Purses: Deontay Wilder $2.1 million, Luis Ortiz $500,000
By Stanley White: WBC heavyweight champion Deontay ‘Bronze Bomber’ Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs) will be getting a $2.1 million purse for his title defense on Saturday night against Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz (28-0, 24 KOs) for their fight on Showtime Boxing at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Ortiz will be getting considerably less at $500,000, which is still good money for a challenger. It’s not the huge money that the winner of the Wilder-Ortiz fight could get if they face IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in 2018 or 2019.
Only getting $2.1M makes it hard for Wilder to be taken seriously with his demand of a 50-50 purse split for the Joshua fight. Joshua makes considerably more for his fights in England than Wilder does for his fights. Joshua could give Wilder a take it or leave it 70-30 purse split offer. Even at 30 percent, Wilder would be receiving a career high payday for the fight with Joshua.
Wilder needs the Joshua fight more than anything for him to get the big money. Joshua routinely receives huge paydays fighting guys Carlos Takam and Eric Molina. The only reason he needs a fight with Wilder is to capture his WBC heavyweight title, so he can add that to his collection.
Joshua is about to win his 3rd heavyweight world title this month in his unification fight against WBO champion Joseph Parker. Getting a ‘W’ against Parker will put Joshua as a 3-belt title holder against a heavyweight with just 1 belt in Wilder. It’s hard for Wilder to be taken seriously by Joshua and his promoter Hearn with his purses being so much smaller.
Wilder could have gotten a bigger payday of over $3 million for a fight with Dillian Whyte. Hearn offered Wilder $3M to fight Whyte in March in London, England, but he said he wanted $7 million for the fight. Wilder lost money by not agreeing to Hearn’s offer, and he’s taking an unquestionably bigger risk in facing the 38-year-old unbeaten Ortiz instead of the lighter punching Whyte.
Wilder wants to get the Joshua fight because that’s where the big money comes in. Wilder weighed at 214 lbs. during Friday’s weigh-in, and there are a lot of boxing fans that are now predicting a win for Ortiz. He weighed in at 241, and he’ll have a 26 ½ lb. weight advantage.
Wilder might end up kicking himself for making the mistake of coming in at 214. Wilder was on damage control after the weigh-in, trying to tell the boxing media that weight doesn’t matter. The fact is weight DOES matter, especially when you’re as light as Wilder.
Ortiz hasn’t gotten the big money during his career. If he beats Wilder tonight, he’s going to see his paydays rise substantially, especially if he can face Joshua in his next fight. It would be a dream comes true for Ortiz. His career was looking promising 4 years ago after his 1st round knockout win over Lateef Kayode, but after testing positive for banned drugs on 2 separate occasions, he’s failed to hit it big. Wilder chose to ignore Ortiz’s latest positive drug test last year by giving him a title shot tonight. If this blows up in Wilder’s face with him losing tonight, he’s going to be filled with a ton of regret afterwards. He could have taken an easy option of picking out a bottom feeder for his title defense tonight. Wilder chose to risk it all by taking on Ortiz. Now he must go out and prove himself to keep in the picture for a big money fight with Joshua.
There’s a lot to gain for Wilder and Ortiz tonight. We’ll have to see which one of them wants it the most. Ortiz looked very powerful in his last fight against Daniel Martz last December. The body and head shots Ortiz nailed Martz with in that fight would do damage to Wilder if he were the one getting hit with them. Wilder clearly can’t let Ortiz put hands on him tonight like he did against the 6’5” Martz. The 6’3” Ortiz had no problems connecting with power shots against the taller Martz in that fight. Ortiz was previously listed at 6’4”, but for this fight, he was re-measured, and his height turned out to be 1 inch shorter than the listed 6’4”. Moreover, Ortiz’s reach isn’t 85 inches as listed. His reach is 76 inches, not 85. We still don’t know what Ortiz’s true age is. He’s listed as 38-years-old but given how his height and reach measurements turned out to be false, you wonder whether his age is off too. It doesn’t matter though. Power doesn’t drop off for a fighter considerably into their 40s. They lose hand speed, which Ortiz never had much of in the first place. Ortiz does look slower than he was before back in 2014. Whether he’s slowed enough for Wilder to knock him out will be seen tonight. Wilder can’t let Ortiz hit him tonight, because as light as he is, he might fall apart from the first big shot from the Cuban.