Deontay Wilder and Gerald Washington, along with undercard fighters Tony Harrison and Jarrett Hurd, all held a conference call to discuss their upcoming fights.
How’s it going? I just want to thank God and Al Haymon, my team, and PBC and everyone for this opportunity.
You know, (IBF) is now on the line and I treat this fight, the same as I treat every other fight — protecting my own wins and building my legacy is the most important thing to me. So going to this fight, it’s nothing different. I have the same mindset as I’ve always had.
Like you mentioned, it’s rising stars at 154-pounds. I don’t plan on slowing that down anytime soon. Come February 25, there will be a storm in Birmingham, Alabama and a new champion at 154.
How did you find out that, in fact, this fight with yourself and Tony was going to actually be for the vacant title, and what was your immediate reaction?
Lou was already in the talks. Today was just the day that they finally put it out there for everyone to see. It was already in the talks and we kind of had a couple of conversations that Jermall Charlo was going to vacate. We just wanted to get it finalized then.
I knew if it wasn’t this fight, my next fight I was fighting for IBF so I knew 2017 was going to be a big year for me.
This is what all boxers dream of, to fight for the world title. I was super excited. We were jumping around the gym. We knew this day was going to come. It came faster than I expected but I’m ready.
Do you think that your power might ultimately be the difference in this fight or is it going to be, in your mind, more of a boxing match?
Oh yes, the power is going to definitely have a lot to do with it. I don’t think that’s going to be the main factor, I feel I’m the more skillful boxer. He got put down by Willie Nelson, and he also got put down by Fernando Guerrero. He should not be able to take my big shots.
We’ve got a game plan to go out there with skills, we know we’ve got to watch out for his power. The main thing we want to do is take that away from him. So once we get that going, the fight is going to be in my favor.
Can you just give me your thoughts about how significant it is to you to not only get these kinds of fights but to be in front of this kind of audience?
It’s great. I feel like that the fight last year with Oscar Molina was one of the biggest cards that there was in 2016; Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter. And it’s those big lights and me fighting under the bigger lights that gets me going. They say you get nervous or butterflies and you get off your game game, but I feel like I’m ready.
And this opportunity for the world to get to see on free TV, that’s a big opportunity for me to get my name out there.
It didn’t look like the lights bothered you in Brooklyn, Jarrett.
Can you just discuss when did you first hear about Jermall vacating and what was your initial reaction when you heard those rumors?
I probably was told about this maybe three weeks prior to now. I didn’t expect it to happen this fast but, the route that I went, the level of competition I was fighting, it put me to this point where I am today.
We were sitting down in the gym and we got the call, and Al was telling me like, “I told you it was going to be here Jarrett. This is it, this is what you worked for.”
I went home and ran a couple of miles that night, thinking about it because I know that sometimes for people it could be a once in-a-lifetime opportunity. So I don’t want to take it for granted, man.
On the 25th, I’m going to show exactly how hard I’ve worked and it’s finally going to pay off for me.
Was that how it was explained to you that it was pretty certain that he would vacate, or that was just a rumor at that point?
No, I wasn’t certain it was just a rumor; it was possible. It was because he mentioned that in his fight with Julian Williams. But it wasn’t for certain, and it was just something that was mentioned and talked about like he may be vacating. We don’t want to put it out to the media, but it’s basically a possibility.
Jermall pretty much was indicating for a while that it was his intention to get out of the division. And I think that both Jarrett and Tony knew that it was inevitable, but neither one of them was sure it would be in time for this fight.
What’s your opinion about Jermall moving up?
I think him moving up was a better decision for him to be safe. He couldn’t make the weight, going to fights not quite 100% — especially as a champion and the caliber of fighter that’s going to be coming him. I think he should have moved up if he couldn’t make the weight. And I think there’s some real fights up there at 160 that he can find.
So I don’t think it was a bad decision. Jermall Charlo is a great champion. I was looking forward to — after this fight — fighting him. But him moving up, I’m a big fighter at 160, I’m going to have to move up eventually, so maybe one day we’ll still meet.
Jarrett, I have a quick question for you.
