Wilder’s path to Joshua: Rematching Parker, ditching Scott, and reclaiming glory

By Bob Smith - 12/31/2023 - Comments

Deontay Wilder needs to rematch Joseph Parker and avenge that loss to get the massive payday fight against Anthony Joshua. Wilder must ditch trainer Malik Scott, and that should have already been done.

The way that the former WBC heavyweight champion Wilder (43-3-1, 42 KOs) was beaten by Parker (34-3, 23 KOs) on the ‘Day of Reckoning’ card on December 23rd, Deontay can’t just walk away from that fight, saying, ‘Okay, Joshua, I’m ready to fight you now.’

That type of loss leaves the 38-year-old Wilder with no choice but to at least try and avenge it against Parker if he wants the Joshua payday. If Wilder doesn’t care about the AJ clash, he can certainly move on and fight whoever.

Malik Scott’s departure: Time for fresh eyes

Assuming Wilder does choose to fight the former WBO champion Parker again, he needs to unload his trainer, Scott, and get an upgrade with someone who can truly help him.

Some of the comments that Malik said after the fight suggest that he didn’t have a clue one on how to help Wilder, and it was clearly with the bungling decision to have Deontay move for 12 rounds the game plan was the poorest of the poor.

The Parker Rematch: A Necessary Step?

“I’m of the opinion that the only way you can make Joshua-Wilder viable again is or at least to be viable at the level that he needs to be viable at is to have Wilder run it back with Parker,” said Chris Mannix on his YouTube channel about ‘The Bronze Bomber’ needing to avenge his one-sided loss to Joseph Parker for him to improve his chances of getting the lucrative fight against Anthony Joshua.

There are other fighters that Wilder could fight in place of a rematch with Parker, but unfortunately, they would be far more risky for him because they have talent and power and would be looking to take his head off.

Alternative options for Wilder to face to earn the Joshua payday:

  • Zhilei Zhang
  • Frank Sanchez
  • Andy Ruiz
  • Jared Anderson

“I don’t know that it ends any differently, but I think you try to run that back in March or April. You do it again in Saudi Arabia, and if Wilder can score a knockout, you can try and treat it the same way that AJ treated the [Andy] Ruiz fight, where he bounced back with a win and got back in the big into fights [and lost twice in a row against Oleksandr Usyk after taking a confidence-booster against 39-year-old Kubrat Pulev] immediately after,” said Mannix.

The Joshua dream: Still Alive, But Fading Fast

The way that Wilder has been casual about keeping busy with his career, it’s improbable that he’ll ever agree to make a quick return to the ring in March or April.

He’ll likely be too busy resting, shooting his guns, motoring around his large property on his ATV, traveling, and buying things with his huge $30 million+ fortune. Likely, Wilder won’t return to the ring for another 12 to 14 months at the earliest, with Malik Scott still in his corner, another terrible game plan, and ring-rusty due to inactivity.

“That, to me, is the only pathway to making Wilder-Joshua the caliber of a fight that it needs to be,” said Mannix. “I don’t know if he [Wilder] wins that fight [against Parker]. That right hand [from Deontay] was so badly telegraphed. It was Happy Gilmore-esque, where he’s stepping into it, which made it so obvious for Joe Parker to dip his head or move in a different direction and get out of the way of it.

“Yeah, he landed it glancing a couple of times, and Joe even acknowledged afterward, ‘That dude can crack,’ and he can, but I don’t know that he [Wilder] wins a rematch, not against that version of Joe Parker, who is proving once again the value of activity.”

Wilder could have won the fight against Parker, even with the Mickey Mouse game plan that Malik Scott supplied, but he would have needed to throw punches.

Parker was NOT a defensive wiz that some make him out to be. Wilder looked terrified to throw, and when he did, he’d miss, even with Parker within two feet from him.  Deontay fought like he hadn’t done any sparring for the fight and looked like he’d just showed up for the fight ill-prepared, thinking he’d knock him out.

“That was the fourth fight of the year for Joseph Parker,” said Mannix.

“You look at the three fights that he [Parker] fought, and you can criticize them. Who are the three guys he fought?” said Kevin Iole.

“Nobodies, but he’s active. He’s in the ring, working things out with Andy Lee. He’s in training camp all the time. There’s value in that. We see it time and time again,” said Mannix.

“That’s why Anthony Joshua said at the end of last year, ‘I’ve got to stay active.’ That’s why he fought three times in 2023. You have to stay active if you can to continue to fight at an elite level.”

“I don’t believe it has to be specifically Parker [that Wilder fights]. You got to get him a good win, a good Deontay Wilder type of win over a recognizable opponent,” said Iole.

Alternative path

“How about Andy Ruiz?” said Mannix.

“I think Andy Ruiz would be a great one. If he beats Andy Ruiz in the manner that Deontay Wilder has won other fights, then I think you can sell Joshua-Wilder. ‘He’s back.’ He fought Joe Parker. They can make the argument that Joe Parker came to fight. So this isn’t me saying it. It’s them saying it,” said Iole.

Ruiz would be a good option for Wilder, but it might not be one that would open the door to a Joshua fight because of Andy’s inactivity.

He’s only fought twice since his loss to Joshua in December 2019, and he last fought in September 2022. Ruiz revealed that he’s going to be recovering from shoulder surgery until May or June, so he’s not ideal option for Wilder if he wants to fight in March.

“‘Hey, Joe didn’t really want to fight. He fought. He kind of fought not to lose,’ and ‘Blah-blah-blah.’ They can sell it [Joshua vs. Wilder] if he beats someone recognizable, a big, powerful guy that would be there.

“I agree with you from the standpoint that he [Deontay] needs a convincing, emphatic over a recognizable quality heavyweight,” said Iole.

“Ruiz has the same problems that Deontay has had. He’s been more inactive than Deontay,” said Mannix.

“It’s terrible,” said Iole.

“He won his last fight against Luis Ortiz, and he looked a little chinny in that fight,” said Mannix about Ruiz. “He is so hungry for that payday. He [Ruiz] kept saying, ‘Trilogy.’ This is not like you got the fight back in 2019. You scored one of the biggest upsets that we’ve seen in a long time.”

If Wilder beats Ruiz, he’d still likely need to defeat another well known heavyweight to put himself in position to get the Joshua fight. It would be better for Wilder to forget about Ruiz and go after the Parker rematch or take on Jared Anderson or Zhilei Zhang.

Beating one of those guys would give him a great chance of getting the AJ fight in 2024, as long as his schedule isn’t already filled with fights against Filip Hrgovic and the Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk winner.

“You got the rematch, you got the opportunity. You ate your way out of it. I don’t see Andy Ruiz getting that third fight with Anthony Joshua. Not anytime soon,” said Mannix.

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