Deontay Wilder’s reign as the WBC World heavyweight champion has long been a point of controversy. While he certainly boasts an entertainment factor through his ever-relied upon knockout power, his defenses against unworthy challengers, the likes of which include a Polish soccer hooligan and grossly out-of-shape former champions, has been a point of contention. The American’s next bout is against Cuban southpaw Luis Ortiz, again, who he defeated in ten rounds back in 2018.
Somewhat ironically, Wilder announced this rematch with Ortiz mere days before the now-former three-belt World champion Anthony Joshua fought Andy Ruiz Jr. Had Wilder waited just a few days rather than be quick to fill up his calendar to avoid a potential unification fight with ‘AJ,’ he would have been in with a shot of fighting Ruiz Jr to become the first undisputed heavyweight champion of the world since Lennox Lewis in 1999, when there were only three belts.
So now, the heavyweight world turns its attention to the second Wilder vs Ortiz bout, apart from the defending champion, it seems. Wilder has already laid out his roadmap, which swiftly skips over the Cuban, and has gone on to speak on how he will handle his next foe.
Can Ortiz put a spanner in the works?
At the time, fringe contender Luis Ortiz was the most talented boxer that Wilder had faced in his 39-fight career. The lumbering southpaw was well-known to be an awkward combatant with enough poise and determination to cause any fighter some problems.
In the first fight, Wilder sent Ortiz to the canvas in the fifth round, which looked to be the beginning of the end. Ortiz had put in some decent rounds beforehand and added a couple more to his tally through a strong defensive effort. Then, in the seventh round, the big Cuban rocked Wilder, who appeared to need little more than another good whack to send him down.
However, Ortiz couldn’t muster the precision in his ensuing onslaught required to capitalize, which looked to tire him greatly. Wilder earned his time to get back into the fight, with his foe’s fatigue becoming more evident with each passing round. Then, in the tenth, Ortiz was sent to the mat, rose before the count, but was then given a lesson in how to finish a fight.
It seemed like a missed opportunity for the one they call ‘King Kong,’ with the champion all-but dead on his feet. While a rematch is unwarranted in the eyes of many, Ortiz’s effort in the first fight gives many hope that despite the Wilder vs Ortiz odds, which have the challenger at 9/2 to win, he could conquer the American.
A much more careful plan to continue to stymie Wilder and training put into endurance and how to finish a flailing foe may see the Cuban come out with a belt. However, few expect this to come to fruition, and the 1/8 titleholder is expected to move to 41-0-1 on November 23.
Perhaps following the folly of Joshua?
Many say that Anthony Joshua’s crux in his defeat to the stand-in Ruiz Jr. was that he was looking too far ahead to the next ‘big’ fight, which led to him underestimating the dogged Mexican. Publicly, Joshua seemed fairly focused, but in the case of Wilder, he is being very brazen about looking beyond his upcoming opponent.
Having already stated his long-intended career path of Ortiz II, Fury II, and then unification, the ‘Bronze Bomber’ unveiled his plans for the Tyson Fury rematch, in which he says that he’ll target the burly Englishman’s right eye.
Otto Wallin managed to open up a gruesome double-wound above Fury’s right eye that required 47 stitches after their 12-round bout in September. Wilder plans to target the area that Wallin wounded, seeing the scar tissue as a sure-fire route to victory against the man who most saw as the true victor of their controversial first fight back in 2018.
Perhaps he understands that the 40-year-old Ortiz will pose him less of a threat than he did in their first fight, or perhaps he underestimates his upcoming foe. Wilder being so certain of his future plans does add a fleck of hope for anyone who fancies the Cuban in the Las Vegas contest.