Lennox Lewis analyzes Wilder vs. Ortiz 2 rematch: Picks the puncher Deontay
By Sean Jones: Former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis views this Saturday’s rematch between Luis Ortiz and Deontay Wilder as one either guy has the weaponry to win when they battle on Fox Sports ppv at 9:00 p.m., ET.
Ortiz’s physical conditioning won’t improve his punch resistance
Lewis notes that Ortiz (31-1, 26 KOs) is looking in better physical shape than he was for his previous fight with Wilder, and he feels this could be a factor in the fight. However, Lewis questions Ortiz’s ability to take Wilder’s punching power.
He says it doesn’t matter that Ortiz is in top shape, because if he can’t stand up to Wilder’s power, he’ll lose just like last time. Lewis rates Ortiz’s punch resistance as inadequate for the job.
Lennox thinks the 40-year-old Ortiz concusses easily. WIth that said, Lewis still thinks Ortiz has a chance of winning if he can land one of his big shots, and finish Wilder before he gets a chance to hit him with one of his big right hands.
Ortiz has to watchout for Wilder’s right hand – Lewis
“He definitely has to watch out for Deontay’s right hand, and he needs to keep his chin down,” said Lennox Lewis to Fighthub in analyzing the Wilder vs. Ortiz fight. “But he’s going in there with the belief that he wasn’t 100 percent for the first fight. So in the second fight, he should be a lot better, because he’s worked, he’s sacrificed and he knows what to do. Yeah, he does.
“He’s coming from an extensive amateur career, and he’s got that natural rhythm in his body. But being able to absorb shots is a lot different than being able to give shots. If you look at his last two opponents, yeah, they were big guys like Deontay, but they weren’t nothing like Deontay. You know, Deontay is a different kettle of fish,” said Lewis
Ortiz has fought three times since his loss to Wilder last year. None of the three are anywhere close to having the kind of power, size and talent that Wilder has going for him. Lewis says he saw Ortiz get hurt by a shot from Christian Hammer in the 2nd round of their fight last March.
Hammer was taking a lot of punches from Ortiz, but he was hitting him back occasionally with nice shots. However, Hammer isn’t a big puncher like Wilder, and Ortiz was able to take the punches well.
Ortiz weighed 238 lbs for the Hammer fight, and that’s 2 lbs. heavier than the 236 lbs. that he weighed in on Friday for the Wilder rematch. It wasn’t a great performance by Ortiz. He won, but he looked tired much of the time, and he wasn’t able to hurt Hammer. It didn’t matter that Hammer wasn’t the biggest puncher. Ortiz was bothered by his shots.
Wilder learned from Tyson Fury fight
“This man is 6’7″, lanky, and throws somewhat wild punches sometimes,” said Lewis. “As far as Deontay is concerned, he gained by fighting Tyson Fury. That’s someone that he needed to fight. It’s somebody that boxes a little better than him. When you box someone better than you, you learn. He’s learning as he comes along. His next fight that comes along is [Dominic] Breazeale.
“He can’t prove what he learned because Breazeale didn’t give him back a good fight. So how does he prove it? He proves it against Ortiz. He’s the one that he needs to prove it against to show what he’s learned in the past couple of fights since Tyson Fury,” said Lewis.
It’s still too early to know if Wilder learned from the Tyson Fury fight, considering that he’s not fought anyone talented since. Wilder has fought once since his fight with Fury, and that was against Dominic Breazeale, who stopped in the 1st round last May.
Breazeale didn’t use any of the head or body movement that Fury used to confuse Wilder last December. Breazeale was nothing like Wilder, so he didn’t get a chance to show if he’d learned from the Fury fight. The chances are high that Wilder is the same fighter that fought Fury.
The only real difference is Wilder is seven pounds heavier now at 219 lbs than he weighed for the Fury fight. Deontay as only 212 lbs for that fight, and he was giving away too much weight against the 256 lb. Fury.
Deontay has to box Ortiz
“This is what I aim to see to see him going out there and boxing, and being light on his feet,” said Lewis about Wilder. “Stop standing in one position. Getting that jab working. That’s what we want to see, and doing some more boxing. Even in the Ortiz fight, he learned how to deal with a southpaw. There aren’t too many southpaws in the heavyweight division right now.
“Ortiz is one of the top ones out there. To box a southpaw, and to do what he did to Ortiz, is good. Even to survive the 7th round, it shows that he’s a champion, and a warrior. He exudes confidence when he goes out there. That’s what he needs.
“As far as Ortiz, he lost. He needs to psych himself up, and say, ‘I can’t let this guy knock me out again. I was the better boxer. I’ve got to capitalize on my boxing. I’ve got to box this guy,” said Lewis.
If Deontay can out-box a skilled fighter like Ortiz, it would be a surprise, because he wasn’t doing that a year ago. Ortiz was out-boxing Wilder, and countering him. The fight was still close though going into the 10th round, but Wilder wasn’t doing a great job of boxing. He didn’t use his jab often, and his left hook looked like an arm punch.
