Tomorrow night on FOX pay-per-view, Deontay Wilder returns to defend his WBC heavyweight title against Luis Ortiz in a matchup of a wild brawl from 2018.
Does Deontay’s monster power lead him to another win, or can Ortiz pull the upset? Our staffers make their picks.
I have two competing thoughts in my head for this fight. The first is that Wilder knows exactly who Ortiz is this time, and will be even more ready to exploit his own advantages, maybe look to overwhelm Ortiz in the earlygoing and score an impressive early knockout.
The other is that Wilder knows very well that Ortiz can be pushed to fade at his age, and that also Ortiz can still crack, and that maybe there’s no point in taking unnecessary risks when you can wait for the Cuban to slow down and get him out later. Why try to bomb Ortiz out fast and leave yourself more open to return fire when he’s still fresh, when you can wear him down and pick him off with a lot less danger?
I’m going with the latter thought, and I expect a bit less wild and woolly an affair this time around. Does Ortiz have a shot? Sure, he’s a big man, he can punch, and it’s the heavyweight division. But I think Deontay is a little cagier than he’s often thought to be, too, and he’ll get the job done without nearly as much trouble this time. Wilder TKO-9
Let’s face it, Ortiz is not the same fighter he was almost two years ago when he fought Deontay Wilder for the first time. Ortiz is a really well-schooled boxer, that much is true, but he’s also officially listed at 40 with many people believing he’s really much older than that. Father Time is undefeated, and unfortunately for Ortiz he really had only a short window to take on the best fighters in the world while he still had most of his physical prime intact. That time has come and gone though, and while Ortiz is still technically sound enough to beat middling contenders, I don’t think he has it in him to beat any of the current crop of champions.
I like Ortiz, but I have to be realistic here. I have no doubt that he really wants this, but what the mind wants and what the body can physically do aren’t always aligned. I expect Ortiz to be a more stationary target than he was the last time around, and I think that makes it easier for Wilder to eventually detonate on him. I’m going to take Wilder by stoppage. Wilder TKO-4
Patrick L. Stumberg
For me, the most striking memory of their first fight wasn’t the finish; we knew going in that Wilder’s right hand is a sudo shutdown command for the human brain. Rather, it was Ortiz unloading everything he had to effectively zero lasting effect. We like to joke about how Ortiz is 800 years old, but he’s built like a refrigerator and his punches are the equivalent of having one dropped on your head from 10 stories up. And yet Wilder, whose amateur record and spindly build had made his chin a point of concern since his pro debut, took the barrage without falling.
I don’t see the rematch lasting anywhere near as long; Wilder is coming in with the knowledge that he can hurt Ortiz and a statistically significant amount of data that suggests Ortiz can’t do the same in return. As with Bermane Stiverne, I see “The Bronze Bomber” fighting like he’s there to prove a point. Expect a couple rounds of wild slugging before Wilder’s money punch finds the mark. Wilder KO-3
Ortiz’s body shots and willingness to double up on the jab gave Wilder real problems in their first rubber last year, but with the cardio of a *38-year-old* heavyweight, the rounds caught up with the southpaw. Now, at *40*, Ortiz looks to be in a better physical condition this time around, with a training focus on holding his feet and getting to Wilder on the inside.
Wilder will always be susceptible to fire coming back, but with his jab – surprisingly – proving one of the most accurate in the sport, he should be able to forge the opening again to land a right hand that will change the course of the fight. Whether he can land as often against Ortiz’s tricky southpaw stance is why this fight may go a few rounds again. He’ll find the breakthrough, eventually. Wilder KO-7