Deontay Wilder’s biggest payday disappeared when Andy Ruiz Jr. upset Anthony Joshua on Saturday night.
That’s not even what bothered Wilder the most about Joshua’s stunning seventh-round, technical-knockout loss at Madison Square Garden. Wilder was most angry about his perception that Joshua “f***ing quit” after Ruiz knocked him down for the second time in the seventh round and the fourth time overall.
Referee Michael Griffin asked a deflated, fatigued Joshua if he wanted to continue once the ex-champion got up with just under two minutes remaining in the seventh round. Joshua replied, “Yes,” yet Griffin waved an end to their 12-rounder at 1:27 of the seventh round.
Joshua told Griffin he wanted to continue, but Wilder sensed from Joshua’s body language that he wanted the fight to end at that moment.
Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, told a group of reporters that “the fight was done” at that point. Neither Hearn nor Joshua took issue with Griffin’s decision to stop the action.
“The most thing I’m mad about is he quit, bruh,” Wilder told 78SPORTSTV early Sunday morning for its YouTube page. “He quit! As a champion, as a true champion, bruh, if I have to turn into the Bronze Bomber – like I said, when I’m in the ring, I don’t mean no good for nobody, bruh. You’re gonna have to kill me in the ring.”
Alabama’s Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) believes Joshua wanted out of that difficult fight because things previously have come too easily for the former IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO champion. England’s Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) won the IBF championship in just his 16th professional fight and quickly became a phenomenon like British boxing has never before seen.
Joshua also earned respect throughout the boxing world by getting off the canvas in the sixth round, dropping Wladimir Klitschko twice more during the 11th round and winning by TKO in their April 2017 slugfest at Wembley Stadium in London.
“I earned mine,” said Wilder, who has made nine defenses of the WBC heavyweight title he won four years ago. “They gave it to him, and that’s the difference, bruh. When you have to earn something, when you coming from the bottom, you ain’t going back, no matter what it is. These guys gotta kill me in that ring, bro. They’ve gotta literally kill me, because my heart ain’t gonna let them beat me. My will ain’t gonna let them beat me. My determination ain’t gonna let them beat me. That’s why life can never beat me, because I ain’t never quit in life. I ain’t never let it defeat me, because my heart won’t allow it. My passion, my love, my determination won’t allow life to kick me in the ass and keep me down.
“But when you get a guy like that, and everything’s given to you, you don’t know how to bounce back when you have hard times. They just don’t know how. And then you gonna go in there and quit? Out of all that sh*t, that was the most upsetting part about it all, man. F*** the money! This motherf***er quit! You work out f***ing 24 hours a day, even in your sleep. And you quit? You said, ‘No mas!’ You let this small guy come up and [you] quit, bruh. I thought it was gonna be a 12-round fight at least. But he f***ing quit! That’s the most – oh my God!”