Prior to the first of two big heavyweight title bouts in March, Showtime boss Stephen Espinoza discussed the undercard for Deontay Wilder v Luis Ortiz this weekend and the network-televised clash between Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker on March 31.
Espinoza predicted an entertaining headliner between Wilder and Ortiz, which will be accompanied by a stellar undercard of exciting match-ups.
“These are three fights which could have been a main event in their own right. Andre Dirrell and José Uzcategui, this is a rematch of a really good fight that was a little bit overshadowed by the controversial unfortunate event that happened afterward. The fight itself was a Fight of the Year candidate,” said Espinoza.
“Jermall Charlo and Hugo Centeno are two young guys in the primes of their career with only one loss between them, an interim title fight as well, and then the big one, Wilder vs. Ortiz. When we announced our first half of the year schedule, which was a loaded schedule with 11 different events and 13 world title fights, I think this fight Wilder vs. Ortiz was really the marquee matchup. Not just because of the heavyweights but because it’s such a well-matched fight.
“Deontay is making his seventh and arguably his most-difficult defense of his WBC heavyweight title. It is the closest betting odds for a Wilder fight since he won the title in January of 2015, and deservedly so. Luis Ortiz is probably the division’s most-avoided fighter, a great power-puncher, a lefty, very skilled boxer and a matchup of two of the four top heavyweights in the world.
“In fact, in March we will be featuring all four of the top four heavyweights in the world and all four of the major world titles: Wilder/Ortiz on March 3, bookended later by Joshua vs. Parker on March 31.
“Between those two fights we will be featuring all four of the best heavyweights in the world, all four world championships and a combined record among those four fighters of 111 wins, 0 losses, 100 knockouts.
“Between the two of these guys in our main event by itself, we have 67 total fights with 62 of those ending in knockout.
“We have a thrilling schedule for the first half of the year, a great slate of two heavyweight title fights, and I think the marquee matchup of the first half of the year, the fight everyone’s looking forward to, Wilder vs. Ortiz,” he added.