The land of the free and the home of …well, probably something other than Deontay Wilder’s next fight, anyway.
Wilder’s mandated title defense against Russian slugger Alexander Povetkin went to a purse bid last month, and it was Povetkin’s promoter, Andrei Ryabinsky, who walked away the winner. To the victor go the spoils. The spoils, in this case, being the right to stage a borscht brawl between two of the top heavyweights in the game.
Ryabinsky will put on the fight in Russia—likely in May in the Moscow area, where most of Povetkin’s Russian fights have taken place—meaning it’s the champ who gets to play stranger in a strange land.
Not that it’s more than a blip on Deontay Wilder’s radar.
“If we got to go to Russia, let's go. I'm prepared to fight anywhere. It's not going to matter to me at all,” Wilder said. “But they're going to a whole lot of trouble for nothing. I'm on a mission to be the undisputed champion. I don't care who he is or where I have to go. I'm a different kind of fighter; I'm a different breed. Going to Russia don't intimidate me.”
It’s a fight that Wilder sees playing out to his natural advantages, namely height and power. Those two ingredients proved to be a winning recipe when Vladimir Klitschko handed Povtekin (30-1, 22 KOs) the lone loss of his career.
In that one, Klitschko had Povetkin down four times, including a three-knockdown seventh, en route to a comfortable decision.
“He couldn’t do anything with Klitschko, and Klitschko is way slower than me,” Wilder said. “Just imagine a guy who is way faster with much more athleticism. If you can't handle him, what are you going to do with me?”
It was a fight that Klitschko dominated, and he got the much-deserved decision. But is it easier for a Ukrainian boxer to get a decision in Moscow than it would be for an American? Particularly if it ends up being the kind of bout where both boxers stay on their feet the whole time?
That’s not a factor that Wilder is bothering himself with.
“If I knock him out, it can't go to no judges,” he said. “If I beat him convincingly like Stiverne, it's obvious who won. At the end of the day it's going to be me and him in the ring no matter where we are. Ain't nobody going to have an advantage or disadvantage. We can fight in a goddamn jungle if you want to.”
And if Wilder performs like he expects and wins the fight? Then Sylvester Stallone gets the tribute he so richly deserves after being shut out of his Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Creed.
“If I beat him I may give them the Rocky IV speech,” Wilder said. “I actually thought about that. If I beat him, ‘We must come together, it's not about you, it's not about me, it's not about USA, it's not about Russia. We are one and the same.’”
- Deontay Wilder