Heavyweight Champ Deontay Wilder Thinks Wladimir Klitschko Should Retire If He Doesn’t Win Saturday

We caught up with WBC heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder to talk about Joshua-Klitschko and the chances he fights the winner as early as this summer.

Deontay Wilder Gerald Washington 2017

WBC World Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder celebrates his win over Gerald Washington at Legacy Arena at the BJCC on February 25, 2017 in Birmingham, Alabama

Deontay Wilder Gerald Washington 2017

There are two things in this world Deontay Wilder does better than 99.9 percent of the population: talking and knocking people out.

But instead of wildin’ out with his fists Saturday, Wilder will drop gems behind the mic when the WBC heavyweight champion of the world serves as a guest analyst for one of the division's biggest fights this year—considering the ramifications.

“I was looking forward to coming just to enjoy myself,” says Wilder, “but, hey, ain’t nothing wrong with adding a little work in there.”

The Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko title fight, going down across the pond in London’s Wembley Stadium with 90,000-plus fans expected, has been circled on boxing fans’ and Wilder’s calendar alike. Considering Wilder is hell-bent on unifying the division for the first time since 2000, the Bronze Bomber expects to eventually get the winner this year. And that could very well come in his next bout, creating a mega-fight boxing die-hards and casual sports fans alike have been starved for.

But first, Wilder’s going to do some commentating/scouting ringside as an analyst for Sky Sports Box Office in England—Showtime will air the fight live in the States starting at 4:15 p.m. ET. Before the gregarious Wilder made his way over to the U.K., we caught up with the champ to talk about Joshua-Klitschko, the realistic chances he fights the winner as early as this summer, and whether Conor McGregor would have a shot against Floyd Mayweather.

(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)

I know that you’re a man who can talk with the best of them so I’d imagine that this assignment you have has to be a pretty cool opportunity.
It’s going to be a great opportunity. I’m looking forward to interacting with my fans over in the U.K. as well. Some of them have seen my face before. And to the new ones, I’m looking forward to meeting them. I’ve got a lot of things that have changed, personally. I’m looking forward to that and analyzing the fight as well.

Hopefully it’ll be an action packed fight where Klitschko comes to fight this time. I’m looking forward to seeing a new Klitschko come in this ring. Then if he don’t win this fight, he should retire.

It’s kind of like a goodwill tour out to the U.K. for you.
Most definitely. I’m glad the guys called me up. I was heading over there anyway. It’s only right to work with Sky Sports and do my thing. Commentary is ok for me. That’s not something that I like doing really. I do it just to give my input. I was looking forward to coming just to enjoy myself, but, hey, ain’t nothing wrong with adding a little work in there.

So give me a little bit of an idea of what you’re expecting from the fight?
So what I’m expecting from out of this fight is both men to be cautious at the beginning. Two tall guys that will feel the range out. It’s different when you’re fighting taller guys than shorter guys. It’s much easier to feel a shorter guy than a taller guy. After round one, I’m looking for more activity. I’m just looking mostly for who is going to really let it go and finally get in there and hit that target. Hopefully it’s not one of those dancing fights like [Tyson] Fury and Klitschko. Hopefully it’ll be an action packed fight where Klitschko comes to fight this time. I’m looking forward to seeing a new Klitschko come in this ring. Then if he don’t win this fight, he should retire.

So do you give Klitschko a decent shot in this is one and if he doesn’t win is it pretty much over with for him at age 41?
You have to give everybody a fighting chance in the heavyweight division. The heavyweight division is based on that. You don’t have to have no skill, nothing. [All you need is] Power. Klitschko has that. He’s smart. He’s been around the block. He’s seen every style. So nothing should be a surprise. Even the crowd. Lot of people are talking about the crowd, will it be disruptive for Klitschko? I don’t think so. Whether you’re fighting in front of one person or when you’re fighting in front of 100,000, it should be the same. You’ve got one ring, you’ve got one opponent in front of you, and that’s all that matters.

This is serving as essentially a scouting trip for you with Anthony Joshua. So how excited are you to see him up close because the other big storyline with this fight is that you could eventually get the winner?
I’m looking forward to seeing him in action. I’ve seen Klitschko in action once. Just to see them both collide is going to be good to see. I definitely want the winner down the line. My goal is to unify the division. I’m so adamant about it. I’m so pumped and so serious about it. I’m willing to put my belt against another champion. Hopefully I can line up a fight with Joseph Parker, maybe in July. He don’t have an opponent right now and we’re both available. I’m ready to go, I’m ready to put my belt on the line so hopefully he’ll accept it and get another unification bout on and then at the end of the year have a mega-fight. It sounds so beautiful. We just need everybody on board. A lot of fans are feeling it. We just need the business of boxing to agree as well.

