Deontay Wilder Announces Fights Against Luis Ortiz, Potential Rematch Against Tyson Fury
Before the chaos that was Anthony Joshua losing his three heavyweight titles to Andy Ruiz Jr., Deontay Wilder, holder of the fourth and final world title needed to crown the next undisputed champion, dropped a couple of bombshell announcements in the span of a couple of days.
The first one was the announcement that he would face Luis Ortiz next later this year, but the second piece of news, by far the bigger of the two, is that contracts have been signed for Wilder and Tyson Fury to have their highly-anticipated rematch, assuming that Wilder defeats Ortiz first.
According to Lance Pugmire, the fight between Wilder and Ortiz could potentially land in Los Angeles at the Staples Center on September 7, though nothing is set in stone. The possible date and venue comes from Pugmire's conversations with unnamed boxers who are also reportedly planned to fight on that card and from Staples Center officials who confirmed to Pugmire that PBC does have a hold for September 7 at the venue.
The first fight between Wilder and Ortiz, which took place in March 2018 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, was short of it being a heavyweight classic, but it still ended up being one of the better fights of the year. Ortiz was arguably the closest to ever stopping Wilder center in the ring, but Wilder managed to recover and stop the Cuban heavyweight in the 10th round.
In a tweet announcing the fight, Wilder said he wanted to get all of the controversial fights corrected, starting with Ortiz. It may seem a bit confusing to call the fight against Ortiz a controversial one given how Wilder recovered from Ortiz’s punches to score the TKO victory. If one were to look back on the fight, the only moment where it may be deemed controversial is the start of the seventh round where Wilder was inexplicably given around 20 more seconds of rest while a ringside physician checked on him for no apparent reason. Wilder was hurt in the previously round, but not concussed or even cut, which made the check-up all the more confusing.
Still, when the fight was over, no one was really talking about the extended rest Wilder had at the start of the seventh round. Wilder himself may feel like the vocal minority (if there even is one in this instance), was enough to justify fighting Ortiz once more.
However decisive that first fight was, there’s no doubt that Ortiz is one of the three best heavyweight contenders that do not hold a title prior to the announcement. There’s no doubt that fans are at least somewhat excited about the rematch against Ortiz, but the reasons for why it’s happening may seem a little perplexing on the surface.
Their first encounter, which took place at Staples Center last December, ended in a split draw despite Wilder dropping Fury twice in the fight. The draw snapped Wilder's 40-fight win streak while Fury failed to capture the lone major alphabet world title he has yet to win in his career.
The two sides were negotiating a rematch, potentially for May 2019, but the fight fell through when Fury blindsided the sport by announcing a multi-fight deal with Top Rank Boxing to fight on ESPN platforms. The announcement meant that a Wilder-Fury rematch would more than likely not happen in 2019 after Wilder and his team rejected a multi-fight offer from Top Rank that would have Wilder fight Dominic Breazeale on an ESPN platform in an effort to build up to the rematch against Fury.
Before we can even think about a potential rematch between Wilder and Fury, both men have to win their next fights. While Wilder is focused on Ortiz next, Fury does have to face for his next fight against unbeaten German contender Tom Schwarz on June 15. The fight will take place in Las Vegas and serve as Fury’s debut as a member of the Top Rank roster.
Even if Fury defeats Schwarz, Fury is still penciled in for another fight in September before focusing on Wilder. The announcement made by Wilder is certainly interesting as far as the timing is concerned.
What’s going to be something to be watched out for is how Top Rank books Fury moving forward. Top Rank and ESPN are probably more likely now to put Fury up against an easier opponent in September to minimize the amount of risk before the rematch against Wilder. As it stands, the likeliest plan for Wilder-Fury 2 in terms of broadcasting is for the event to be a rare joint pay-per-view event between PBC and Top Rank (with ESPN and FOX or Showtime serving as the two networks involved) and there’s no doubt that a rematch, if marketed well, can do a very solid buyrate, somewhere in the ballpark of 500,000 buys.
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