Jarrett, you’re a real nice guy, like you’re very approachable to fans and people. But on this particular call, you wanted to be alone with the press and answer your questions alone, and you didn’t want to have any interplay with Tony. I think you said that you didn’t want to really talk to Tony until you talked to him in the ring.
You want to mention and talk just a little about that because I think that’s sort of interesting?
I’ve just always been the guy who doesn’t get involved in trash talk as much as Harrison is. He’s kind of loud and outspoken. I don’t know how the conversation would have went.
I’m not the type of guy that would go back-and-forth with someone. The time comes when the time comes. But right now, I’m just focused on training and I didn’t want to play the mind game and try to talk. It’s not going to be factor for anybody, but I just didn’t want to get too much into that. I just want to focus on the fight and I’ll see him in Alabama.
If you win this title, would you look forward to possibly bringing a title fight to the MGM National Harbor in Maryland?
That actually was my plan. After this fight, I was going to try to ask if I could bring a hometown fight, after winning the belt, because I haven’t been fighting at home lately.
Now I know I have a lot of people coming out, but fighting at home is something different, man, bringing somebody new in. Just to be able to be a World Champion and fight here at the MGM National Harbor, that’s definitely a goal of mine. I can’t wait to achieve it.
And just quickly before I introduce Tony, tickets for this event start at $25. They are on sale right now at Ticket Master by visiting AlabamaTitleFight.com. There are Valentine’s Day ticket promotions that have been extended until this Friday, for the premium seats.
Good seats still available and we have very affordable seats still available. So anybody in that Alabama area or anybody that can drive to Alabama, join us because this is unbelievable card on Saturday the 25th.
One last time, the FOX and FOX Deportes broadcast will begin at 8:00 pm ET, 5:00 pm PT. So that will be the tripleheader featuring Breazeale and Ugonoh, Tony Harrison and Jarrett Hurd for the IBF Junior Middleweight Title, and Deontay Wilder and Gerald Washington for the WBC Heavyweight Title.
And then that will be followed on FS1 by a broadcast that begins at 10:00 pm ET/7:00 pm PT.
So without further ado, I’m going to introduce that I’ve always been a big fan of; he’s a huge puncher, out of the Fighting City of Detroit Michigan; has a 24-1 record with 20 big KOs. His last win was an explosive ninth round stoppage of Sergey Rabchenko on July 30 at Barclays Center. Three consecutive wins since his only loss to Willie Nelson — which was in July of 2015. He comes from a fighting family. Both his dad and granddad were pro-boxers.
So a man who is going to be fighting Jarrett Hurd for that IBF World Title on February 25, Tony Harrison.
I’ve got a lot of sparring rounds on this body, a lot of miles on the track on this body, and mentally, I just want to punch him.
When did you find out that this would be for the title and how do you feel about that?
I just found out today. I had the understanding that it was already an eliminator. So I wanted to go see the Julian Williams and Jermall Charlo fight.
Then I waited, which is my longest period — eight months — of not fighting. Thinking at the end of the rainbow was every boxer’s dream.
Then it turned out that I had to fight again for another eliminator. So it was kind of discouraging for me to have to sit and wait that long, without something in between, thinking that pot at the end of the rainbow was the golden ticket. It obviously wasn’t.
Then Al called me and makes a guy from Detroit’s dream come true. And I was the happiest guy when I found out.
So the wait was worth it. My pop has always told me; patience is a virtue — be patient. And I was patient enough. Today was a good day to have a man named Al Haymon.
I just wanted to know from you, how much did that loss put you off the schedule that you had in your mind, and then what have you learned since then now that you actually have the title shot that you wanted back then?
I honestly never had a schedule in my head. I’m just here from Detroit. Man, they never give us nothing. Even at the part with Willie Nelson, I was talked about but, you know what I mean? I wasn’t in the top 10 of any sanctioning body.
So for me, it was just keep doing what you’re doing. Eventually you’re going to kick your door down. So for me, it wasn’t about them giving me anything.
So it wasn’t a schedule for me; I just wanted to take whatever they put in front of me, I told them, “Yes.”
As for my defeat, I went back to the drawing board. It gave me the realization that winning or losing, they are going to talk about you. The crazy thing is I got more talked about when I lost than I got when I won.
