IT was interesting to watch Deontay Wilder and Andy Ruiz Jnr being interviewed together prior to the Manny Pacquiao-Keith Thurman fight recently. When former world lightweight champion Ray Mancini stated that the two fighters must face off in order to have “one heavyweight champion,” Ruiz looked slightly fazed, like he wasn’t sure what to say next. Wilder soon pitched in to save the uncomfortable moment, reeling back to talk of Lennox Lewis and even asking Ruiz to confirm the last time there was an undisputed champion. Wilder then got excited talking about the prospect of an undisputed, undefeated, unified champion (obviously referring to himself, as Ruiz is not undefeated), before switching it back to show almost over-the-top respect for Ruiz by stating that he’s brought a new face to the division. The interview-experienced Wilder was almost certainly acting here, but although this was an act, the message was clear: ‘I’m the champ.’ Ruiz played Mr Nice Guy throughout, almost like a poker player keeping his cards close to his chest, happy to be sitting pretty with a full house and refusing to be budged. Are these two champions secretly anticipating an inevitable showdown? Or are they simply two fighters waiting to see how their stories will play out? Perhaps they’ll never fight. Perhaps it’ll be Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury having a similar conversation down the line… or a mix of any of the four. Whatever happens, let’s hope the fans get the fights they really want to see. Ryan Vincent
R.I.P. BEAU WILLIFORD
I WAS so sad to hear the news that my coach and manager from years gone by, Beau Williford, had passed away [at 69 years old on July 31]. He took me from nothing and helped me in every form of life. In 1992, I was taken in to his family home for over four years as a pro. Amazing opportunities came my way and I can’t thank him enough. I would always call him at least four or five times a year, even all these years later. God bless his amazing family. R.I.P. big man. Thanks for the memories. Kenny Rainford (Former pro light-heavy/cruiserweight)
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