot of cases when a fighter is knocked out the way Fury was, they become prone to suffering additional knockouts, and their career quickly goes downhill. Top Rank Boxing promoter Bob Arum obviously saw how badly hurt Fury was by Wilder in the 12th round last December, and he might not want to risk having him get knocked cold a second time. With all the money Top Rank is paying Fury, they’re not going to want to see him get damaged. There’s too much money for Fury to make Top Rank for his future fight against Anthony Joshua. That’s likely the end game for Top Rank. It’s posssible that Top Rank will have Fury swerve the Wilder rematch, and instead put him in a serious of showcase fights [read: mismatches] until he gets the big Joshua cash out fight. With that big payday, they can get at least two fights out of Fury before they deplete that match-up. From there, they’ll possibly look Wilder’s way and setup the rematch with him. If Fury loses twice to Joshua, obviously the Wilder rematch won’t be the same as it was, but there will still be a lot of interest in that fight from the boxing public given how close Tyson came to beating Deontay last December.
“I think something in between will make it lose a little steam, because people are so crazy right now,” Wilder said about the Fury rematch needing to take place next in order for the boxing public to continue to be excited about it. “People want it now, now, now and now. But anyone that fights me, I take something from them. The head isn’t meant to be hit. All the fighters I’ve fought, I’ve taken something from them.”
It’s out of Fury’s hands, who he fights next. He even said it himself earlier today in telling the boxing media that he’ll fight whoever his promoters put in front of him. Fury’s answer to the question of who he’ll fight next showed a certain passivity that suggests that he’s to let his co-promoters at Top Rank make the decisions for him in picking out his opponents. That means Top Rank will very likely have Fury fighting these guys for his next three to four fights:
– Kubrat Pulev
– Bryant Jennings
– Joseph Parker
– Agit Kabayel
“Three,” Wilder said when asked how many fights he wants in 2019. “If anyone can accomplish that, it’s me. These guys don’t want to fight Luis Ortiz. He’s been trying to fight these guys. People talk about his age. That’s an easy excuse,” Wilder said.