Wilder isn’t able to get leverage on his left hooks. The only time Wilder is dangerous with his left hand is when he starts windmilling his punches. The shots come from such a wide angle that it catches his opponents in areas of their head where they’re vulnerable.
Lewis: Ortiz needs to take advantage of this second opportunity
“He can’t box as well as I can. I had him hurt, and I can do it again,” said Lewis in talking about Ortiz’s advantage over Wilder. “That’s what brought Ortiz into the fight. Feeling he can do it, and feeling more confident than in the last fight. He’s got another opportunity. He’s got two opportunities at it.
“You’d better make it count. If he can’t beat Deontay, I’m not saying it’s going to be his last fight, but he was almost there. He was within touching distance of the championship. That’s what’s helped him in the training. He knows it only takes one punch. He knows he wasn’t in tip top shape like he should have been,” said Lewis.
Lennox is being kind by not saying this is Ortiz’s last chance to fight for a world title, because it probably is. At 40, Ortiz will likely age out before he can earn another title shot. It might take Ortiz another 3 to 4 years to get another title shot, and he’ll be too old by that point.
If Ortiz hurts Wilder like he did in the 7th round last year, he’s got to do a better job of going after him to finish the job. He can’t let Wilder off the hook this time like he did in the first fight, because he’s not going to get blessed a third time. The boxing public won’t want to see a third fight between them, and Wilder wouldn’t dare try making that fight. No matter how much Wilder likes Ortiz, he can’t fight him again.
Wilder knows what to expect from Ortiz
“It will be a repeat of the first fight, because they both know each other,” said Lewis in predicting Wilder and Ortiz will have a similar fight as the first one. “They both know each other’s movements, and I believe Deontay is going to get his movement a lot quicker. It’s not as if he hasn’t boxed this guy before. So he knows what to expect, and he knows he can take him out with one punch.
“The idea for him is not to go right hand crazy. Get that jab moving, show him different looks, and get that hook going. Get that uppercut going. That right hand should be the last one on his mind. He can’t go out there trying to throw that left-fight. Obviously, Ortiz is looking for it, because that’s Deontay’s best punch.
“So he’s got to disguise the run up to it. Ortiz has got to box. He’s got to make up the space of those long arms, and long legs. Ortiz has got to take advantage of his history of boxing. This guy started boxing at an early age. He has a history of fights and sparring. He needs to grab all that together, and bring that out into this fight,” said Lewis.
Ortiz is a counter puncher, so the only thing Wilder can expect is to be hit back immediately whenever he throws a punch. Wilder has got to be careful, because Ortiz will be timing him to connect with a left or right counter. Ortiz hurt Wilder in the 7th round with a counter right hand, and he wasn’t able to land anything clean after that to stop Wilder.
Ortiz gets concussed easy – Lewis
“Deontay doesn’t have that much experience,” said Lewis. “He has the power, but let me kill him on the experience aspect. Get some inside fighter. If he doesn’t want to inside fight, and he wants to hold, get the referee to warn him for holding. Go to the body. I’ve seen Ortiz throw some good combinations in his last two fights, and he’s working the body. He [Ortiz] gets concussed easy.
“It’s hard to build up anything against that. What are you supposed to do? Wear head gear? Ortiz was boxing good, and he caught him, but he wasn’t able to take him out. Why is that?
“He says because he wasn’t in good shape. Now if he was in good shape, maybe he could have taken him out, and we’d be talking about something different right now. But the fact remains that Deontay was able to weather the storm, and come back with his strong punches,” said Lewis.
Ortiz has got to keep his hands up, and look to land his left straight down the middle to knockout Wilder. In Ortiz’s last fight, he hurt Hammer multiple times with his straight left, but the German fighter was able to survive.
Hammer was on the outside most of the time, moving, and throwing only single shots. This limited the ability for Ortiz to land his counters. So he was forced to lead against Hammer, and he’s not good at being first. It was a smart game plan by Hammer. He knew how to not get knocked out, and he followed the game plan well.
Ortiz is at 100% conditioning for Wilder rematch
“Ortiz wasn’t able to weather the storm,” said Lewis. “He got knocked down twice. He didn’t seem like he was ready for that second knockdown that he went through, and that’s what Deontay was able to do. Deontay has got that killer instinct. He’s able to take out people when he smells that blood. I was picking the boxer, but the power puncher came through.
“You can lose every round, but if you get knocked out in the last round, what good does boxing do? So you’ve got to have that balance of both. Who wins the fight? This time I have to go with the puncher, because I know the boxer gets concussed easy.
“Psychologically, he felt that he wasn’t in great shape. So he’s gotten himself in great shape. Now that gives him better confidence going in know he wasn’t in good [shape]. He was 50% for the first fight, but he hurt the guy, but he wasn’t able to take him out. Now he’s at 100%, so now if he hurts the guy, he might be able to take the guy out,” said Lewis.
There’s no excuses this time for Ortiz if he loses. He’s at 100% now in terms of his conditioning, and there’s no reason why he can’t win if he can hurt Wilder. If Ortiz’s stamina gives out on him in the rematch on Saturday, then you have to view this as a permanent problem for him.