It put me in a mindset of myself to just do what you got to do to win. You don’t have to be that die-hard Mexican-style fighter, get hit, get hit, knock somebody out, you don’t have to do that to make money and to feed your family.
So at the end of the day now, it just put me in a mindset of training hard and just be in the best shape possible and make the adjustments as you go along.
From that loss, a lot of people probably would have stuck their heads down. I got right back in the gym and I started working hard.
From Cecil McCalla, to Fernando Guerrero to me knocking him out, to me fighting Sergey Rabchenko who was ranked by every single sanctioning body, before I fought him, and I wasn’t ranked in one.
But like I said again, I take on challenges as a competitor, and everything happens for a reason. So I kept my head high, I kept working and now I’m right back in it. The second time should be my best time.
What are your thoughts about having to deal with a guy like Jarrett Hurd’s power?
I’m probably been in better shape than when I’ve been fighting anybody else. But statistically speaking, he just fought Jo Jo Dan who was naturally a smaller guy, and he got touched up. He fought Oscar Molina who was an Olympian but didn’t have anyone on his resume and then he fought Frank Galarza.
So all those guys were really made for him to take advantage of. He hasn’t fought nobody this fast, this strong and this smart. I’m going to show this guy how seasoned I am. They don’t realize that I have more knockouts than this guy has fights.
So for me, my confidence is at an all-time high fighting a guy like Jarrett Hurd. Jarrett Hurd, , he’s been sensational. But part of being a competitor is fighting the best. And if Jarrett Hurd’s name is mentioned and everybody is mentioning Jarrett Hurd and they don’t want to fight Jarrett Hurd, then Tony Harrison will.
Do you think Hurd has been built up on prospects?
He’s been built up on the guys that they had questions about. With the fights that Jarrett Hurd won, they were reasonable opponents, very, very very reasonable. So I’m not discrediting anything he’s done. They put them in front of him, he beat them. He earned the shot just like I did.
So very, very credible guys but, to my point, I think Jarrett Hurd wasn’t even the number three guy; they bumped him up to number 3, so he didn’t earn it.
So in my head, I’m already going in as the stronger fighter. Everything they gave me, I earned. I earned my shot. And then I was going to earn it again from Jarrett Hurd without the title. I was going to have to earn it again with another mandatory shot.
They didn’t bump me up nothing. They didn’t push me up, they didn’t give me nothing. I earned it. Everything that they’ve given me, I earned it. And I was going to earn it again whether for a title or not. I told them yes to Jarrett Hurd and it was supposed to be for the eliminator, another eliminator that I had already fought.
I’m taking it the hard way. I never had a problem taking this the hard way because I was going to earn it again. You know what I mean?
Well, Tony, it could all pay off – it could all pay off on the 25th because if you come out of that night with a victory, you’re the new IBF Junior Middleweight Champion of the World. So I look forward to seeing you in Alabama.
And I appreciate it. Thank you, thank you so much, man. It’s a dream come true. And like I said, haven’t forgotten Detroit.
Now we’re going to move on to the main event of the evening on the 25th the Heavyweight Champion of the World, Deontay Wilder against Gerald Washington for the WBC Title.
As almost everyone on this call knows, Deontay is already coming off a big win this week so it’s been quite a week for Team Wilder. And he didn’t get the chance to beat up Povetkin in Russia because Povetkin cheated, but we did get the chance to beat him in a Federal District Court in New York, and we did that.
So, you know, funny enough, as things happen, we have another opponent for Deontay in Birmingham, Alabama on the 25th, and that opponent tested positive for a performance enhancing drug.
So as a result of that, the fight fans and the people of Alabama are actually going to get to see a better fight against an opponent who is a clean guy and a much more interesting person — Gerald Washington; 6’6, 34 years old, “El Gallo Negro”, born to an African-American dad and a Mexican-American mom; ranked number 8 by the WBC; hopes to become the first Mexican-American World Heavyweight Champion; has a number of good wins in a row.
But his back story is really interesting. Here’s a man that’s been four years in the U.S. Navy as a helicopter mechanic serving his country. He attended the University of Southern California where he played tight end and defensive end of the football team; was a member of the practice squads for the Seattle Seahawks and the Buffalo Bills so he’s a hell of an athlete. And if you’ve seen him in person, he’s a huge man.
