Whyte says he’ll fight Luis Ortiz if Deontay Wilder faces him next
By Scott Gilfoid: Dillian Whyte (23-1, 17 KOs) says he’ll agree with the WBC’s wishes for him to face #3 WBC Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz (28-1, 24 KOs) in a secondary WBC heavyweight title eliminator if Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) will agree to give him an immediate title shot.
Wilder is in negotiations with IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, and that’s a fight that could happen in the summer or later this year. The World Boxing Council ordered Whyte and Ortiz to fight in a secondary title eliminator, as they already have #2 WBC Dominic Breazeale as the No.1 mandatory for Wilder.
The WBC’s likely reasons for making Breazeale the mandatory to Wilder is because he beat former heavyweight title champion Eric Molina by an 8th round stoppage last November. Before that, Breazeale defeated Izuagbe Ugonoh by a 5th round knockout in February of last year in a thrilling contest that saw both heavyweights hit the deck.
Breazeale has been facing better opposition than Whyte since his 7th round knockout loss to Joshua in June 2016. The WBC might have been impressed with Breazeale’s level of opposition more than Whyte’s. In Whyte’s last 7 fights, he’s beaten this bunch:
• Ivica Bacurin (29-13-1) – Great record, eh?
• David Allen (13-3-2)
• Ian Lewison (12-4-1)
• Dereck Chisora (28-8)
• Malcolm Tann (25-6)
• Robert Helenius (26-2)
• Lucas ‘Big Daddy’ Browne (25-1, 22 KOs) – a good record, but unfortunately Browne’s resume is littered with poor opposition
”Like I say, if Ortiz wants it, he can have it. But only if Deontay Wilder agrees to fight me next and nobody else,” Whyte said to IFL TV.
Whyte has it wrong. The WBC ordered him and Ortiz to fight each other in a SECONDARY world title eliminator, not a primary. As such, the winner of the Whyte vs. Ortiz fight will still have to get in line behind the 6’7” Breazeale, who has first dibs for a shot against Deontay. Whyte can either agree with the WBC to fight Ortiz and show the boxing public that he’s capable of beating a quality heavyweight instead of the above list of fodder opposition or he can face Kubrat Pulev in an IBF ordered title eliminator for a shot against IBF champion Anthony Joshua.
Personally, I don’t think it really matters. The heavyweight titles are on the verge of being unified anyway after Joshua and Wilder fight each other. Whether Whyte fights Pulev in the IBF title eliminator or Ortiz in the WBC title eliminator, it pretty much amounts to the same. Whyte will get his title shot eventually.
There are 2 problems with Whyte facing the 38-year-old Ortiz rather than the 37-year-old Pulev:
1. Ortiz is arguably a bigger threat than Pulev
2. Whyte will still need to wait for the primary WBC mandatory Breazeale to get his title shot against the winner of the Wilder vs. Joshua fight. So even if Whyte beats Ortiz in the WBC secondary title eliminator, he’ll still need to wait for Breazeale to get his shot first. Whyte will still eventually get a world title shot against Joshua or Wilder, but he’ll need to wait a bit longer
Whyte still comes out ahead by facing Ortiz instead of Pulev, because his popularity will increase if he beats the Cuban fighter. Ortiz is respected by a lot of boxing fans, and he came close to beating Wilder last March after hurting him in the 7th round with a hard left hand. Wilder stopped a tired Ortiz in the 10th round with a series of hard head shots. If Whyte beats Ortiz and makes it look easy, he’s going to get a massive amount of respect from the media, fans and from Wilder.
I think that’s important. Further, Whyte will be viewed by the boxing public as being better than Wilder just by beating Ortiz with ease. It’s a win-win for Whyte if he can defeat Ortiz and do it in style. Of course, if Whyte loses to Ortiz, which I believe will be the case, and then he can forget about getting a fight with Wilder or Joshua anytime soon. It doesn’t mean that Whyte will never get a fight against them. It just means that Whyte will need to rebuild his career for 2 to 4 years before he’ll get that shot. Whyte is with the same promoter as Joshua, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing, and I think he’s going to soon make a fight between those two no matter what happens in their next couple of fights. Hearn has a lot of pressure on him now that he’s signed an 8-year, $1 billion deal with the streaming service DAZN. There’s pressure on Hearn to provide quality fights, but unfortunately he doesn’t have a big stable of fighters to put together those fights. Hearn has a small handful of heavyweights in his stable, and half of them are not domestic level. They’re not guys that boxing fans are likely going to want to pay extra to subscribe to Hearn’s new streaming platform to see them compete against Joshua or anyone else.
“Deontay Wilder doesn’t want it,” Whyte said. ”He keeps coming up with excuses, he keeps trying to put barriers in-between me and him. Let’s break this down for the people. He [Wilder] just fought Ortiz, [a] voluntary defence. Ortiz is ranked way below me. You knock him out – how can he just get knocked out in a voluntary defence and automatically he’s back in title contention again! No. When you lose for a world title, you go all the way down. When you lose you build back again,”
What Whyte doesn’t understand is the WBC makes exceptions for contenders that lose fights against champions that are competitive match-ups. In the case of the Wilder-Ortiz fight, Ortiz came within an eyelash of knocking Wilder out in the 7th round. No one had ever done that to Deontay before. It shows you how talented Ortiz is. Would Wilder have won the fight against Ortiz if the New York State Athletic Commission didn’t delay the start of round 8 when they chose to check him out before letting the round start? Wilder was on weak legs when he walked over to meet with the Commission before the 8th started. The delay to the start of the 8th allowed Wilder extra time to clear his head and recover from being hurt by Ortiz in the previous round. The WBC made the right call in giving Ortiz another shot at getting a rematch with Wilder. If you look at the WBC’s top 15 ranking, there’s nobody in there that you can put above Ortiz. You certainly can’t have Tony Bellew ranked above Ortiz after being the shot David Haye for the second time. The WBC has Bellew ranked at No.6, which is a very generous ranking. I don’t think for a second that Bellew would beat many of the fighters ranked below him like #7 Johann Duhaupas, #8 Charles Martin, #9 Adam Kownacki, #10 Agit Kabyel, #11 Oscar Rivas, #12 Carlos Takam, and #14 Dereck Chisora.
Whyte should take the fight with Ortiz to show that he’s capable of beating a good heavyweight for the first time in his career, because right now the only good fighter that he’s ever beaten in Chisora. Whyte didn’t look like he deserved the win in that fight in my opinion. Whyte was given a 12 round split decision victory over Chisora in December 2016. I had Chisora winning 8 rounds to 4. Whyte fought well at times, but he kept getting rocked by Chisora. In three rounds, Whyte was badly hurt in that fight. If Whyte can beat Ortiz in style, he’ll have his first quality win in his career, and he’ll be able to make a case that he’s the second best heavyweight on the planet behind Joshua.
Whyte always says he’s willing to fight anybody in the heavyweight division, but ever since the WBC ordered him to fight Ortiz, he’s been bellyaching about it and sounding like a spoiled kid. It looks to me like Whyte doesn’t fancy his chances against Ortiz, so he’s ducking the fight. Oh well. I guess Whyte knows his limitations.