Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer would like to match the winner of a potential return bout between aging southpaw Tony Thompson and England’s David Price against undefeated former Olympian Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder, calling Wilder “The No. 1 heavyweight prospect here in the United States.”
“There is a lot of excitement out there among fight fans among Deontay Wilder,” said Schaefer of the 6-foot-7 former 2008 Olympic bronze medalist. “Golden Boy feels that Deontay Wilder is ready and is, today, the No. 1 heavyweight prospect here in the United States.”
A 27-year-old who is trained by Jay Deas as well as 1984 Olympic gold medalist and professional titleholder Mark Breland, Wilder (27-0, 27 knockouts) is coming off January’s second-round stoppage of Matt Greer, whom he floored three times during their fight in Mexico.
Prior to that, the 27-year-old from Tuscaloosa, Ala., had used al right hand to flatten previously unbeaten Kelvin Price (13-1, 6 KOs) in December. The triumph over Price had followed one over previously undefeated Damon McCreary (14-1, 10 KOs) in September.
A 41-year-old who stands 6-5, Thompson (37-3, 25 KOs) shocked the 6-8 Price (15-1, 13 KOs) in February with a right hand to the temple that floored him.
Price, 29, rose on unsteady legs, prompting referee Steve Gray to wave an end to the fight at the 2:17 mark before Price’s hometown fans at Echo Arena in Liverpool.
“There have been talks about a potential fight with Tony Thompson, who recently beat and stopped David Price,” said Schaefer. “But while we would want a fight with Tony Thompson, we have been made aware that Thompson has an immediate rematch obligation to David Price, and we certainly do not want to interfere with any existing contracts, and Deontay would be happy to fight the winner of that immediate rematch.”
Considered to be “the best heavyweight prospect by Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel “Manny” Steward before Steward’s death in October, Wilder served as a sparring partner for 6-6 RING, IBF, WBA and WBO champion Wladimir Klitschko — who was trained by Steward — in advance of Klitschko’s unanimous-decision victory over 6-7 Mariusz Wach in November.
Thompson entered his fight with Price after having been stopped in six rounds in July by Klitschko, who also knocked out Thompson in the 11th round in July of 2008.
“There is an immediate rematch for Thompson and Price, no question about it. I don’t know the exact terms, but I was made aware that David Price and his team have informed Tony Thompson and his team,” said Schaefer.
“They want to exercise and that they intend to exercise that immediate rematch. I can certainly understand that. David Price was the prospect of the year on many people’s list for 2012 in boxing, and he gave Tony Thompson an opportunity by fighting him.”
In addition to Wilder, Golden Boy also has Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell (25-1-1, 19 KOs), of Brandywine, Md., whose February rematch with Johnathon Banks (29-1-1, 19 KOs) was canceled after Banks suffered a broken right thumb.
Coming off a second-round knockout to Banks in November, Mitchell was left in a state of flux, although Schaefer still is hopeful of rescheduling the rematch with Banks.
“Just like we want to do the rematch between Seth Mitchell and Johnathon Banks, Price’s promoter, Frank Maloney and his team, obviously want to do the rematch. So the train was a bit derailed for David Price when he fought Tony Thompson, and I can sympathize with that because the Seth Mitchell train was a bit derailed as well when he fought Johnathon Banks, so I think that both Seth Mitchell and David Price want to set the record straight,” said Schaefer.
“The good news is that that it seems like with the rematch between Seth Mitchell and Johnathon Banks, and then, with the rematch between David Price and Tony Thompson, that then you have The Bronze Bomber there waiting in the wings, it seems that for the first time in quite a while that there is some excitement in the heavyweight division again. There are some guys not named Klitschko, because the Klitschkos continue to dominate the division. But it’s nice to see that some of these youngsters are waiting in the wings.”
Golden Boy President Oscar De La Hoya is extremely high on Wilder.
“There is the power that he has, the speed that he has, and the hunger that he has. But Deontay Wilder has to work more on his jab, because he has a tremendous jab. He has to work more on his head movement. I don’t see many flaws in him other than the ones that I pointed out. So if Deontay Wilder can improve on just those things, he can be very, very dangerous,” said De La Hoya, during an interview with RingTV.com following Wilder’s win over Kelvin Price.
“It’s time for him to have a taste of hostile territory. It’s time for him to step it up, which we’re going to do. We have to take him out of his element. Deontay needs to be in there with a guy that’s going to push him back, and with a guy who is going to take his punch, and a guy that’s going to go inside of the ring thinking, ‘I’m going to win this.’ Deontay can be the next American heavyweight champion of the world. It’s a work in progress, but Deontay has all of the tools to be the next heavyweight champion of the world.”
“I want to be back in the ring as soon as possible, and I definitely want Bryant Jennings. I want him. I want him. Bryant Jennings. That’s who I want. Everybody wants to see it. The fans want it. There can only be one of us. At the end of the day, there can only be one heavyweight champion,” said Wilder.
“I’m trying to delete all of the American heavyweights. I’m trying to get rid of all of them so that I can become just that main one. We’ve got a lot of them in the running right now, you know, and a lot of us have got ‘0’s. But just like I got rid of Kelvin Price’s ‘0’ tonight, everybody else’s ‘0’ has got to go too.”
The task at hand, for now, is to get Wilder back into the ring.
“The fact is that there are a lot of other names out there,” said Schaefer. “So we’ll be sitting down and we’ll be discussing that with the matchmakers and with Oscar De La Hoya on what is next for Deontay Wilder.”
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org