And as big and imposing a guy he is to look at, he’s a real man’s man and a really nice person, and it’s been a pleasure to get to know Gerald a little bit in recent months.
I want to acknowledge my co-promoter on this Heavyweight title fight — TGB Promotions — and it’s always a pleasure to work with them and my friend Tom Brown.
And without further ado, “El Gallo Negro” Gerald Washington.
We’re very excited for the opportunity. Man, it’s a dream come true and I look forward to fighting Deontay Wilder in his backyard, for the WBC title. It’s an amazing opportunity for me and we are ready to take the challenge on.
Great. And on this call, we are all going to be together on the call and the fighters will be available to answer questions together after I get a chance to introduce a man I’m extremely proud to be able to work with.
He’s a credit to the sport as well as the most exciting heavyweight, in my mind, in the world. He has knockout power and a knockout ratio unlike anybody else’s; “The Bronze Bomber,” Deontay Wilder.
I’m feeling good man. If you all didn’t know it’s been a long, long week. But I’m feeling great. I’m always excited when it’s time to fight. I’m back home again in Birmingham, Alabama, I’m feeding my people. taking one step at a time to unify the belts in the division. I’m overwhelmed, I’m excited, I’m ready to go.
Hey, how difficult was this for you to come back from, those two fights that got cancelled and then you had to fight a new guy that you weren’t prepared for?
I want to say it was really tough. But, maybe more so mentally, knowing that I’ve got a fight coming up and all that and changing opponents. It’s been a whole big mess.
It’s been a whole big mess but it’s been a good mess because we won. And that brings a little bit more excitement to my energy towards the fight. It’s like a booster. And if you’re not prepared for certain things, then it maybe could distract you or knock off your focus on the test that lies at hand.
But fortunately with me, I’m very strong-minded, I’m mentally strong. And I know things happen and you’ve just got to be able to adjust. I’m very good at adjusting and rolling with the punches of things. So here we are now.
How tough is that to prepare for a short-term opponent?
Well, it’s just all about your game plan really. It’s all about your team and what game plans they have for you.
I have been through this before. There aren’t too many things that I haven’t experienced yet in my career. I’ve dealt with this before earlier in my career, actually in my debut.
Maybe a couple of days before the fight, my opponent got changed up, a different weight, a different style, a different size, a different height. I was fighting an orthodox opponent but they didn’t even tell me nothing about the guy being a southpaw. So everything changed, but in the ring, I had to adjust and I had to deliver.
What can you do in these situations? It’s a learning process. With everything you go through from the start to the finish is a learning process and brings you experience.
So I am going to look forward to fighting Gerald Washington in Birmingham, Alabama and giving the folks that are going to be watching and the people that are going to be in the audience a great show.
How do you view him having to be present at a trial while he is preparing for you in this fight?
First of all, I would like to congratulate him on that. It wasn’t his fault the situation happened like that but big props to him and his team for getting through that.
We are preparing for the best Deontay Wilder that there is. I am not going to get caught up with that other stuff that is going on. I am worried about the Bronze Bomber and everything that he is bringing. Everything that he has learned along the way. I have got to be prepared for that.
He is a hell of a fighter. I have got to put it all on the line that night. This fight is very important to me and it is going to take everything I’ve got.
Gerald what gives you confidence on this matchup against Deontay?
We all know Deontay Wilder is a big strong knockout puncher. He has been in there. He has the Olympic experience. He has been in there with all the pros, in the sparring camps and stuff like that and he has learned a lot along the way.
I can’t focus too much on what Deontay Wilder is bringing to the table. I have just got to make sure that my game is tight and my game is strong and able to challenge Deontay Wilder.
I have got to come prepared mentally and physically and just put it all on the line. Like I said, it is going to take a mixture of everything. Everything that I know to go up against him.
I only have 14 amateur fights. I only have 19 professional fights. I don’t have all that experience that this guy has. So it is going to take a lot of smarts for me and just like you said mental toughness to get through this.
I would like to know from your point of view how disruptive was it to your training schedule to have to be up in New York while you sat through the trial with Povetkin?
