Trainer Malik Scott doesn’t believe Anthony Joshua actually wants to fight Deontay Wilder.
A fight between the former heavyweight titlists has made rumblings for the past year, but its fortunes recently took a hit after it became clear that the original financial backer—an entity in Saudi Arabia—could no longer deliver the appropriate funds for that match-up.
Nevertheless, Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, has repeatedly insisted that both fighters are still in agreement about fighting each other. Hearn says he is shopping around for other benefactors who would be willing to stage that bout for early next year.
But Scott, the trainer of Wilder, apparently has a much gloomier viewpoint about that fight materializing, saying that Joshua clearly feels indifferent to the idea of taking on Wilder.
Scott went so far as to say that he thinks former titlist Andy Ruiz is more likely to fight Wilder at this time than Joshua is—and Ruiz and Wilder have had their own share of disagreements.
“Ruiz probably at this point [has a better chance of fighting Wilder than Joshua],” Scott told FightHype.com. “AJ is cool if he goes his whole career without fighting Deontay. He don’t really mind it. You don’t see him fighting for it. It’s the fighters at the end of the point. I don’t care what [advisors] Shelly [Finkel] or Al Haymon are saying.
“You see Deontay out there calling fighters out. Like some of this you have to take some of this from yourself. Like, bro, it wasn’t Clubber Lang’s trainer in Rocky III saying, ‘I’mm get you, I’mma get you,’ it was Clubber Lang [himself].”
Joshua, however, explicitly called out Wilder to a showdown after Joshua knocked out Robert Helenius in August.
“It wasn’t Angelo Dundee chasing fighters, it was Muhammad Ali,” Scott continued. “Yeah, your promoters and managers are a part of it, you have to do your job to get the big fights doneTo me, AJ doesn’t campaign about the fight enough. He doesn’t really want it, and we all know why because stylistically he’s picture-perfect to be knocked the f— off by Deontay.”
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.