Deontay Wilder is still not one hundred percent on board with facing Andy Ruiz Jr. despite the WBC’s recent confirmation.
The former heavyweight champion, who lost to Tyson Fury in 2020 after ten successful defenses and a five-year reign, threw another curveball Ruiz’s way.
World Boxing News has repeatedly stated the fight was at the forefront of Al Haymon’s mind since Ruiz lost his crown to Anthony Joshua in December 2019.
So far, Premier Boxing Champions has taken three years to get to this point. Wilder previously showed interest in facing Joshua himself, as exclusively reported by WBN.
Manager Shelly Finkel told WBN Wilder wanted AJ next, even after earning a WBC mandatory eliminator with Ruiz.
Deontay Wilder vs Andy Ruiz Jr.
If Wilder does bail, Ruiz would then see out the final fight of his PBC contract in a battle against a non-Haymon preferred heavyweight.
Haymon is determined to make Wilder vs Ruiz Jr. before the latter potentially moves on. He wants the most significant Pay Per View available to take place.
However, Wilder’s trainer added another contender to the mix for the 2023 return of the ‘Bronze Bomber.’
“It’s down to the mystery opponent and Andy Ruiz Jr,” coach Malik Scott told Best Sports Betting Canada. “Since AJ has made up his mind. He does not want to fight Deontay right now. We’re down to Andy Ruiz and the mystery guy.
“The mystery fighter is not as guaranteed to happen as the Ruiz fight. If you’re looking at it from the business perspective, it’s likely going to be the mandatory shot, Ruiz,” he added.
The former heavyweight contender responded when Wilder could be back in action: “We could be going in March or early April, but it depends.
“The only thing I can say at the moment is Ruiz is mandated. But Deontay is big-time boxing. And when you have a big-time boxer like Deontay and a mandatory going on at the same time – and there’s another bigger fighter – step a side happens sometimes. You never know.
“Business is willing to be made to make bigger fights happen.”
It’s a sticky situation for Wilder. If he does ‘step aside,’ Ruiz would likely get pitted with the next in line with the WBC. Alternatively, the Mexican-American could be ratified as the mandatory challenger himself immediately.
That scenario would leave Wilder out of the world title picture for longer than necessary. In contrast, a victory over Ruiz makes him the next in line with the WBC.
If victorious, Wilder would then join Filip Hrgovic, Daniel Dubois, and Joe Joyce in the queue to challenge the undisputed winner of Oleksandr Usyk vs Tyson Fury.
Wilder vs Ruiz remains the hot favorite to be next, possibly in Las Vegas or New York by May.