First off it was sad it had to go to that distance. With the whole situation, it was just ridiculous. Thank God that it is over. It is behind me. We can move forward with it because it was a very stressful situation.
It comes a point in time where things don’t always go as planned in your life and you have got to understand that everybody deals with things in their life that makes them feel some type of way.
So with that being said, although I had to go through so many different things, even with the weather. I almost got sick out there because it was so cold. Trust me it was a mess.
But at the end of the day I had to stay focused. People don’t understand this business that we sign up for. Can’t have no pity. Can’t be sorry for yourself.
When you train you must focus. You must stay focused on the test they are about to hand you if not, then you will get injured. You will get hurt.
So that being said, I must stay focused. Whoever gets in the room no matter who they are, no matter what their record is, nothing. Because at the end of the day, they still have two hands, they have two feet and they come to fight.
And you must respect a fighter that comes to fight and sometimes they feel they have nothing to lose. When you the champion, when you the champion people feel like you have more to lose because you have got that title.
I go in with a mentality that I don’t have nothing to lose because I am not looking to lose nothing. That is just my mentality. I have been through so much, nothing has been given to me.
Nothing has been given to Deontay Wilder. So with that being said, nothing is going to be taken from me. So I must stay focused. I must. I must. It is an absolute must to stay focused. And if you can’t stay focused this is the wrong business for you.
Were you able to train when you weren’t sitting in court? Can you – what was the deal with your training while you were away?
I was up there for a week and a day. But we still had time to get training. I brought Mark with me so we had time to get training. But you know sometimes we didn’t. You know I am going to be honest but sometimes, the weather prevented a lot of things.
We had a snowstorm up there. It was very cold. The roads were icy. Sometimes the trial would be long. You know it would be tiring just to be up in there.
Just to hear the bitter and batter going on. Which this case was a common sense case. We didn’t need evidence really it is a common sense case.
But you know we had to go through a lot of things but I think we managed to do the things that we needed to do to continue to keep training for this fight.
Most of all, my mindset was still in the right place.
What are your thoughts about having two guys in a row test positive against you?
I replayed it back in my head, these guys as taking these drugs and stuff. I was shaking my head. It is sad. It is sad for the sport and I just hope something even more can be done about this situation before it ruins the sport of boxing.
I think the WBC is doing a fabulous job in bringing the doping program and having these fighters to sign up and if they don’t they are off the rankings. But I also would like to see it going to second gear.
I want to see some punishment done. I want to see if you do this, if you put steroids or anything that has your body doing what it is not naturally supposed to do I think you should not only get suspended but maybe indefinitely.
We need to put something on this. This case right here was the first step and then all these other fighters know that there are consequences to your actions that will be applied to if you decide to use.
But there need to be something else even deeper than taking his money. They need to take their career away from because this is ridiculous. I just tell myself always use myself as an example. I am naturally strong without weights. Without training. With anything I am God given, Alabama country strong. I have always been that way.
But just imagine if used anything to enhance my body. Did you see my fight with Szpilka? Just imagine if I had something in my body. That man would have been dead because I thought he was dead. It is a lot of these guys doing it.
You know that is going to be up to them to get their selves right. Get their act right because when they come in this fight business nobody is playing around man. You know it is just ridiculous and it is just sad.
I hope it just gets cleaned up. Everybody get cleaned up that way we can continue with this great sport of boxing. And people can get the fights that they want to see.
I just hate to see that we have such great fighters out here and some of the fights are not going to happen because they want to use. Just like Povetkin and me.
I was looking forward to that fight. I was looking forward to going to Russia. Defending my country, United States against Russia. What better country to defend your country than with Russia.
I was looking forward to that but I couldn’t do it because of somebody’s actions. So before they mess up this sport they need to clean it up.
My understanding was you already were preparing for a different fight before this one came up. Is that the case?
Yes, I was. I didn’t know for sure when the day was or who the opponent was going to be or anything like that. I stay in the gym all the time. It wasn’t a matter of that but it was funny how I made a post about that.
I said to Deontay I said, I just put it on my Instagram. I said, hey if anything happens, I am right here. And something did happen. It was crazy man. But it happened and I am grateful for the opportunity.
