Andy Ruiz Jr and Deontay Wilder have confirmed that negotiations are underway for a clash of the former champions.
As number one and number two in the WBC’s heavyweight rankings, Wilder and Ruiz were ordered to face off last November, the winner being the mandatory challenger for Tyson Fury’s belt.
Talks have come to nothing until now, with Wilder’s side confirming an offer has been sent Ruiz’s way, and Ruiz expressing his interest yet again.
Wilder was the WBC heavyweight champion for almost half a decade before falling short against Fury in a modern-day great trilogy. He returned to the ring last year with a first round stoppage of Robert Helenius.
Ruiz has a much shorter stint as champion. He held the unified titles after shocking Anthony Joshua in New York, but promptly lost them back in the rematch. He has beaten Chris Arreola and Luis Ortiz since.
Speaking to ESPN’s Max on Boxing, recent Hall of Fame inductee, Tim Bradley, delivered his prediction in half-rhyme.
“I can’t wait. If it does happen it’s a fantastic fight. I know Andy Ruiz, I know he likes to eat, but I’m telling you right now, if he fights Deontay Wilder he’s going to sleep.”
Bradley is a two-weight world champion, known best for his trilogy with Manny Pacquiao. When he picks Although he wasn’t a knockout artist himself, he knows the game and betting against Wilder producing an early finish is never wise.
The 37-year-old has 42 knockouts from 43 wins, with the one man who went the distance – Bermaine Stiverne – not being so lucky in the rematch.
It means the odds are stacked against Ruiz, who must aim to join Tyson Fury as the only man who can stand up the Alabama fighter’s power.
Bradley framed his definitive pick with a call for fights to be signed rather than just discussed.
“All right, I just need less talking and more writing. That’s what I need for all these heavyweights and everybody in each division. Less talking, more writing for all these guys. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.”
It’s a sentiment that all fans agree with, with the heavyweight scene severely lagging behind the other divisions this year in terms of big nights under the lights.
With these negotiations now underway, Oleksandr Usyk facing Daniel Dubois in August, Anthony Joshua looking for a fight the same month and Fury wanting out in September, the big mens’ 2023 can be salvaged yet.