Heavyweight knockout artist Deontay Wilder knows that he took a big risk by engaging in Tuesday's sparring session with internet rogue Charlie Zelenoff, but the 6-foot-7 contender said that he did so only after receiving racist remarks and threats against his daughter from Zelenoff and to teach the buffoon a lesson.
Wilder (31-0, 31 knockouts) is in Los Angeles for tonight's fight between fellow contenders Bermane Stiverne and Chris Arreola, a rematch of Stiverne's unanimous decision win last April. Stiverne-Arreola II, which takes place at the Galen Center on the USC campus, is for the vacant WBC title. The winner between Stiverne and Arreola must make his first defense against Wilder, who is coming off a 96-second stoppage of Malik Scott in March.
During this Q&A with RingTV.com, Wilder said he took on Zelenoff only after Zelenoff agreed to sign a waiver drawn up by Wilder's manager, Jay Deas, and only because "in the end, I really feel like I have this dude's best interest at heart.
"I really care about this dude. He's going around and doing all of this stuff, and, one time, he's going to mess around with the wrong guy," said Wilder, whose videos with Zelenoff have gone viral. "I'm the right guy, for now, because I'm in a whole different situation with my life where I'm not going to mess it up over no clown."
RingTV.com: So what happened and why?
Deontay Wilder: Well, you know, I really wanted to do more than what I did, but I'm at a point where I have opportunities and I'm blessed, man. I'm aware of that. But, basically, this dude, man, he's been harrassing me and he's been sending insulting messages to me where he was threatening me and went overboard.
But the only reason I went this far with it was that he went overboard. He threatened to murder me, and he called me the N-word. Then what took it over the top is that he said that he was going to duck tape my daughter's mouth and when I was reading that, I was picturing that actually happening.
One way that you can get to me is to talk about my kids in a manner like that. Then, it's personal and I'm a different guy. There's one part of Deontay Wilder who is the silly guy, the humble guy and the funny guy with a nice smile. But there is another part of me that I really don't want people to see.
That's the part will come and get you. But I really held back, because my original plans were to really hurt this dude, man. Some people don't really know that side of me, but I brought it out and I don't like to bring that out for people to see. But we thought it out, and I talked to Jay about it.
So we wrote up a contract and we got him to sign the contract that stated that he knew what he was getting into and so he signed it. So I went and did what I did. I didn't get all of my satisfaction out of it and do what I really wanted to do, but I got enough, and now, God's going to decide is going to decide the rest of the way.
RTV: How big is this guy?
DW: I would say that he's about 170, 175 pounds and about 6-foot-1.
RTV: Where did this "sparring session" take place?
DW: Well, I'm out here in Los Angeles for the Bermane Stiverne-Chris Arreola fight, so we found a gym out here called the Hollywood Gym. I told him that I would be here on May 7, and he told me that he had a location and a time.
So we found a spot that was open 24 hours and we went there. With my pull, we were able to get up in there, no problems. We had us a little crowd and everything. It was about 9 p.m., something like that. So I wanted to take care of that dude.
RTV: How long did the it go?
DW: I have no idea. The fight itself lasted a total of about 40 seconds three different times I dropped him. What he likes to do is try to pick with guys and then what his thing is, his scheme, is that he wants to try to sneak you and have his camera man catch him catching you off guard sneaking a punch in on you.
If he lands on you, then he posts on Youtube that he's beaten you and broken your jaw, so he can say, "Look what I've done, I broke a 300-pound guy's jaw," and then, he'll try to put his name out like that. Like, he fought Floyd Mayweather Sr., and he got in that one lucky punch and posted a 15-second clip and tried to make it seem like he did something great.
But he couldn't do that on me. The first time I got into the ring, he tried to swing on me, but I ducked back and slipped it and I caught him with a left hook, and then, he fell out of the ring and got out of the ring and ran out of the door. But then, he came back, because he didn't get his justification of trying to hit me.
When he came back in, he asked his camera man, "Did you get it? Did you get it?" But he didn't catch me, though. I got fed up and got out of the ring and I approached him and he tried to charge me and I came with another hook and knocked him down again. I told him to get up and I was really aggressive.
He got up, and I put him down again with a hook. But I was telling him that he needs to stop this and that if he was a much bigger guy than me, I would have made it worse than it was. But by him being so small, you know, I didn't want to do too much to him. I did want to get a little justice for myself.
But the truth is that I don't condone racism and stuff like that. It is what it is. I didn't get all of my justification, but it was an appetizer for Saturday, I guess. But I did what I wanted to do. I'm no idiot. I'm about to be the heavyweight champion of the world, so I have too much at stake to be doing stuff like this.
RTV: What, if anything, was accomplished?
DW: Well, in the end, I really feel like I have this dude's best interest at heart, because I really care about this dude. He's going around and doing all of this stuff, and one time he's going to mess around with the wrong guy. I'm the right guy, for now, because I'm in a whole different situation with my life where I'm not going to mess it up over no clown.
But he's going to mess around and get with somebody who ain't got nothing going for himself and who don't really care and they're going to really hurt him and maybe kill him. So I was trying to tell this guy that some people will come and see you. This is dangerous and reckless on his part. My skin is super tough and I'm super blessed.