And I am glad that we stay in the gym, we stay prepared and we stay working on our stuff. We always stay right there striking distance away.
Is it all the time that we would have like to prepare for a World Championship fight? No. I am sure we would have liked a fuller camp. But it is okay. We are all right right now. We are where we need to be and we are ready to go.
You were one of those guys that is trying to make that jump from football to boxing. Can you just talk about the differences? And do you think you can be the guy that can get over the hump and win that world title?
Yes, there are a lot of differences. I was just telling somebody the other day, the cool part about it is walking into the stadium with your teammates.
You feel like you have got a little army right there. You lock arms. You are in the tunnel and you are swaying back and forth it is war time. Let’s take it outside. War time. Let’s take it outside. You got a hundred guys doing that. You get on the field you are ready to rock.
When you step in to that ring you are in there by yourself. You are in there by yourself man. You still got your team but when that bell rings you have got to go to war by yourself man.
So you have got to be prepared physically and mentally. You have got to be ready to go. You have got to be ready to fight back and stand your ground and go to work.
I learned a lot lessons along the way. This is going to be another one. My learning never stops but this is a great opportunity for me and I feel that I am ready for this right now.
This came at the right time. God put me in this position and you know with all those failed drug tests and injuries and all the stuff that happened. All that stuff that happened for me to be here. I am here right now.
I am putting in the work and me and my team we put together a great plan and we are having fun. Now it is time.
How tough was this seeing what for you is a pretty long layoff? And were there any ways that you could work to get better with your left or anything when you were rehabbing?
It really hurt me to my heart that I couldn’t fight. Anybody who knows me knows that I don’t just love this sport I am in love with it. I am really in love with this sport. I am obsessed with boxing.
I eat, breathe and sleep it. You know I do it all, this is my life. This is not a hobby for me. This is a lifestyle for me and I address it accordingly. I take it very, very seriously.
So when I can’t do something I love it really hurts me a little bit. And my motivation is my children. I have got four beautiful, intelligent children I love to death and I am doing it for them. All this is for them. Daddy don’t want to be in boxing long.
I want to accomplish my goals and dreams and I am out of here. I am doing it for them. And I am going to stick by that.
But when I can do it and I can’t provide and I can’t feel like I am taking a next step forward instead of backwards it kind of gets me down. It gets me sad a little bit.
But you know I know a man that is always with me and he will never forsake me and that is my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We have been through a lot in my life and every step of the way he has always been there for me.
Every step has always been a learning process for me. An experience for me. So I am very thankful that the things that happened for me and to me. Even with the broken hand and stuff like that because it allows me to build an even better relationship with my love.
For me I was on everything. I still continued to work on the right hand. The left was the jab. See where it is positioning. Different situations that would may face with different opponents.
I still work on everything over and over and over and over and over because I want it to be muscle memory. When I feel like I am not learning no more in this sport I am out.
This is a dangerous sport man. Every time I fight I always ask myself the question. Do you really want to do this? Do you still want to do this? Do you really want to go and get your head hit by big guys with these small gloves?
I ask myself that question every fight. But at the end of the day I am still here because I am in love with it. It is just like a woman. A man can do so much to her but she still there because she loves him.
That is how I am with this sport. So I am looking forward to testing out my hands and my bicep and I am looking forward to bringing more skills to the table with the left hook and stuff like that. So I am looking forward to the fight overall.
How much with your legacy as you get more involved? Because like it has been written document how much you stay active. How much of you wanting to be active is it the fact that you are getting these defenses each time you bring out another wrinkle that nobody has seen before?
Well at the end of the day it is about getting your hands ready whether you look good or bad. At the end of the day the objective is to win. Whether it is an ugly win or a pretty win. That is what we try to do.
Of course we try to look good while we do it. As far as my legacy is concerned, I am planning on big, big things for me for now and in the future.
When I structured my career, I look at Muhammad Ali which is my all-time favorite and an idol of mine and what he has done for this sport. He was a real life hero.
He was the true definition of a true champion. Wasn’t afraid of nobody and wasn’t scared to go to where you were. Even if was your backyard and that is the things that I want to do.
