By Mitch Abramson
Heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder didn’t exactly turn the other cheek to a suggestion by Wladimir Klitschko that he should step up his level of competition.
Wilder, who faces unheralded Frenchman Johann Duhaupas on Sept. 26, bristled at the idea he’s faced cream puffs recently, and he accused Klitschko of also reading from the same softies playbook and facing opponents that “we don’t know their names or how to pronounce (their names) or where the hell they came from. They came out of a rabbit box.”
Klitschko, the lineal heavyweight champion, made the critical comments in a conference call on Tuesday to hype his bout with Tyson Fury next month.
Of course, this is all setting the stage for an eventual unification fight between Klitschko and Wilder next year if they both get by their next foes.
But Wilder seemed to be more worked up by Klitschko’s comments, even throwing in a fishnet and Charlie Sheen “winning” reference, than he was about anything that Duhaupas had to say on the call.
“Most of the time when people say things about me or they write about me, I don’t see it myself and most of the time people bring it to my attention and that’s one of the things that my brother brought to my attention,” Wilder said on Thursday.
“I laughed. I almost laughed all day about it because for him to make that statement is for him really to criticize his own self and to talk bad about himself because if he’s talking about opponents he’s been doing the same thing for over a decade. He’s been fighting guys- We don’t know their names or how to pronounce (their names) or where the hell they came from. They came out of a rabbit box. So for him to say that is very laughable for me. But may God bless his heart.”
Of course, Klitschko isn’t the first to lob this accusation at Wilder and his handlers. Before Duhaupas, Wilder faced another unwelcome opponent in Eric Molina in June, so this is familiar territory for Wilder to cover with the media.
“As far as other people- they’re not in the ring,” he said of those who might criticize his level of opposition. “I don’t care about as far as what other people think about it. For him being the champion for so many years and then to go back and (he’s) talking about opponents- I think that he don’t really- he already know what it’s going to be when he faces me. Of course if I fight everybody at the top then that (lessens the chance) of the champ having to face me. And the way I see it he wants me to lose somewhere around there so he can have an easier match for him when it’s time for me and him to fight, which is not going to happen."
"But for everybody else, especially if you haven’t been in the ring before, I don’t really care. I don’t care about what people write. I don’t care about what people say. I don’t even read that. All I do is train and that’s my life. I train and I go do charity things sometime and I do a lot of media stuff. I spend time with my family. Other than that people can’t get mad about what people say about people. I’m winning in the ring and I’m winning in life and my family is taken care of so as long as those things continue to happen. I’m happy.”
Then he took it a step further to show his indifference to what other people say about him, throwing in a fishnet reference whose origins boxing fans will know all too well.
“No matter what people can say- they can write and say I’m gay and they caught me with some fishnets on or something,” he said. “It won’t bother me because my life is good and I’m happy. And that’s what matters- happiness.”