The risk-reward calculus to fight Deontay Wilder apparently does not check out for many fighters, even when a potential $4 million windfall is to be had, according to Wilder’s trainer, Malik Scott.
Wilder, the former titlist from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, has not fought since knocking out Robert Helenius a year ago, which was itself a rebound fight after his brutal knockout loss to Tyson Fury in the final leg of their trilogy in 2021.
Wilder was seemingly headed for a showdown with Andy Ruiz, and then Anthony Joshua, this year, but both fights have thus far failed to materialize. Wilder and Scott have publicly ridiculed Ruiz for scuttling their negotiations by demanding a payday well out of line with his market value.
In a recent interview, Scott suggested that Ruiz and other fighters have turned down a guaranteed purse of $4 million to fight Wilder.
“When you’re the hardest puncher in the history of the sport, it’s very hard for guys to want to fight you,” Scott told FightHype.com. “I’mma say a number: $4 million. Can you believe that? Fighters would rather stay poor, than make $4 million. That’s a tragedy.
“They would rather ask for $15 or $20 [million], knowing it’s not on the table. But they would rather ask for that. It’s insane, man. You gotta understand it because their life is on the line. It really is. Deontay, he’s just one of those fighters he can literally cut your switch off completely with just one shot. And that’s something that most fighters don’t want to face that specimen. They’d rather talk like it and draw attention to their name from it, but do they really want to fight him?
“[Luis] Ortiz really wanted to fight him, that’s why he fought him twice. Ortiz really thought he could beat him. Tyson Fury really thought he could beat him, that’s why he fought [a trilogy] with him. You get what I’m trying to say?
“So, we know the ones that really want to fight Deontay and the ones that just trying to have their name attached to his so they can bring in more commercial, more marketing to themselves, their brand. We’re not interested in that. We just wanted to fight. I’m so frustrated. He’s my brother, I love him and to me, out of all this sh!t, he’s the one that’s not benefiting from it because of the inactivity.”
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.