I want to travel to different countries and defend my title. Whether it is in their backyard or I will go to a country they love and I will make it my backyard.
I want to do those things. That belt says the Heavyweight Champion of the world. You can be complacent in United States of America.
So that is my footsteps that I want follow. Muhammad Ali, what he has done for boxing inside and outside of the ring. I think about all the attributes and the efforts to do those things.
People just relate to me everywhere I go. People relate because the thing about people, they know lies when they see it. I come straight forward and honest with everybody and people love me. My attitude, my personality, we fighters always get stereotyped with people all over.
Fighters are some of the best, coolest guys ever. And after the sport business-wise I want my career – I am looking forward for my career to be like Larry Holmes. A businessman. Somebody that invests and did the right things. So when it is time for me to leave, Deontay will not be returning or looking back.
Does this Povetkin type situation make you leary to go to somebody’s backyard?
Also, is it a big deal to unify those belts by the end of 2017?
Not at all. Povetkin is just one man. He is one out of many. I can’t focus my mind over one man out of one country doing certain things. We know certain people, certain countries that are going to attempt to do certain things.
That is why the VADA does the testing. People that is out there, the companies that is out there. That is why we hired them to do what they do.
VADA is one of the best. They make sure everything is straight. We all want just a fair playing field. So I can’t fault, what Povetkin did towards what my goals are and accomplishments that I want to achieve.
We take every fighter seriously no matter who they are. No matter what they have done. Even if they’re 1 and 0. They can be 0 and 1. We take them very, very, very seriously because this game is a very, very serious sport. It is the hurt business.
People get in there and try to knock your head off I know that’s what I try to do. Knock his head off. We are taking Washington very seriously. We don’t care what kind of experience he has or where he came. We are taking him as if he is the champion and I am the challenger.
So I always say that I never look past a fighter. But I do look through a fighter. I window shop a little bit. I don’t think that is too awful to do. Window shop a little bit.
So when I window shop, you know, I see that whoever has the title that is what I want. Let Joshua and Klitschko do their thing.
Win those two belts. And at the end of the year, we combine two and two. That is four belts in all in unified division. One man, one face, one title. That is Deontay Wilder. That is what I see coming.
Gerald, what do you want people to know about you and what you are bringing to the table?
I am just here to fight. I am here to fight man. I am coming to get this. Deontay Wilder is taking me seriously because I am coming. I am coming with everything I have got. I am working hard. I am training hard. I am preparing myself well.
I am doing everything that I have got to do. I don’t care about none of that extra stuff. February 25th and that is it man. I don’t have to explain nothing. All I know is I am working. I am working and I am going to be ready.
Deontay, how much does it feel good to be able to put that belt on the line one more time in Birmingham where you got all the support and vanquish another person coming to your backyard as you are the Heavyweight Champion of the world right now?
Man I tell you it is just a phenomenal feeling man. To be able to see my people and when I say about my people I am talking about my state.
I am talking about everybody around in the State of Alabama because this wasn’t a boxing state. This state wasn’t built for the boxing. You know it was football and basketball, mostly football.
But it was one opponent at a time and me and my long time trainer Jay Deas, we had a discussion and said we are going to fight here one day. And that one day and that dream became a reality. And then one day it came and now here is what the fourth time?
I have brought millions upon millions of dollars to this state. You know I love my state. I love where I am from. There is no place like home.
A lot of fighters can’t fight at home. They can’t do this. So whenever the opportunity comes about that I can fight home. I can fight in my state and let ye people eat here I am going to do it. It is an enjoyable feeling.
Sometimes you can lose focus at times because you are from here. Everybody loves you. Everybody wants to call you. Everybody wants to be around you. Everybody want tickets. You know that are little things that come with it.
But with that being said, you still have to have focus and you still mentally have to control everything that is around you and have a great team that control you as well too when you don’t feel like doing certain things you know.
You can’t be nice all the time. Sometimes people have got to understand that I have got a mission that I must accomplish and if I don’t accomplish that then you are not going to be around. If I lose you are not going to be around. Let’s face it.
All these people in my face. If I lose, it is going to be real quiet with the champ you are the best talk. And then they are going to turn it into an I told you. It was just a matter of time.
