By Keith Idec
Deontay Wilder acknowledged again this week that he’ll fight Gerald Washington in two weeks because he doesn’t view Washington as an unusually dangerous opponent.
Wilder hasn’t fought since he had surgeries six months ago to repair injuries to his right hand and right biceps. The unbeaten WBC heavyweight champion admits he had to be conservative about choosing an opponent for testing those injuries.
Washington can’t wait to show Wilder he made an enormous mistake choosing him as a replacement once Poland’s Andrzej Wawrzyk (33-1, 19 KOs) tested positive for stanozolol, an anabolic steroid, last month.
“He’s gonna be shocked, just like every fighter that steps in the ring with me,” Washington told BoxingScene.com. “I’m gonna surprise him, and it’s gonna be very humbling to him.”
The 6-feet-7, 225-pound Wilder (37-0, 36 KOs) is heavily favored to defeat the 6-6, 245-pound Washington (18-0-1, 12 KOs), a former USC football player who didn’t make his pro debut until he was 30 years old.
Wilder, 31, has faced better opposition than Washington, has won 97 percent of his fights by knockout and they’ll fight February 25 near Wilder’s hometown. Washington still isn’t the least bit intimidated.
“Everybody can punch, man,” Washington said. “Everybody keeps talking about how Deontay can punch. Everybody can punch. If he lines you up, yeah OK, cool. I know I need to defend for that big punch. All right. That’s what I know how to do. I know how to defend myself. My only issue is learning how to step up my offense. I know how to be defensive. I need to learn how to be offensive. And I’ve learned those lessons, and I’m ready for this fight.”
Wilder told a group of reporters Wednesday in Manhattan that Washington isn’t prepared for what he’ll face in a fight FOX will televise from Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama.
“He could approach it however he wants to,” Washington said. “Whatever his mindset needs to be, that’s fine. But I know what my job is and I know what I need to do. I know what my goals are and I know how to accomplish those things. And I’m gonna go to work on that night. We’ll see how it works out. We’ll see his boxing against my boxing, and we’ll see how the night turns out.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.