by David P. Greisman
Deontay Wilder’s detractors used to think it wasn’t long before his knockout streak would be ended and so, too, would his chances of becoming something in the heavyweight division. But the 29-year-old won a heavyweight title this year with a decision over Bermane Stiverne and has defended it once since, with his second defense coming against Johann Duhaupas on the Sept. 26 broadcast of “Premier Boxing Champions” on NBC.
Wilder wants to have a productive title reign and become the undisputed heavyweight champion, yet he also doesn’t want to remain in the ring for an extended period of time.
“I’m definitely an active champion,” Wilder said on a Sept. 17 media conference call. “I’m looking forward to … defending my belts as many times as possible. I don’t see myself being in this sport a very long period of time, so I want to fight as much as possible. I want to defend and put my title on the line as much as possible. If the top in the division are ready to try to come and take my belt — and the key word is ‘try’ — I’m ready to give them the opportunity.”
Duhaupas wouldn’t be considered among the top of the division. He is 32-2 with 20 KOs, with those losses coming by decision to Francisco Pianeta (who would go on to be a Wladimir Klitschko fall guy) in 2008 and prospect Erkan Teper earlier this year. His last appearance was a majority decision victory over former Vitali Klitschko fall guy less than one month after the Teper loss.
But Wilder also has a mandatory challenger in the wings: Alexander Povetkin, whose lone loss came to Wladimir Klitschko and who would be by far the most difficult foe Wilder has faced yet. He also would like to face Klitschko himself.
“I’m looking to have maybe 10 years in this sport, especially at the capacity I’m going with defending my titles and the things we have planned and lined up,” he said, though he didn’t specify — and the media members who asked questions on the call didn’t ask him to specify — whether he meant 10 years in total from his November 2008 pro debut or 10 years from the time he won his first world title.
One would mean a career ending in just three years when Wilder is just off his 33rd birthday. The other would take Wilder to 2025, when he’ll be 39 years old. However, when one writer mentioned that a decade would bring Wilder to about 39, the fighter didn’t issue a correction.
“I have so many things that I want to do in my life. I just don’t see myself being a fighter forever,” he said. “Boxing is my love and my passion. It also opens up and sets other things in my life as well. Many fighters may not have a plan after boxing. For some boxers, boxing is all there is and all they know. For me, I have other goals and plans in my life that I want to see myself accomplish.”
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