So we understand all aspects of the situation. But I am loving it. I love Alabama and this is one of many that we are going to do.
Tell us why you think you can win this fight and take the title from Deontay?
It’s just a matter of all the work that I am putting in. I have been getting here in the gym, the training just sparring. Just putting it all together, what I am saying is that I always have boxing in my mind.
I know Deontay Wilder. We all know what he brings to the table. He is big, strong, knockouts. We fighting in his backyard. We know all that.
Well we can’t get caught up in that. That is going to be there. That is going to be there and we just got to focus on us. Focus on our game. Make sure we are tight, physically and mentally. And we prepare for this moment.
That is all that matters to me. Only had a month time to prepare and but I am ready to go. I have learned the lessons in the gym and I had hard lessons. But you need those hard lessons when you are growing as a fighter.
You have got to go through that stuff to understand what is going on because you get in there and you have got a full sense of what is going on. Reality checks. This sport will teach you a lesson when you need it.
So everything that was supposed to happen. I am glad for the lessons. I am glad for all the great talent and meeting my trainer John Pullman. We having fun and we are learning. It is not always going to go the way you want it to go and we learn from that and we get better.
Deontay other than the obvious thing of experience what do you think your advantages are in this fight against Gerald?
Just my state of mind. Outside of the ring we all know I am Deontay Wilder. I am the nicest person in the world you know. I call myself a giant teddy bear.
But when I get in the ring I am the Bronze Bomber. And the Bronze Bomber, he is a different person. I am glad I am so happy that I can change between the Bronze Bomber and Deontay Wilder. Some people can’t.
If Bronze Bomber got loose in the streets it won’t be something nice. When I am in the ring all I think about is knocking my opponent’s head off. Getting him out of there. Hurting him. Putting pain to him. I will have no mercy. I will have no pity.
Until I knock him out or do what I got to do that’s when I feel sympathy for my fighters because, I know they have a family. I know there is somebody’s son or sometimes be the father. I understand that. I am a family person as well too.
But they are in front of me on their feet it is a different story. And I have been mentally, I am always mentally strong over all these fighters. I really feel that I can’t be beat. That is just the mentality I have.
Knowing that every man can be beat we are not immortal. Nobody is God but that is just the mentality I bring in the ring that I am the lion of this jungle. I call the ring the jungle. I am the king of it.
And I approach myself accordingly like that. I am very vicious in the ring. I am a savage in the ring. I have no remorse for fighters in the ring. I really do that because this is the hurt business. You are trying to do the same thing to me what I am trying to do to him. And that is win.
And when it is winning you do whatever it takes. By all means necessary to win. And that is what I go in there too.
So it is a lot of things I could say but overall I think my mental state of mind. I think my mental state of mind is always stronger.
Does the fact that this fight is on FOX on a Saturday night, primetime, you are going to have millions of people watching this. Does this give a little added incentive to try to make a statement during this fight?
Yes, I enjoy fighting on FOX. I enjoy fighting on free TV giving the people something to see,. I always think about people, whether they watch it or not. I always think that they want to see knockouts.
People when they see the heavyweight division, they want to see knockouts. They want to see excitement.
I have always been exciting even if the knockout didn’t come out I have always been exciting and I have always put my feelings into my fighting. And my motivation is my children and I have always carried them in my thoughts and in my heart with me in the ring.
So with that being said, I am looking forward to this fight. I am just looking forward to everything. I can’t wait. This is my comeback party off my major injury on my hand and bicep which is feeling great. I can’t wait to test it out. I am just happy that I am back in the scene.
Being able to do something that I love to do where I am the happiest. I just thank God for this opportunity this moment. I am very grateful.
Do either of you want to make a prediction for the fight? Deontay?
Like I just said, I go for the knockouts.. At this point in time in my career I am very relaxed now. Earlier when I first came out of course I was wild. You know my last time is Wilder.
I was wild. But now as I started getting experience and bigger fights. I kind of have slowed down and just relaxed and wait on the opening and stuff like that.
But you know to answer your question now and for anybody who has the same question in the future. Deontay Wilder don’t play games. Deontay Wilder comes to destroy the man that is in front of him. So I think that answers your question.