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Wilder: ‘King Kong’ ain’t got nothing on me

Deontay Wilder

By Jeff Aranow: WBC heavyweight champion Deontay ‘Bronze Bomber’ Wilder gloated after knocking out Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz (28-1, 24 KOs) in the 10th last Saturday night in a fight that he had to rally to get the victory in front of 14,069 fans at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

(Photo credit: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions)

Wilder knocked Ortiz down 2 times in the 10th round. Referee David Fields decided to stop the fight after the second knockdown, although Ortiz probably could have gotten back to his feet if he was given the chance. Wilder didn’t hit him with a hard shot to get Ortiz to fall. He tried to hit Wilder with a left hand that put him off balance, and he was countered with a left that caused him to him to fall.

Wilder showed that he could beat the ‘bogeyman’ of the heavyweight division in defeating the heavy-handed, highly talented 6’3” Ortiz. Wilder beat the guy that a lot of fighters in the division were afraid to fight and for good reason. Ortiz is arguably the No.3 heavyweight in the division, and he came close to beating the No.2 guy in 32-year-old Wilder.

Wilder came VERY close to being knocked out by the 38-year-old Ortiz in the 7th round. You can call it luck that Wilder got through the 7th. Wilder was equally lucky to get through the 8th round as well, as he was still out on his feet at the start of the round. Ortiz made the critical error of giving Wilder space in the 8th round instead of jumping on him the way he’d done in the 7th.

Wilder’s win keeps his hopes alive for a unification fight against the winner of the March 31st fight between IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and WBO belt holder Joseph Parker. The winner of that fight will hold 3 titles in the heavyweight division, and you can expect them to use those belts to get the best deal possible when it comes to negotiating a fight with Wilder. The ‘Bronze Bomber’ can forget about getting a 50-50 deal. It won’t happen.

“‘King Kong’ ain’t got nothing on me,” Wilder said after the fight. “A true champion always finds a way to come back, and that’s what I did tonight. Luis Ortiz is definitely a crafty guy. He put up a great fight. We knew we had to wear him down. I showed everyone I can take a punch,” said Wilder.

Wilder took some shots, but he didn’t get hit that much. The punch that hurt Wilder in the 7th was a left to the head that Ortiz loaded up on. After Wilder was hurt, Ortiz had problems landing to the head with full force. Ortiz was mostly connecting with body shots when he had Wilder trapped against the ropes in the 7th round.

Wilder landed 98 of 346 punches for a connect percentage of 28%. Ortiz connected on 87 of 363 shots for a 24 percent connect rate. Wilder was ahead at the time of the stoppage by the scores 85-84, 85-84 and 85-84.

“When he leaves tonight, Ortiz can hold his head high. He gave the fans a hell of a fight,” Wilder said.

The victory for Wilder isn’t going to do much to quiet his many critics, who question his chin, boxing ability and his courage. Wilder was hurt by Ortiz, and he didn’t show much in the way of courage though most of the fight. Wilder was giving ground constantly to the older 38-year-old Ortiz, which made his job much harder than if he stood and met the Cuban fighter’s forward pressure with right hands. Wilder could have made it a very easy fight if he’d fought with more courage.

The Wilder-Ortiz fight was boring to watch through many of the rounds. The most exciting rounds of the fight were 5, 7, 9 and 10. Wilder knocked Ortiz down with a right hand in the 5th. Up until that point in the fight, Wilder had been fighting so passively that Ortiz wasn’t prepared mentally for a sudden big right hand thrown by Wilder.

Ortiz was the only one throwing punches with mean intent in the first 4 rounds. Wilder was just pawing with his jab and moving around the ring like he was afraid of Ortiz. That changed in the 5th round when he caught Ortiz with a right hand that he walked into. The punch knocked Ortiz down. He wasn’t that hurt. It simply case of Ortiz not expecting Wilder to throw a power shot. Wilder had given away the first one-third of the fight by doing nothing.

“I feel fine. I did receive a right hand, but I’m OK,” Ortiz said. “I was listening to the directions that my corner was giving me. In this sport, any punch can end a fight. It was a great fight and I performed well. I thought I was up on the scorecard going in to the [10th] round, but it’s heavyweight boxing, and you never know what’s going to happen.”

The win for Wilder brings his ring record to the magical 40-0 mark. Wilder is now 10 wins away from equaling Floyd Mayweather’s 50-0 record. Wilder believes he’s going to break that record by going 51-0. If Wilder keeps winning, it might take him 4 years to break Mayweather’s 50-0 record. That would put Wilder at 36-year-old. That’s not old for a heavyweight. With the way Wilder looked against Ortiz, it’s not likely that he’ll get anywhere close to the 50-0 record. The 28-year-old Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) is Wilder’s biggest obstacle in preventing him from making boxing history.

Wilder looked like he was not comfortable letting his hands go against Ortiz. Whether it was because of Wilder not being comfortable with Ortiz’s southpaw stance of fear of his power, it’s unknown. Wilder simply wasn’t throwing power shots in the first 4 rounds. Wilder was throwing just jabs and they were weak, as if he was afraid of being countered by one of Ortiz’s straight left hands if he threw a hard jab. It didn’t take long for the fans at ringside to start booing the lack of action from the two fighters. This didn’t make either of them fight any harder. Wilder wasn’t willing to throw power punches, and Ortiz was contest with landing a small number of lefts and rights in each round to get the better of the action.

Wilder changed the fight in the 5th round when he threw a straight hand that connected to the head of Ortiz sending him down on the canvas. Wilder hurt Ortiz with a right hand moments before he followed up with a second right to drop him. The round ended before Wilder could get a chance to try and finish off Ortiz. That was unfortunate for Wilder, because he fought the 6th like he had the first 4 rounds by being defensive and showing too much respect for Ortiz’s power.

For Wilder, this was easily the best opponent of his 10-year pro career. He’d wanted to step it up a long time ago against Alexander Povetkin in 2016, but the Russian tested positive for a banned substance, which wiped out their fight that had been scheduled in Moscow, Russia for May of that year. Wilder was going to fight Ortiz last year on November 4th, but he tested positive for 2 banned drugs. Wilder then defended his WBC title against #1 contender Bermane Stiverne. It was a good thing for Wilder that he was able to get his mandatory defense out of the way against Stiverne, but it was also a disappointment for him and for the boxing fans because he was looking forward to defending his title against the Cuban Ortiz. Wilder ended up giving Ortiz a second chance by picking him out for his March 3rd fight, which gave the Cuban a big payday of $500,000. That’s good money for Ortiz, as he’s never tasted the big money during his 8-year career. Wilder needed Ortiz because this was the one guy that would help him validate his career to show the boxing fans that he’s not just milking his WBC title with title defenses against weak opposition. That’s a reputation that Wilder had gained with fans for his fights against the likes of Artur Szpilka, Johann Duhaupas, Eric Molina, Chris Arreola, Stiverne and Gerald Washington.

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