Deontay Wilder's career has been hampered by his several opponents failing drug tests and his latest opponent, Luis Ortiz, nearly sent Wilder into retirement.
Wilder recently spoke to Fightful and admitted that he had to take some time away to recollect his thoughts after Ortiz failed a drug test a month before their November 4 battle at the Barclays Center. That would be the third straight fight Wilder has had in which his original opponent failed a drug test, requiring a change of opponent with only weeks before the fight would take place.
The current WBC heavyweight champion admitted that he thought about retiring when he first heard of Ortiz's failed test. Since then, he has doubled down on retirement talks, promising that he will retire if he loses to his new opponent, Bermane Stiverne. Despite the chaos surrounding this fight, Wilder said he is excited to get back into the ring and laments the fact Ortiz will not have a chance to live up to his hype and the "King Kong" nickname.
"I had time to calm myself down a bit because it's been crazy. I had to get away, find myself for a while. It's frustrating when you have to go and prove people so bad. It's life. [Ortiz] got the opportunity, especially when they consider him 'King Kong, the Cuban style! He got power!' Then let's see it then. Now all of sudden, this fight is off. You had to the opportunity to say, 'I'm the best!' I'm happy to be fighting Stiverne because he's my mandatory. I don't know how the hell he got the mandatory in the first place," Wilder said.
But as Wilder now has to defend his WBC title against Stiverne, the WBC mandatory challenger, talks have increased regarding a potential unification fight between Wilder and unified WBA and IBF champion Anthony Joshua. After Joshua defeated Carlos Takam, he and promoter Eddie Hearn indicated that they would be interested in setting that fight.
Wilder said he's not too worried about Joshua's words and doesn't wholeheartedly believe Joshua is all in for a fight. He still hopes to fight Joshua at some point, but right now, his focus is on beating Stiverne.
"Hearn's a little more eager than Joshua because he doesn't have to go into the ring and get hurt. It's going to be easier for him to talk. He says things like, ' Anthony will knock him out in three rounds.' Then make the fight already, you know? We ain't waiting, we're still doing what we do, but make the fight already. I'm happy that I'm getting to fight Stiverne now. With this whole Ortiz situation, I came to realize that some of these people don't want to fight. They say they want to fight, but they don't want to fight. That's the fear factor. That's the story of my life," Wilder said.
Wilder vs. Stiverne is a rematch from their 2015 fight in which Wilder defeated Stiverne to win the WBC title. The rematch is set to headline a Showtime-televised card at the Barclays Center. Fightful will have complete coverage of the entire card.