Deontay Wilder has put a backup in place just in case another massive fight with Anthony Joshua falls apart without a punch thrown.
Wilder prepares himself for another evacuation from Joshua by targeting a new fight for the back end of the year.
Should Joshua walk away, as he did in 2018 to face Alexander Povetkin after lengthy talks, Wilder will turn his attention to a world title clash.
The American puncher will focus on landing a massive collision with Oleksandr Usyk, probably as a Middle Eastern replacement for AJ.
Joshua has an offer to face UK rival Tyson Fury in the summer. However, AJ’s promoter Eddie Hearn wants a negotiated rematch with Dillian Whyte to occur first.
Judging by Hearn’s recent comments, the Matchroom boss doesn’t want to deviate from that plan. Therefore, Fury could be forced to wait if he wants the fight to happen.
If Joshua deals with Whyte as he did in 2015, the Fury clash could happen in December. All of that leaves Wilder firmly out of the loop despite being sounded out over fighting Joshua in Saudi Arabia around the same time.
Deontay Wilder vs Usyk
That’s where Usyk comes in. The formidable Ukrainian will be at a loose end if they can fend off the mandatory challenge of Daniel Dubois in Poland this August.
Wilder knows that a vast Usyk event will become possible, even if he’s unsure that the WBA, IBF, and WBO champion will accept his advances.
Speaking to Elie Seckbach, Wilder remained optimistic but skeptical.
“I’m all for it, but he’s [Usyk] a little afraid,” said Wilder. “Not a little afraid, but a lot afraid.
“I’m in the business, so I know many things. I’m ready to go at any given moment in time. They know that.”
On securing a massive fight against any of the top three, Wilder added he was leaving discussions up to his team.
“I don’t do all that stuff [negotiating points in contracts]. I don’t put up too much of a fight as far as trying to get a fight done.
“We all can eat [at the heavyweight table]. That’s how we should be, being able to help each other eat.
“It’s not about overpricing yourself out of a fight because we’re all risking our lives. So damn, let us at least get a piece of the pie.”
Wilder vs Usyk is a far more fan-friendly fight than Joshua. The former champion is on the downside and could see his career ended by one more defeat.
Not being in the best form himself doesn’t matter as much for Wilder as he has that detonation equalizer that AJ doesn’t have.
Follow experienced boxing writer Phil Jay on Twitter @PhilJWBN.