Deontay Wilder has welcomed comparisons to iconic boxing champions Floyd Mayweather and Muhammed Ali ahead of his trilogy with Tyson Fury.
The American believes he will be the latest in a long line of legendary fighters to become multiple-time world champion, and wants to use his platform to raise awareness of social issues facing, like Ali before him.
However, Wilder believes that fans will struggle to accept him, in a similar way to how they struggled to warm to Mayweather during his career, due to the implications of the subjects he raises.
“You got Floyd and you got Ali and those two great men in the sport that have done their thing,” Wilder said in a recent interview with 78SPORTSTV. “I can see the comparison to both.
"When it comes to Floyd, they always said he was boring and his style, which he showed great boxing skills, he showed great IQ in the ring, offense and defence, it still wasn’t enough for people.
"And then when a king like me come along, and show you just the opposite, show you so much power, so much athleticism … it still ain’t enough."
Wilder added that he can already see himself going the way of Ali, whose political leanings saw him become a heavily divisive figure in America.
“And then with Ali, to take a stand not only inside the ring but outside the ring, he was one considered one of the most hated men’s in America," he said.
"Then you got Deontay Wilder come along to take that same stand outside and inside the ring, it seem like it ain’t enough, it seem like they have these buck-dancers that dance in our kind to go against us and try it down.
"But you can’t buck-break me, man, I’m chosen.
"Ali is one of my idols in boxing, I appreciate to be compared to him, and I can see the comparison of what he stood for.
"Especially in the times he did it in, the years he did it in – man, oh my goodness, I just want to take that same stand here, because I’m not afraid.
"You have so many other guys in this world who have a stronger platform than I but they don’t have the nerve, they don’t have the courage to take a stand like I do, so they stay quiet – they wait on guys like me to speak out.”
To even begin to compare with Ali or Mayweather, Wilder will need to reclaim his world heavyweight championship against Fury in their trilogy later this month.
He has yet to truly prove himself as one of boxing's elite fighters, despite being champion for a number of years and making a myriad of successful title defences.
Beating Fury would set him up for a possible unification bout with Anthony Joshua, which would place his legacy in the same realm as the greats before him.
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