Since Deontay Wilder stated his intentions to return to boxing in May, speculation has grown regarding a two-weight title shot.
“The Bronze Bomber” previously held the WBC heavyweight crown as the longest-reigning champion since Vitali Klitschko from 2015 to 2020.
That run came to an end at the hands of Tyson Fury. And because Fury still holds the crown and their trilogy is over, Wilder is unlikely to get a chance at that belt anytime soon.
If he wants to win another title, the 36-year-old must look at the winner of the Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua rematch.
Even then, Wilder’s only hope of a title shot would have to get squeezed between mandatory duties for whoever was the three-belt titleholder at that time.
Deontay Wilder at 224lbs
Therefore, the question remains about the super cruiserweight or ‘bridgerweight’ division.
As Wilder’s only hope of a title shot in the next six to twelve months, would the Tuscaloosa man go for the glory?
He denied it once before back in 2020 when appearing on Brian Custer’s Last Stand podcast.
Wilder got quizzed about the possibility of the WBC ratifying the division with him in mind.
“If it’s specifically designed for me and to be the face of it, I decline,” Wilder told Custer. “My career is to be a heavyweight.
“That’s what I got in it for, and that’s what I’m going to end with.”
On being one of the slightest of the significant heavyweights and being as low at 212 and 219 pounds for the first fight with Fury and second clash with Luis Ortiz in 2018 and 2019, respectively, Wilder was unconcerned about that fact.
“Guys always outweigh me. In my last fight [second with Fury], I was 231. So putting on weight is not a difficult part for me.
“My power makes up for all that. I have too much power for a weight class that low. I should be exempt from that.”
The lower division has a maximum weight of 224 pounds. It’s a perfect fit for Deontay Wilder, whose entire career was fought either below or at that range before the much-bigger Fury came along.
Wilder put on 26 pounds from their first collision to their last. He’s most likely going to go below 224 to give him that edge he previously possessed to get his power shots off.
So why not consider a fight with Oscar Rivas, even as a warm-up for a bigger fight?
It makes no sense that Wilder would completely disregard the opportunity to win a second world title at another weight and go for one last shot at a top division belt with that honor secured.
Rivas would be a massive underdog against Wilder. But knowing the tough Canada-based Colombian, he’d have no qualms in accepting the fight.
The WBC bridgerweight champion has a defense against Lukasz Rozanski on August 13. That date gives Wilder more time to enjoy his family life before getting ready for another title shot.
Every one of Wilder’s last thirteen fights has been for a world title. Therefore, facing Rivas keeps that run intact and could happen around December in Las Vegas or New York.
As the WBC number one in the higher division, President Mauricio Sulaiman would have no problem sanctioning Rivas vs. Wilder.
Instead, if Wilder hasn’t changed his mind on the 224-pound strap, it will probably mean a stay-busy walkover against a Robert Helenius or Adam Kownacki. Certainly, someone from the PBC stable of also-rans.
It’s not exactly setting the world alight. Rivas would be a live challenge for Wilder on par weight and wouldn’t be the one-sided fight the oddsmakers would place it as if it ever got made.
For that, the decision is down to Deontay Wilder.
Glory or treading water until Usyk or Joshua come calling?
The views expressed in this article are the opinions of Phil Jay.