“His life is on the line for this fight. And I do mean his life. I’m still trying to get a body on my record… This is the only sport where you can kill a man and get paid for it at the same time. It’s legal. Why not use my right to do so?”
No boxer I've ever met, or spoken to, has ever wanted to get in the ring and end another man's life. The very thought is beyond comprehension.
Deontay Wilder, of which the above quote can be attributed, is very different, though.
Wilder is man so engrossed in his own ego and image, that he has even lost sight of humanity, or, more likely, class.
If this is all an act, as it may well be, he's a disgrace to the sport, the people who raised him, support him and his paymasters and sponsors.
If he really means what he says, then he should be locked up, because we aren't talking about idle threats here, this is a man with the tools at his disposal to practice what he preaches.
How the WBC can sanction a man who is threatening to kill in the right is just plain crazy. But sanction they do. In fact, they do a whole lot more. They seem so desperate to keep an American at the top of the heavyweight pile, they are actively protecting Wilder with their selection for mandatory challengers. Brit Dillian Whyte has been waiting more than a year, despite being ranked number one with the governing body, for a shot at their title.
This is boxing, of course.
It may be a gentleman's sport, even though Wilder doesn't believe so, but every fighter that steps into the squared circle does at their own risk. Accidents do happen, and men have died and suffered life-changing injuries competing in the sport they love.
There may come a day when Wilder is allowed by the powers that be to deliver a punch that changes the life of his foe. Let's all pray, whether Wilder does or not, that day never comes.
*Josh Kelly's opponent for his US debut was announced this week with Ray Robinson lined up for June 1 at Madison Square Garden, New York.
It's a big step up in class for the Ryhope lad this time around. And we have to hope that hand injury, suffered in his last bout, will have no lasting impact on his slick, classy style.
And out and about on my travels I saw Tommy Ward pounding the tarmac on the backroads of County Durham this week.
A world title may well be within his grasp, but he looks hungry as ever to reach the top of the sport.