Story by: Robert Uzzell
Sources tell me negotiations have heated up between WBC World heavyweight champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) and WBC interim and intercontinental champion (if either matters to you) Luis “The Real King Kong” Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs).
If this match takes place in New York as it is rumored, then the heavyweight picture will become clearer. Wilder, maybe the most protected champion in boxing, needs to add a real name on his resume outside of Bermane Stiverne. And to be honest, do we really know how good Stiverne is? He beat the overrated and overweight Chris Arreola twice. Big deal. He also beat the world renowned Ray Austin. Whoopie!
Wilder had a much easier time disposing of Malik Scott, scoring a KO in the first round. Ortiz, a monster many fighters have continuously ducked, couldn’t catch up to Scott and settled for a disappointing twelve round decision.
On the other hand, Wilder has regressed since beating Scott and Stiverne. He struggled with household names such as Gerald Washington, Arthur Szpilka, and Eric Molina. Molina came within a punch or two of knocking Wilder down and maybe out.
Ortiz looked unbeatable in winning by knockout over Tony Thompson and Bryant Jennings. However at age 38 and being off a year when the proposed fight takes place, this matchup turns out to be interesting.
Wilder won’t have to worry about much movement as Ortiz will stalk and try to get inside or at comfortable range from the outside. Ortiz is an exceptional inside fighter and Wilder definitely struggles in that area.
In this fight, Wilder needs to watch tape. He should watch tape of himself, not Ortiz. There’s only one fight he should observe and that’s his fight with Stiverne. It’s almost as if that Wilder showed up for one night and we haven’t seen him since. Deontay should use his superior athleticism to beat the slower, sometimes plodding Ortiz to the punch. Deontay must jab as often as possible and fight big, as his frame suggests. He had problems with Szpilka’s rough inside tactics and I’m sure Team Ortiz is aware. If Ortiz is rusty or if he’s lost a step, he could be tailor made for Wilder’s athleticism and lateral movement. Wilder needs to clinch every time Ortiz gets inside. One thing Wilder has is possibly the best right hand in the division, if not it’s in the top three. He needs to throw it from different angles and show Ortiz who is boss. He should also beware of Ortiz’s good counterpunching.
Ortiz’s job is to put Wilder on his back foot and keep him there. Jab and double and triple it up. Follow with big left hands. The key is if he can’t get in range to land the big left hand, Ortiz needs to make it a rough inside fight. Wilder will be out of his element and this is right up Kong’s alley. Kong also should work the body to break Wilder down. Wilder has the body of a god, but the legs of a lightweight. A good shot to the chin should drop him, but working the body will slow those legs down and lead to positive results. If Ortiz is rusty or slow, he can still survive with the slightest movement. The key is not to be a stationary target. Also, look to slip the wide shots of Wilder and counter them, which is Ortiz’s strength.
There are many questions to be answered in this matchup. Will Ortiz come up clean before and after the fight? Has his age and inactivity caught up with him? What has Deontay Wilder done to improve defensively? Is he ready for a step up against a fearsome puncher like Ortiz?
In the end, this fight is great for boxing and a continuation of a fantastic 2017. Deontay Wilder is frighteningly easy to hit. And this is by C+ and B- fighters he’s been with in the ring. While he has a three inch height advantage on Ortiz, Kong has a one inch reach advantage. Kong fought three times in 2015 and three times in 2016. He hasn’t fought at all in 2017 and this fight is slated for November. This could even the odds in Wilder’s favor. Wilder fought three times in 2015, twice in 2016, and beat Washington in February of this year.
I hope this fight is made. The heavyweight division is exciting again with the mix of youth and experience:
Let’s continue to fight the fights and let’s hope Bermane Stiverne takes step aside bread so Wilder/Ortiz happens on November 4 in Brooklyn, NY.