Ortiz: I was clearly winning against Wilder
By Dan Ambrose: Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz (31-2, 26 KOs) was frustrated and deeply upset last Saturday night with his fight against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs) being stopped in the 7th round after he was knocked down at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ortiz, 40, was ahead on the scorecards 58-56, 59-55, 59-55.
Ortiz was on cruise control until Wilder tagged him with a straight right in the 7th that separated him from his senses, sending him down backfirst onto the canvas. The referee showed patience in not stopping it right away, because Ortiz was able to climb off the deck to a standing position to seemingly beat the count.
Ortiz: I was winning
“This was a great fight and I thought I was clearly winning,” said Ortiz. “I got caught with a big shot and I have to give Deontay Wilder a lot of credit. And I knew my movement was giving him problems. I landed some big shots and I thought I had him hurt.”
The fight showed that anyone that faces Wilder MUST be perfect for the full 36 minutes in order to defeat him. One slip up on defense, and it’s all over. Ortiz was pitching a virtual shutout over Wilder with his boxing skills, movement and sharp left hands. He wasn’t giving Wilder many opportunities to land his right hand.
This fight was more of a tactical match than the slug-fest that many boxing fans had it expected it to be, and the reason for that is both guys had respect for each other. Ortiz DID hurt Wilder several instances in the fight, but he was buzzed and not in bad shape. In the 7th, Ortiz landed a left hand that slightly wobbled Wilder. His legs went for a brief second, but he recovered well and used movement to escape.
Wilder landed only 9% of his punches
It was never going to be possible for Ortiz to avoid getting hit hard by Wilder’s right hand. Ortiz’s only hope was to try and limit Wilder’s punch output. Ortiz was doing a good job of that, since Wilder landed only 34 of 184 total punches thrown for an anemic 9% connect percentage.
Ortiz landed 20% of his shots in connecting on 35 of 179 thrown, and he had few problems landing his left hand. When Ortiz did land his bread & butter punch, it didn’t do anything to Wilder. He took the shots well without getting buzzed, and reacting in the way he did in their first fight.
Ortiz thought he beat the count
“I thought I was up by the count and could have continued,” said Ortiz. “I was clear headed when I hit the canvas. When I heard the referee say seven I was trying to get up, but I guess the count went a little quicker than I thought.
Ortiz felt that he’d gotten up in plenty of time to beat the count, but referee Kenny Bayless halted the fight.
It looked like Ortiz got up just as Bayless had reached the count of 10. He could have given Ortiz the benefit of the doubt, and allowed him to continue. He didn’t do that. Referees often will let a fight continue when a fighter gets up just at the count of 10, but Bayless was playing it conservatively in stopping it. He might have recognized that Ortiz was too hurt, and wouldn’t have been able to fend off Wilder.
It’s easy to imagine what Wilder would have done had the fight continued. He likely would have attacked Ortiz with windmill punches with both arms, and flailed on him until he dropped. Wilder is vulnerable when he fights like that, but his opponents are normally too hurt for them to take advantage of his wild attacks.
‘King Kong Ortiz – My career is NOT over
“My career is not over. I’m going to work my way back into a big fight,” said Ortiz.
Whether the Ortiz is 40-years-old is able to come back from this loss to get another world title shot will depend on a lot of things.
These are the things that will factor into Ortiz getting another crack at a world title:
- Rankings: For Ortiz to get another title shot, he’ll need for the World Boxing Council to keep him ranked high in the top 5 at least. If he’s dropped lower to the 10 spot or below, it’ll be tough for him to work his way back to a mandatory position
- Getting the fights: Ortiz will need to beat top contenders for him to get ranked quickly, and that might prove to be difficult. He’s been avoided since he turned professional in 2010, and that probably won’t change despite him losing to Wilder again. Premier Boxing Champions can possibly set Ortiz up with fights against top contenders, but that remains to be seen. A lot of the top heavyweights in the division are signed with Matchroom and Top Rank, and those companies likely won’t want to risk putting their fighters in with Ortiz
- Staying active: Ortiz will be getting close to $7 million for the Wilder fight, and with that kind of a payday, it might cause him stay inactive for a while. To get another title shot, Ortiz must very busy because he’s not going to get pushed up the rankings if he fights once a year or if he takes a long break to enjoy the money he made.
- Winning: Above all, Ortiz has all of his fights in the next year or two for him to earn a mandatory spot. Wilder already has 2 mandatory challengers in Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte. Since Wilder only fights one mandatory per year, Ortiz could be looking at 2022 before he gets another world title shot. Ortiz will be 43-years-old by then. Older fighters than that have gotten world title shots, but it’s still going to be very difficult for Ortiz to accomplish that.