By Barry Holbrook: WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder tied Muhammad Ali with his 10th consecutive tite defense against Luis Ortiz last Saturday night in Las Vegas. Wilder emerged as the winner with a 7th round knockout over a very determined Ortiz (31-2, 26 KOs), who battled him tooth and nail every second of the fight until being knocked out.
Wilder fights nothing like Ali though, but he still respects him a great deal. Deontay fights more like Cleveland Williams (80-13-1, 60 KOs) than he does Ali, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Williams was a very good fighter in the era of a young Ali, Sonny Liston and Floyd Patterson, among many others.
Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs) is shaking up the boxing world with his incredible knockout record. Only two fighters have been able to go the full 12 round distance against Wilder in Bermane Stiverne and Tyson Fury.
In his rematch with Stiverne in November 2017, Wilder destroyed him in a 1st round knockout. Wilder intends on knocking out Fury when he faces him next February.
Wilder happy to tie Muhammad Ali’s record for consecutive title defenses
“It feels amazing. Muhammad Ali is one of my idols,” said Wilder about him tying Ali’s record of 10 consecutive title defenses. “When I got into boxing, my manager Shelly Finkel gave me a VHS tape of 1 through 12 version of Muhammad Ali from start to finish. I used to watch it all the time. One thing I love about Muhammad Ali is what he did on the outside of the ring,” said Wilder.
“We knew he was great on the inside, but what he did on the outside was amazing. To speak up for his people, especially in those days and time. It took a very brave person to step up, and do that. It will always live with me in my heart,” said Wilder.
You can only imagine the type of fighter Wilder would be if he could fight like Ali. Even if could slightly fight like Ali, Wilder would be an amazing fighter, who would stand and shoulders above the other heavyweights.
These are the heavyweights that stand in front of Wilder for most consecutive world title defenses:
- Joe Louis – 26
- Larry Holmes – 19
- Wladimir Klitschko – 18
- Tommy Burns – 11
Luis Ortiz should be on TV – Wilder
“I had to strategically move with Ortiz. This is why I say he is the most dangerous heavyweight in the division, and you seen it tonight,” said Wilder. “I had to time myself, and calculate my punches and I had to make sure my feet were calculated in the right place.
And I could see he was doing the same thing in the ring as well, and it was definitely a tug-a-war. I don’t know if it was problems or him strategizing. His boxing skills are so amazing. That’s why I was happy to be a champion, I was happy to be able to bless him again. A fighter like that should be on TV.
“He’s must see TV with all the heavyweights. Like I said, no one wants to fight him. What can I say? He’s an amazing fighter. I’m just so happy I was able to share it with him in the ring. It’s amazing to hit a guy in the forehead like that instead of the chin, and see him fall. I learn something every time. Win, lose or draw, I learn something from it, and that’s what you want as a fighter,” said Wilder.
Deontay said he wanted to give the 40-year-old southpaw Ortiz a second fight with him, because he admired his talent, and he didn’t like how he was avoided. The top heavyweights like Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua choose to steer around Ortiz rather than mixing it up with him.
Despite being one of the most talented fighters in the division, Ortiz was ignored by the more popular heavyweights until Wilder gave him a chance. If not for Wilder, Ortiz would still be waiting around for a big fight.
Wilder ready for Tyson Fury rematch
“Me being a champion, you want to learn something each fight, and I started this game very late, being a professional, and I’m still learning,” said Wilder. “I never want to say I’m not learning no more, because I would get disinterested in the sport, and I wouldn’t want to do it no more. My training would be the same.
“So I would like to learn, and continue to learn. It keeps it exciting for me, it keeps it fresh for me, and I display my talent each and every time. I really don’t get credit for my intellect in the ring, which is okay. I’m ready for that,” said Wilder in talking about him making a quick turnaround to fight Tyson Fury on February 22.
“When I was coming up in the rankings, I used to fight six times a year. So it feels kind of good to keep going, and what is going to be beneficial for me is I just got out of the ring, and I just got out of camp. So I’ve got a lot of traveling to do in the next couple of weeks,” said Wilder.
