Saturday night in Las Vegas, Nevada, the MGM Grand hosts the most explosive heavyweight boxer in the world as Deontay Wilder takes on the feared Cuban Luiz Ortiz, a massive potential banana skin for the WBC champion with the Tyson Fury rematch on the horizon.
Whenever Wilder fights, you know you’re in for a thrilling time. Whether he blasts out his opponent in the first round like he did to Dominic Breazeale back in May, or goes the distance like he did with Tyson Fury nearly a year ago, he always provides the excitement inside the ring.
Athletic, charismatic and extremely dangerous, he has all the qualities you’d want from a world heavyweight champion. But, was this a rematch he needed to take with the Fury rematch rumoured to be signed for early next year?
The Great First Fight
Deontay Wilder is a freak of nature, standing at 6’ 7”, weighing just over 15 stone, he has immense power. Of his 41 wins, 40 have come by knockout, a truly amazing stat.
Now, of course, you could argue up until recent years the level of opposition hasn’t really been the peak of the sport, and I think that's a fair comment.
Wilder struggled to get commercial momentum, and certainly wasn’t fast tracked after winning an Olympic bronze medal. But no one can deny in the past couple of years he has stepped up when required.
For all the circus that surrounded the open and confused ‘negotiations’ between Wilder and Anthony Joshua, Wilder had to increase his commercial viability and he’s done a reasonably good job at doing that.
In March 2018 he stepped up to fight Luis Ortiz. The Cuban had been widely regarded as the divisions ‘boogy man’ avoided by most as a guy with guile, ring generalship and a powerful left hand.
He was high risk with little reward as he isn’t known outside of boxing circles.
It was a risk that Wilder took and was one of the fights of the year in 2018.
Ortiz started well, controlling the fight, landing some great counter lefts, Wilder couldn’t work him out. But then, from nowhere in the fifth round, Wilder threw a shot he has mastered. A long, lazy jab that obscures the sight of the opponent, followed by a hellacious right hand that you don't see coming.
It was the exact same shot he obliterated Breazeale with. Ortiz barely survived the fifth round, saved by the bell. The fight moved on and into the seventh saw one of the most exciting rounds of boxing in 2018.
Ortiz landing a right hook as Wilder came in, followed by a left. Wilder was hurt, and Ortiz smelt blood. He threw everything at Wilder, who was on the ropes, trying to grab on with every ounce of his will. Wilder, like Ortiz in round five, was saved by the bell.
After the one-minute break between rounds, the doctor came to check on Wilder after the bell rang for the eighth, taking an extra minute which gave Wilder time to recover. There's no doubt to many people without this extra break Ortiz would have finished the job in the eighth. However, the end was near for Luis Ortiz.
As tiredness set in, Wilder pounced in the 10th round, knocking him down twice and winning the fight.
Wilder has since gone on to have that epic encounter with Tyson Fury in December 2018 and blitzed through Breazeale. Ortiz, however, hasn’t had a meaningful fight since, his best win coming on a unanimous points victory over Christian Hammer in March this year.
So, this weekend the two guys start again and what can we expect?
Luis Ortiz is still a very dangerous fighter, but is also nearly two years older. Whilst he looks in very good shape, you must wonder if he can give more effort than he did in the first fight, and to be honest, I find that hard to believe. He gave everything in that first fight, picking himself up off the floor twice before it ended.
For Wilder, he’s had the experience of sharing the ring with Tyson Fury and knowing he was one or two seconds away from beating him. I suspect he’s confident he will get the job done more convincingly second time around with less drama.
Some in the boxing media have noticed that Wilder looks noticeably more subdued in this build up, his usual fight week demeanour of the ‘Bronze Bomber’ hasn’t been seen. It’s made some people question if he’s taking this fight too lightly or has one eye on the mega fight with Tyson Fury.
For Ortiz to win this fight, I think he needs to come out fast and not let Wilder get into his rhythm.
That approach, however, does come with inherent risk of walking onto one of Wilder's bombs, and if Ortiz doesn’t get the job done early, we know he will gas and Wilder’s power carries through to round 12 as The Gypsy King found out.
For me, I think Wilder will make this more comfortable than the first, winning by KO, this time between rounds 6-9.
As always with Wilder fights, don’t go out to make a cup of tea, don’t go to the toilet because in the blink of an eye he can end the night.News Now - Sport News