Preview: Deontay Wilder holds bad intentions, Luis Ortiz is better prepared
Deontay Wilder harbors serious intentions to destroy as the WBC heavyweight champion returns to the scene of first world title triumph.
Beating Bermane Stiverne in January 2015 at the MGM Grand seems a distant memory as Wilder prepares for his tenth defense of the green and gold strap.
But does his repeat win over Stiverne in 2017 give a big clue as to what may happen in his rematch with Luis Ortiz?
The first man to go past four rounds with him, Stiverne went the full twelve as Wilder played it safe on the biggest night of his career.
Fast forward those 34 months and Wilder was a different animal altogether when facing Stiverne a second time.
Wilder blasted out Stiverne in a round, utterly destroying Haitian as his crumpled to the canvas.
It’s already been admitted by the American he plans to do the same against Ortiz on Saturday night.
Pushed for a prediction, I’d go for Wilder to win within five rounds. But those who know Ortiz well are pointing out the preparation comparison.
Ortiz is in the shape of his life and has had far longer than the five weeks he had for the initial battle in March 2018.
At that time, ‘King Kong’ almost took Wilder out in the mid-rounds. There a many voices predicting finalization of that initial assault this time around.
Meanwhile, Wilder admits he’s taking a risk when he meets his rival in Las Vegas.
The WBC champion, who looks to make a successful tenth defense of his title, previously fought in Ortiz in 2018 and got rocked during the bout before an emphatically taking the Cuban out in round 10.
With 40 KOs from 42 fights, as it stands Wilder has the biggest knockout ratio of all-time in the heavyweight division with 95%.
The heavyweight division is alive and kicking with Wilder expected to commence battle in another rematch if he comes through Ortiz. The man waiting in the wings is none other than the ‘Gypsy King’ Tyson Fury. The rivals are scheduled to go to war in February.
Ortiz, on the other hand, has bounced back since his first defeat to the ‘Bronze Bomber’ with routine victories over Razvan Cojanu, Travis Kauffman and Christian Hammer.
Elsewhere in the red-hot division, Anthony Joshua looks for revenge against Andy Ruiz Jr. in a highly-anticipated rematch while Oleksandr Usyk recently made his debut at the weight.
Wilder has insisted he is more than happy to give Ortiz a second chance seeing as no other top-rated fighter wants a piece of the dangerous southpaw.
“I’m the best in the world and I say it with confidence. With that being said, I have to give the fans what they’re hungry for. That’s exciting fights.
“The heavyweight division was in a dark place, but now it’s on fire and I must keep it going.
“Luis Ortiz is one of the best in the world and one of the most dangerous men in boxing. No one in the top 10 has given him an opportunity.
“They say he’s old, but if that’s the truth, then one of them should get in there with him.
“When I look at the landscape of the heavyweight division, this man still wasn’t getting an opportunity.
“It was an amazing fight the first time and I’m going to make adjustments this time. That’s what it’s all about. I will be at my best Saturday night.
“I’d rather go through difficulty in the ring than go through my whole career being perfect. What kind of legacy would I have? I want to give you something to remember me by.
“Luis Ortiz looks good, but I don’t think it’s going to matter against a fighter like me. I’m in shape 365 days a year. I come to camp in shape.
“The first day of camp, we were sparring. It’s always good to see my opponents in shape and prepared properly for a war.
“That’s all I can ask. Because they know what they’re in for when they go against me.”
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News and an Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay