Heavyweight world titlist Deontay Wilder put a lot of pressure on himself on Tuesday. He said that if he does not defeat former titleholder Bermane Stiverne when they meet in a rematch next month that he will retire from boxing.
“Y’all can quote me on this. Y’all can put this on paper. Y’all can put this at the top of the headlines, because the way I’m feeling about boxing right now, if Bermane Stiverne beats me I will retire. You can put that down,” Wilder said during a conference call to talk to boxing reporters about the rematch on Tuesday. “I will be out of the way. Boxing ain’t gotta worry about me no more [if I lose] because it ain’t really doing me no good anyway. Nobody don’t really want to fight.”
Wilder, who easily outpointed Stiverne to win a world title in January 2015, will face him in a mandatory rematch on Nov. 4 (Showtime) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KOs), who will turn 39 a few days before the fight but has fought only once since losing to Wilder, had been training for a fight on the undercard. Stiverne agreed to fill in against Wilder in the main event when Wilder’s original opponent, top contender Luis “King Kong” Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs), tested positive for two banned diuretics, chlorothaizide and hydrochlorothiazide, in a random urine test conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association on Sept. 22.
Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs), 31, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was desperate to face a dangerous contender such as Ortiz to quell the intense criticism he has taken for fighting such a soft schedule through his first five title defenses, though a dangerous fight against Alexander Povetkin was canceled last year when Povetkin also failed a random prefight VADA test for a banned substance.
Wilder went so far as to agree to pay Stiverne a mid-six-figure fee to step aside and allow the fight with Ortiz to take place. But once Ortiz was dumped from the fight Stiverne, the only man to go the distance with Wilder, was next up because he is the mandatory challenger and the bout is overdue.
Wilder would have preferred an opponent that the public and media believe has a better chance to win than Stiverne.
“All I wanted to do is prove that I am the best, and the best don’t wanna fight, so what’s the point of me being in this sport?” he said. “If Bermane beats me — if he beats me — y’all don’t have to hear about me no more. I’m done. That’s how serious it is. It don’t get more serious than that. So let the games begin.
“Like I said, if Bermane beats me, y’all don’t have to hear about me no more. I’m gone. I’m outta here. I’m retiring. That’s it. I might move to MMA or some s—. I’m outta here, and that’s facts.”