Deontay has very little time to rest in between his rematch with Tyson Fury on February 22, and hopefully that doesn’t hurt his performance. Wilder says he’ll be taking the next two weeks off traveling before comes back and starts training camp for his rematch with Fury.
Wilder open to fighting Joshua vs. Ruiz 2 winner next if Fury gets injured
“I’ve got this whole half month or so for December, and then I’m back in camp in January,” said Wilder. “I think that’s going to be very beneficial for me, because I’m still in shape. I’m in shape on top of shape. Fury is in trouble.
“The only way I could do that is if something happened to Fury, if he cut his eye open again. Hint, hint,” said Wilder when asked if he would potentially face the winner of the Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz Jr. rematch next instead of Fury.
“Other than that, I want my rematch with Fury. It a very controversial fight. Many people got it going different ways. I want to clear the air with that, and then fight Ortiz. I think that’s the approach we’re taking, and that’s what’s going to happen. But who knows?
“This is boxing, and we know in boxing, anything can happen. We can have things planned to go one way, and then it goes another way. If the rematch [with Fury] doesn’t happen in a timely manner, then I would love to have Ruiz for one face, one name,” said Wilder.
Fury could get injured training for Wilder rematch
One can’t rule out Fury getting injured during training camp, and needing to postpone his February 22 rematch with Wilder. Fury suffered a cut that required 46 stitches in his last fight against Otto Wallin, and it’s possible that he won’t make it through training camp without being opened again.
If Fury pulls out of the Wilder fight, then that’ll open up the possibility of the Bronze Bomber taking on the winner of the Joshua vs. Ruiz 2 fight next. Of course, that’ll depend on which of the two wins the fight. If Joshua wins the fight, it’s unlikely Wilder will have because of the problems trying to negotiate the match.
Deontay just wanted to have fun
“My body feels amazing. I wasn’t tired at all,” said Wilder. “I’m in shape. Coming off my last fight [with Ortiz] and having the flu, and this time. It was an amazing experience. I knew I was going to have fun in there. And I didn’t want to think about how dangerous he was, and how smart he was in the ring. I just wanted to have fun.
“This time around, it was exciting in fighting on Fox Pay-Per-View. It was my first Fox Pay-Per-View. It was an amazing crowd, the atmosphere was amazing from then to now. When you have it like this, and have so many Bomb Squad fans, how can you be down?” said Wilder.
It looked like Wilder was having fun out there with Luis Ortiz last Saturday night, as he wasn’t stressed out. Wilder fought in a relaxed manner the whole time, and that made the fight interesting to watch.
It made a difference in the rematch that Wilder wasn’t sick with the flu like he was in his first fight with the Cuban talent last year. Being healthy enabled Wilder to relax more, and have fun.
Wilder knew he had to soften up Ortiz first – Lennox Lewis
“It wasn’t easy. Luis Ortiz is the boogie man, and a lot of people stay away from him,” said Lennox Lewis to PBC on Fox in analyzing Wilder’s win over King Kong Ortiz. “Imagine if this fight was six years ago when Luis Ortiz was a little bit younger, but he tried his best today, but Deontay showed his power, showed his strength and showed he’s getting a lot wiser in the ring, and knows how to figure people out.
“He knows he needs to soften them up first, and then take them out, not just go out there and take them out,” said Lewis about Wilder. “He’s a great person, he’s always confident, and he’s always learning, and he knows he needs to go back to the gym and learn more. You never stop learning in boxing. So you can’t say you know everything.
“This is what I wanted to do when I was boxing; get rid of all the misfits, and there would be only one champion. That’s what’s happening. He’s doing the same thing, and that’s what needs to be done. Ortiz had to get it going early. He couldn’t sit back and wait. The last fight, he smelled it. He was close,” said Lewis.
Lennox believes that Wilder intentionally took things slow with Ortiz in order to soften him up before taking him out in the 7th, but that’s probably not the case. Wilder to land his right hand bomb in round 1, and he got countered with hard lefts from Ortiz each time. After that round, Wilder into a shell, and didn’t take any chances until the 7th.