No active fighter has a more impressive record than heavyweight contender Deontay Wilder, who has gone 30-0 with 30 wins inside the distance since turning pro after earning a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics.
Nobody has yet to make it past the fourth round with the heavy handed Alabama native.
That said, it’s not like Wilder has faced a murders’ row of opponents. It could be argued he’s yet to face a real contender. However, the 28-year-old puncher kicks of his 2014 campaign in what appears a step up against once-beaten Malik Scott.
“Malik is a good boxer. He has a lot of skill. He's beat everybody he's fought except when they robbed him in England,” said Wilder, touching on Scott’s fight with Dereck Chisora last summer.
“I can't wait for the fight. We’re good friends but we both want the same thing so the friendship goes out the window when the bell rings.”
The contest takes on added importance for both boxers as it will serve as a WBC eliminator with the winner assured of a shot at the victor of the upcoming Bermane Stiverne-Chris Arreola rematch that seems likely to take place this spring.
“I’m ready to fight the best right now. I’ll fight anybody, anywhere, anytime,” Wilder told RingTV.com. “Right now I’m totally focused on Malik Scott.”
The Showtime-televised doubleheader will be headlined by junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia who defends his RING, WBC and WBA titles against Mauricio Herrera. The action from Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez in Bayamon, Puerto Rico starts at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT in America while in Britain it will be on BoxNation at 2:00 a.m. GMT.
Anson Wainwright – On Saturday you make your 2014 debut when you meet Malik Scott. What are your thoughts on that fight and what Scott brings to this fight?
Deontay Wilder – Malik is a good boxer. He has a lot of skill. He's beat everybody he's fought except when they robbed him in England. I can't wait for the fight. We’re good friends but we both want the same thing so the friendship goes out the window when the bell rings. This is my time. I’m the hardest punching heavyweight in the world today and I want to fight the best. This is a great fight for the fans. This fight is an eliminator for the (WBC) mandatory spot, so with this win I’m guaranteed a title shot.
AW – Would you agree that Scott is the best fighter you have fought as a pro and should tell us a little bit more about you?
DW – I’m looking to showcase my skills and Malik can bring out the best in me.
AW – You have received some criticism from people who believe you're a manufactured fighter. The one thing everyone is in agreement on is that the power is very real. How would you respond to that?
DW – People that criticize are always going to be there, most have never had a glove on. I know I have real power and it’s the knockouts that get people talking about my opponents. If I was 30-0 with 15 knockouts nobody would say anything, but because it's all knockouts they figure these guys must be no good but they are good. Just because I’m knocking them out doesn't mean they're no good.
AW – Last year you went 4-0, continuing your hot streak to 30-0 with 30 knockouts. How do you assess last year?
DW – Last year was a good step to getting where I want to be.
AW – What about your goals for this year? How far do you feel you are from the other top fighters or even Wladimir Klitschko?
DW – I’m ready to fight the best right now. I’ll fight anybody, anywhere, anytime. Right now I’m totally focused on Malik Scott. I was already in shape before I even heard about the fight. I’m not like a lot of these heavyweights who need months to get in shape. I’m already in shape.
AW – You fought at the 2008 Olympics, could you tell us about that experience?
DW – Even though I didn't have a long amateur career I was the only man to win a medal in boxing for America since 2004 and I’m proud of what I did.
AW – Who are the key members of Team Wilder?
DW – As for the team around me, I have a great team. Jay Deas is my coach and manager. We’ve been together since my first day in the gym. Jay brought Mark Breland and Russ Anber on board and we all work great together. Cuz Hill helps run my camps. Jay, Al Haymon and Shelly Finkel manage me. I’m with Everlast. Peter Khourey is my strength coach and I have two massage therapists.
AW – You had minimal amateur experience but you did very well to win a bronze at the 2008 Olympics. How do you feel you have improved in the time in the gym? What influence does Breland have on you, as he was such a skilled boxer?
DW – The Olympics were great but it’s about Malik Scott now. It’s about getting the title. It's about the future not the past. I’m a totally different fighter now. I’m bigger, stronger, faster, hostile, mobile and agile. Mark Breland has been with us a long time and we work well together.
AW – I believe you have sparred with both David Haye and also Wladimir Klitschko in the past. Could you tell us about how those sessions went and if they helped prepare you and make you a better fighter going forward?
DW – Now it’s about getting to and then winning the world title. That’s why I’ve gone on the road and all over the world to spar with the best. I’ve worked with Wladimir Klitschko, Mike Perez, Tony Thompson, Tomasz Adamek, David Haye and a bunch of other guys. All those guys will tell you I bring it and there’s no let up.
AW – Do you have any tasty stories you could share from those sparring sessions?
DW – There’s a code that what happens in sparring stays in sparring but I’m thankful to be in all those great camps and I learned a lot.
AW – What do you think of the heavyweight division at the moment?
DW – I don't want to talk about any other heavyweight right now but Malik because without this fight I can't go where I want to go. There’s nobody on my mind but Malik Scott.
AW – Boxing was banned for many years in Alabama until a couple of years back. You were instrumental in getting things turned around. Can you tell us about that?
DW – We had pro fights here since 1995 but always had to bring in another commission to supervise. In 2005, they said we had to have our own or we couldn’t do boxing. For several years, Jay tried to get the boxing bill passed. I jumped in to help after winning the bronze. We just told them “Deontay can fight for his country but can’t fight in his own state!” That did the trick. They passed the boxing bill. I’ve had five fights in Alabama since then.
AW – What is your goal in boxing?
DW – I want to bring a world heavyweight title fight to my hometown of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Tuscaloosa is known for the University of Alabama and championship football, but we're going to make it known for championship boxing too.
AW – Away from boxing, can you tell us about your life and what you enjoy doing?
DW – Away from boxing I love travelling, jet skiing, getting tattoos, collecting guns and working on my cars.
AW – Lastly do you have a message for the heavyweight division?
DW – My message to the heavyweight division is here I come! BBBOOOMMMBBB SSSQQQUUUAAADDD!!!!!
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright