Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder likes to stay busy. He fought six times in 2012, four times in 2013, just twice in 2014 and three times in 2015 before again fighting just twice in 2016 because of injuries sustained in a July 16 title defense against Chris Arreola.
Wilder (37-0, 36 KOs) in late July had surgeries to repair a broken right hand and torn right biceps. When he squares off with Gerald Washington on Saturday for his fifth defense, it will have been more than seven months since he stopped Arreola after eight rounds. It is Wilder’s longest layoff as a prize fighter, and that does not sit well with the 6-foot-7 knockout machine.
“It really hurt me to my hear that I couldn’t fight,” said Wilder, who will take on the 6-foot-6 Washington at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Ala. (on Fox). “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.”
As much as Wilder loves the sweet science, he intimated he doesn’t really want to be in it for a real long run, which is his way of saying he doesn’t want to still be fighting at 40.
He does have four children he adores, after all.
“I want to accomplish my goals and my dreams and I am out of here,” said Wilder, 31, of Tuscaloosa, Ala. “I am doing it for them, and I am going to stick by that.”
Wilder, of course, wants to unify the division. We’re all hopeful that comes to fruition. Assuming he beats Washington, the next step in that direction would be taking on the winner of the April 29 title fight between champion Anthony Joshua and former longtime champion Wladimir Klitschko.
It’s more than that, though.
“As far as my legacy is concerned, I am planning on big, big things for me for now and in…