Lennox Lewis analyzes Deontay Wilder’s knockout win over Luis Ortiz
By Allan Fox: Lennox Lewis agrees with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder’s decision making in taking his time and waiting to setup his 7th round knockout win over Luis Ortiz (31-2, 26 KOs) last Saturday night. Former unified heavyweight champion Lewis thinks it was a good idea for Wilder to wait until he saw an opening before going for the KO.
Although Lewis says he’d like to have seen Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs) be a little buiser, he thinks it didn’t matter that he was economical with his punches.
Lewis wasn’t worried that Wilder trailed Ortiz
“A lot of people were saying that Ortiz was leading on all three cards, and I was saying, ‘a fight is 12 rounds. He may be leading in the first half of the fight, but there’s still the second half of the fight to go,'” said Lennox Lewis to Boxing Social in talking about Wilder’s win over Ortiz. “And he actually did the right thing. He could have been a bit busier, but it really doesn’t matter as long as the end result is what he wanted.
“Now the world can actually see that he’s [Luis Ortiz] the boogeyman. People were staying away from him for such a long time, because he’s a good boxer, and because he’s a southpaw. I take off my hat to Deontay for giving him another chance, because Ortiz is not getting any younger and he boxed him at the right time. No, I think everybody wants to be the king of the hill, but if they don’t want to fight the best people up there, then they don’t get the respect,” said Lewis.
Wilder probably wanted to be busier, but Ortiz was fighting at full strength in the early going. Every time Wilder tried to land anything, Ortiz would nail him with shots. Ortiz would have hurt Wilder, and knocked him out if he’d gambled big in trying to get a quick stoppage.
Lewis rates Wilder as one of the hardest punchers ever
“Yeah, he definitely has got a crushing right hand. He’s knocked out the highest percentile in knockouts, and that’s what you’re supposed to do. You’re not supposed to play with your opponent. You’re supposed to get rid of them as fast as possible, and he’s got a knack for doing that. I don’t cross eras,” said Lewis when asked how he would compare Wilder’s power to the heavyweights that fought in his era. “All I can say is he’s among the top of all the eras,” said Lewis.
It’s impossible to know for sure if Deontay is the hardest puncher of all time. In some respects, Lewis was a better all around knockout puncher than Wilder, because he had a lot of different weapons to use to KO his opponents. Wilder is limited to just right hand. Lewis could knock guys out with his left hand, and uppercut.
Deontay needs to develop his punch arsenal
“Big statement,” said Lewis when asked what Wilder’s win over Ortiz means as he goes into his rematch with Tyson Fury in February. “You can’t negate his power. I think you have to respect it, and know that he has an unbelievable right hand and that’s what he’s been knocking everybody out with. For me, when I look at myself, I’m five dimensional. I can knock you out with uppercut and left hook or right hand. That’s what he needs to do. He needs to switch it up, because not everyone you can knockout with a right hand.
“If they know that’s your prime weapon, they’re going to be keeping their hands up for that. He’s going to learn the same thing as he did last time,” said Lewis about Fury’s trainer Ben Davison in what he learned from scouting Wilder last weekend. “Obviously, Deontay has got power. There’s nothing else really that he can learn. It’s the same Deontay with the same power. Maybe he lacks a little on the boxing side of the pedigree, but Tyson Fury and him will be an unbelievable fight,” said Lewis.
The main issue Lewis has with Wilder’s game is the way he’s become over reliant on his right hand to knock guys out. Lewis thinks Wilder would be a much better fighter if he developed other weapons that he could use to knock his opponents out besides just his right hand.
Is it too late for Wilder to improve his offense?
Lewis wants to see Wilder use his left hook and uppercut to knock guys out. Right now, those are underdeveloped tools in Wilder’s arsenal of punches, and it’s unclear whether he’ll ever become proficient with those punches. Wilder has been a professional for 11 years, and it’s not likely he’s going to improve his punch arsenal to any great extent at this point.
It’s not like his trainer Mark Breland hasn’t already tried to teach him now to throw other punches. He throws them, but they don’t have the same power as his right.
Wilder’s punch accuracy getting better – Lewis
“You’ve got the boxer vs. the puncher, so who do you pick? He’s pretty accurate,” Lennox said about Wilder’s punch accuracy improving. “I’ve seen Deontay move up with his experience, because Deontay started late. He’s a late bloomer like me. It’s good to see that Deontay is actually learning. At one time, you could say, ‘Why is he throwing those slapping shots?’ But you didn’t really see that slapping punch with his last punch [against Ortiz].
“That was a straight down the pipe punch. So, he’s obviously concentrating on getting better, and throwing straighter shots, and you could see it in the fight yesterday,” Lewis said in remarking about Wilder’s knockout punch of Ortiz. “It’s different fights. These guys box differently, so you’ve got to prepare for them mentally, and know what your game plan is ahead of time going in there. Hasim Rahman, I knew couldn’t out-box me, and I knew he wasn’t faster than me, and I knew he wasn’t stronger than me.
“I didn’t get a chance to show that in the first fight, but I showed it in the second fight. Tyson is a naturally really good boxer, so he’s got a lot of good qualities in the boxing aspect. But they [Team Wilder] came away from that fight knowing that Deontay has to box better, and Tyson Fury has to work on his power punches,” said Lewis.
Wilder looked like a much better fighter against Ortiz last Saturday than he did in his fight with Tyson Fury last December. In that fight, Wilder threw mostly windmill shots with his right hand, and Fury was able to evade them easily. Against Ortiz, Wilder was throwing his punches straight down the middle, which them harder for him to block. Even when Ortiz blocked them, his gloves were bouncing off his face
Wilder vs. Fury 2 – puncher vs. Boxer
“That’s a secret. I’m not telling anybody, but it would be a good fight,” said Lewis when asked how he would fight Fury. I think it’s going to be an unbelievable fight,” said Lewis about the Wilder vs. Fury rematch. “You’ve got the boxer [Fury] vs. the puncher [Wilder]. Some people are going to go for the boxer, and some for the power.
“I love those types of fights, where nobody really knows, and where it comes down to the crunch. Who makes that vital mistake in the fight, and who doesn’t? No predictions at this time, but I have to say right now, Deontay is looking good. I hope we see another undisputed heavyweight champion soon. I think you can say that everything is heading towards that. Pretty soon Deontay is going to run out of opponents, and he’s going to be crowned the undisputed maybe, if everything goes his way,” said Lewis.
Wilder won’t be able to be as patient against Tyson Fury as he was with the 6’3″ Ortiz, because he’s got the reach to hit him. Fury was attacking Wilder, and throwing a lot of punches.
Lewis understands that boxing is a business now
“In the beginning, I couldn’t understand why these big fights didn’t happen,” said Lewis. “I thought maybe these young heavyweights want to go out and make some money first before they take that big chance, and I don’t blame them. This is a sport where you make one mistake, and that’s it. So they’re making business move.
“For me, I didn’t think people would remember how much money I made. They’ll remember what I accomplished, and that’s what I was really going for. This is the era of Tyson Fury, Deontay, Andy Ruiz. Those are the top boxers right now, Obviously, there are other boxers that want to be on the top, and they’re working pretty hard to make a statement as well,” said Lewis.
This is a different era now with promoters treating the sport like a business, and choosing to only match their fighters against guys that they know they can beat. So with that kind of match-making, fighters like Ortiz are ignored and sidestepped.