By Keith Idec
Now that the initial sting of Anthony Joshua’s upset loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. has subsided, Deontay Wilder has taken an optimistic approach to their highly anticipated fight falling apart.
The unbeaten WBC champion told Scott Van Pelt on his ESPN show Wednesday night that he believes he’ll eventually fight Joshua. That’ll largely depend, of course, on whether Joshua can beat Ruiz in their immediate rematch later this year.
“Well, you know, I think that fight will always be there,” Wilder told Van Pelt. “It doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world when you have a loss. You know, many of champions, many of our champions in history have came back from losses. That’s how they became two-time, three-time, four-time, five-time champions. You know, a lot of people think just because you lose, then it’s over with. Because with the landscape that’s going on, you have a fighter [Floyd Mayweather] that came up with the motto of having a reputation of winning all the time. And he made a lot of money out of it. He executed on winning and keep winning.
“And now, these fighters, they see that and they think that you have to be undefeated to get all the way to the very top and make the most money. But that’s not true. You know, most fighters, you have more fighters in the business that have more opportunities fighting [for] the titles with [losses on their] records, … It’s all about what you do upon defeat, how you get back up, you know, brush yourself off.”
Wilder did acknowledge that a fight with Joshua would be worth less money now that the British superstar suffered a seventh-round, technical-knockout loss to Ruiz on June 1 at Madison Square Garden. Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) was a 25-1 favorite over Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs) before Ruiz dropped Joshua four times and won the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO titles from him.
“Just because he lost and the mega-fight ain’t happening right now doesn’t mean that it can’t happen in the future,” Wilder said. “It does mess up the money a little bit, but hey man …”
Van Pelt interjected to state that Joshua’s loss would affect the former champion’s cut more than his share, assuming Wilder were able to remain unbeaten before they fought.
A laughing Wilder replied, “Not mines! There you go! You’re a smart man! It ain’t messin’ mines up!”
In his next fight, the 33-year-old Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs), of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is expected to face Cuban southpaw Luis Ortiz (31-1, 26 KOs, 2 NC). Their rematch likely will take place in October or November.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.