By Allan Fox: Deontay Wilder has three excellent options for 2022 against Andy Ruiz Jr, Andy Joshua, and Oleksandr Usyk for his next fight.
Tim Smith of PBC believes those three heavyweights are excellent choices for former WBC heavyweight champion Wilder (42-2-1, 41 KOs) to fight when he returns to the ring this year.
Wilder is with PBC, and he hasn’t yet told them what his plans are for his next fight or if he’s going to continue his career.
‘The Bronze Bomber’ is coming off an exciting eleventh round stoppage loss to Tyson Fury last October in Las Vegas. It was a fight in which both heavyweights hit the deck, and the fans didn’t know who ultimately would win until Fury finished Wilder in the 11th round after dropping him.
Smith would like for Wilder to face Joshua, Ruiz, or Usyk next if possible unless he chooses to take a tune-up. However, he feels that Wilder may elect to take one of those talented fighters rather than a warm-up first.
Wilder’s options: Joshua, Usyk & Andy Ruiz
“The man has got a big heart, but when you look at the heavyweight division, it screams for excitement. It screams for somebody that is going to bring something to the ring, the highwire act, and that’s Deontay,” said Tim Smith to PBC Podcast about Deontay Wilder.
“There are still big fights out there for Deontay. There are still fights out there,” said Tim. “There’s Andy Ruiz, There’s Anthony Joshua, and there’s Usyk.
“When you look at the heavyweight division, you got to put him in the top four or the top five in terms of his marketability and his electrifying ability to knock people out in a single fight, and he’s a gate attraction.
“God bless Tyson Fury, but nobody is coming to see Tyson Fury as a gate attraction unless he’s fighting Deontay Wilder. No one. Maybe in England, if he fights Anthony Joshua, that’ll be a gate attraction.
“Maybe if he fights Usyk over there, it’s a gate attraction, but in America, who is coming and over here to see any of those guys fight anybody other than Deontay Wilder? So he’s still viable.
“It’s up to him to determine when he’s had enough rest and when he wants to come back,” said Smith.
Former IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. will be the most realistic option for Wilder if he’s looking for a fight in the first half of 2022. Ruiz still doesn’t have an opponent yet, and he would be an excellent option for a PPV bout on Showtime.
Joshua and Usyk are currently tied up with their rematch in April, so it’s not realistic for either of those fighters to face Wilder soon.
Moreover, the Joshua vs. Usyk 2 fight winner is expected to face WBC champion Fury or possibly Dillian Whyte if he defeats ‘The Gypsy King’ in their potential fight in late March or early April.
Will Deontay take a tune-up
“It was a brutal fight [with Fury], and he really needs to take time off and recharge his batteries and get himself back together,” Smith said of Wilder.
“He’s never really out of shape. He’s blessed with some incredible DNA in terms of his physical stature.
“So, I think there are three viable fights out there for him if he decides to come back, and they’re all going to be pay-per-view, and they’re all going to be big money fights,” said Smith about Wilder.
“Does he ease back in and fight somebody and go column A, column B, the guys that were on display on January 1st? Does he do that? The winner of these?
“He’s already beaten [Luis] Ortiz, and he’s beaten Gerald Washington. But I think there are some guys out there if he wants to come back and have a comeback fight. But I don’t think he’s of that mentality.
“I think he wants to get back in the ring in a big fight and a big promotion and do his thing. So we’ll see what he does,” said Smith.
Wilder might want to take a confidence booster to get back to his winning ways. It’s been a while since he won a fight, so he might want to face a Gerald Washington type of opponent.