Deontay Wilder says he is hoping to put on “a show” with Chris Arreola in their WBC world heavyweight title fight.
Wilder (36-0-KO35) is a big favourite going into the fourth defence of his crown on Saturday night, while Arreola is hoping to cash in on an unexpected opportunity.
Wilder was scheduled to fight in Russia against mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin in May, but that fight fell through when Povetkin tested positive for the banned substance meldonium.
“We needed a guy that was going to come and fight,” Wilder said ahead of the bout in Alabama. “We needed a guy that wasn’t going to come and make excuses. He may still make excuses at the end talking about weight.
“But we mainly needed a guy that was going to come and give the people of Alabama a show, and worldwide.
“There’s no other guy that we could have had that was going to give me the fight that I was looking for out of a fighter than Chris Arreola. That’s why we chose him.”
Wilder said he needed a quick fight after being down following cancellation of the fight with Povetkin, who has denied any wrongdoing.
“I can’t wait because I’ve been wanting to pound something,” Wilder said.
“I’ve been wanting to pound something since May. I got teased a little bit. I don’t like to be teased. I got teased a little bit and now it’s time.”
Arreola (36-4-1-KO31) is a big underdog going into the bout, with some oddsmakers installing Wilder as a 1/30 favourite. Arreola has lost in previous world title shots to Vitali Klitschko and Bermane Stiverne, who Wilder beat to claim the WBC crown in January 2015.
“I told my wife before she got here to make sure she gave $1,000 to one of my cousins to go put at least $1,000 on myself,” Arreola said. “That’s $30,000. I’ll take that all day every day.
“To me, that’s very disrespectful. Extremely disrespectful. Those are almost Buster [Douglas] odds.”
The 6ft 7in Wilder has knocked out every opponent except Stiverne, but his three title defences have all gone at least into the ninth. Wilder is coming off a ninth-round knockout of Artur Szpilka in January.
Arreola hasn’t fought since December, when he won a split decision over Travis Kauffman. It was declared a no contest because Arreola tested positive for marijuana.