Realistically speaking, does the Parker fight have a better of chance of happening before you meet the winner of Joshua-Klitschko?
I think so. This Parker fight can happen. A date can be set. It’s just going to be up to those guys. They say they want to fight. It’s going to be my third time talking to those guys. Let’s make it happen. I’m tired of talking. I’m tired of sitting back. I’m tired of being the last one to get things. I’m always getting the short end of the stick, whether a fight falling out or someone testing positive [for steroids]. I’m tired of being on the backburner. It’s time to let my light shine and spread my wings. I’ve been ready for a long time. I guess I have to do it verbally with my mouth right now.

Deontay Wilder Chris Areola 2016

And you’ve been chasing Joshua, or at least the two of you have linked together for several years now, so does it feel like the magnetism is finally starting to bring you two closer together?
Most definitely. The fans are making it much bigger and better as it is. We’re both winning and knocking people out. People want to see it. Two strong built guys. That’s the fight everybody wants to see. Two guys from different sides of the pond and I want to give the fans what they want to see. I really want to unify the belts and then that way everybody will have to come see Deontay Wilder. There won’t be a discussion about who Deontay Wilder fights next.

Lou DiBella, your promoter, described the potential of you and Joshua meeting as massive. How would you describe it?
Exactly. Massive. But I don’t want to get my hopes up too high because he definitely has a dangerous guy in front of him. I don’t want to jump the gun because i know what Klitschko is capable of and he’s still got it. Age ain’t nothing but a number. Sometimes it’s about how you feel. You can never give up on a person just because of a number that sits in front of their name. Hopefully he gives a fight and really tests Joshua. I don’t think {Joshua’s] been tested so far. He’s really been about a lot of hype. But I’m ready to end all the hype for everybody. Not just Joshua. Klitschko. Parker. Whoever is next in line who is going to be coming for my belts.

Comparably, in terms of hype, I know you’ve previously talked about how a fight between you and Joshua would be like Ali-Frazier. You really feel like it would be that big?
Oh my God. Oh my goodness. You’re talking about fans that haven’t been tuned in for years. You’re talking about all types of countries tuning it. You’re talking about the world stopping for this fight. You’re talking about a guy unifying the division, having bragging rights, the baddest man on the planet. So no matter what country he goes, when stand on their soil, everybody knows the heavyweight champion of the world. It ain’t got to be three or four guys.

Would you be the favorite in a Wilder-Joshua matchup or a Wilder-Klitschko matchup?
I think so. It has to do with my power. I’ve shown people a lot of different things. I’ve shown people I can box. I’ve shown that I can aggressive. And I’ve shown that no matter what round it is I can get you out of there at any given time. I’m dangerous until the last bell sounds. I think that’s what makes me different from the rest of the guys. And of course how I knock people out. When I knock you out, you might end up dancing on the canvas. You might just sit there like in a coffin. Or I might break something on you. That makes me a different fighter.  

Everybody’s got a fighting chance. No matter what it is. I won’t count [McGregor] out at all. 

You may give me the political answer here, but do you feel like you matchup better with one of them?
Nope. I feel they both have a similar style. It’s more of a stiff, robotic style. Klitschko has the most robotic style. Joshua can move just a little bit. I don’t think it’ll be too much of a difference. They don’t have no flexibility. They’re not coordinated. Either or, I have the same gameplan for both.

No problems with the hand or biceps right now?
No, not at all. The biceps is good. The hand is good. I’m ready to go.

What is the best fight you’ve seen in 2017 in any division?
Golovkin-Jacobs. Gennady did a phenomenal job. But I had Jacobs winning. He did a wonderful job and hopefully he gets a rematch.

Final question: Would you give Conor McGregor any shot against Floyd Mayweather?
Everybody’s got a fighting chance. No matter what it is. I won’t count him out at all. But you’re dealing with one of the best in the world, too. It’s going to be tough for him. To me, it’s just a money scheme. I hope he has fun while it lasts and I hope Conor McGregor for sure doesn’t get hurt, going in there and thinking this is a game. Because as fighters, especially fighters, we don’t play around. We don’t take this as a game. We take this seriously. And you should act accordingly.

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