David Adeleye scoffed when Fabio Wardley claimed that “jitters” caused Adeleye to hit him at a press conference last month in London.
Their brief skirmish left Wardley with a cut near his left eye and another laceration on his chin, but Adeleye acknowledged during a press conference recently in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia that their physical altercation shouldn’t have happened. The British heavyweight rivals disagreed on essentially everything else they discussed during the buildup toward their 12-round co-feature on the Tyson Fury-Francis Ngannou undercard October 28 in Riyadh (ESPN+ Pay-Per-View; $79.99).
London’s Adeleye (12-0, 11 KOs) again predicted that this won’t be a difficult fight for him.
“I’m getting paid to beat him up,” Adeleye said. “It’s easy money.”
Ipswich’s Wardley (16-0, 15 KOs) reminded Adeleye that his unblemished record has been built against a very low level of opposition. The 6-foot-5, 242-pound Wardley also suggested that Frank Warren, whose company promotes Adeleye, made sure to put their fight on this high-profile card because he knows Wardley will win and has grand plans for him.
“I think I’m being paid to be whatever because Frank realizes that you’re not what you thought you were, you’re not probably what he thought you was,” Wardley said. “So, he’s brought me over to do a job, get rid of you. And I don’t know that you’re easy money, talking about that, but I think Frank’s betting his money on me.”
Wardley, 28, doesn’t respect Adeleye, 26, because of how Adeleye behaved during their abovementioned altercation. The hard feelings aren’t mutual, according to Adeleye.
“I’ve got respect for Wardley,” Adeleye said. “Definitely, I think he does hold himself well. I give him that. He seems to be a nice guy. But in terms of boxing and whatnot, from a boxing perspective ain’t no respect because he don’t really do nothing good. But as a man and whatnot, I’ll give him his respect.”
DraftKings has made Wardley almost a 4-1 favorite to defeat Adeleye, but the 6-foot-4, 235-pound Adeleye listed all the reasons why oddsmakers have handicapped their fight incorrectly.
“Faster than him, smarter than him, I hit harder than him,” said Adeleye, who has beaten only six opponents with winning records. “More athletic than him, move around the ring better than him, my chin’s better than his.”
Wardley’s win in his last fight – a fourth-round stoppage of American Michael Coffie (13-4, 10 KOs) – was widely criticized because fans feel referee Howard Foster intervened prematurely and stopped their scheduled rounder too soon on the Anthony Joshua-Jermaine Franklin undercard April 1 at O2 Arena in London.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.