Deontay Wilder vs Luis Ortiz
WBC heavyweight world champion, Alabama's Deontay Wilder, takes on his toughest opponent yet, as he is challenged by awkward, hard hitting Cuban, Luis Ortiz.
Wilder is a favourite, but some predict he will lose, and most, do not think the win will come easily.
The fight begins at a tentative pace, Wilder feinting, Ortiz, trying to bully the champion.
No punches are really thrown, very few are landed, for 3 negative, eye gripping rounds, Ortiz, landing the occasional power shot, hitting Wilder with a couple of lefts to the ribcage. Wilder hits Ortiz with a clean, sharp jab in the second, but is otherwise, without punches landed in the first 3 rounds.
The fight becomes more interesting in round 4, as Wilder begins to take a few more chances, he starts the round well, lands a good shot, but a controlled, and still bulldog like Ortiz is able to back him up, land some good shots of his own, at times, he has Wilder trapped in a corner, and struggling to block punches in bunches coming from the challenger, who seems to be winning the fight.
The fight continues to be interesting in round 5, and at the end of the round, it becomes more entertaining, as Wilder lands 2 clean right hands to the head of Ortiz, putting him on the canvas. Ortiz is hurt, but not out on his feet, and has a full minute to recover, but Wilder makes his first real breakthrough in the fight with the knockdown.
The champion is growing in confidence as he is able to have better control of the ring in the next round, Ortiz struggles to find good opportunities to let shots go without running into danger, and Wilder is able to pick Ortiz off with a couple of good straight shots.
Wilder seems to believe he is hurting a seemingly tiring Ortiz, and near the end of the seventh, after a couple of tentative minutes, Wilder goes on the offensive, lands some good shots, seems to have Ortiz where he wants him, but it is apparent that Ortiz is far from finished, as Wilder, walks into a lethal counter from Ortiz, Wilder is badly hurt, and Ortiz capitalises, batters the champion in a corner. For a long 40 seconds for Deontay Wilder, Ortiz does everything but knock the champion off his feet, as Wilder, without his legs, and fighting on fitness, courage, withstands heavy punishment, takes a brutal beating.
It seems as if Wilder is about to get stopped, but it is also clear that a 38 year old Ortiz, who has just thrown the kitchen sink at Wilder, is exhausted, and possibly unable to repeat his fantastic round of dominance.
For two nothing rounds, nobody can take their eyes off their screens, Ortiz, spent, Wilder, still not fully recovered, and wary of the risk of his opponent. Ortiz seems to steal the submissive eighth by landing more than nothing, and although very tired, doing a good job of not giving Wilder any big openings. Wilder responds by stealing the ninth, a narrow round, but Wilder, regaining confidence, in another nothing round, manages to land a few clean shots against a gassed Ortiz, and he throws them at the right time, at least, until he hits Ortiz after the bell and is warned by the referee.
The fight changes in round 10, as the champion, determined, gutsy, has found a second wind, and has fully recovered from the 7th round crisis he endured, and Ortiz can throw little, any punches he can produce only give Wilder more of a target. As an exhausted Ortiz tries to walk Wilder down, Wilder, off the back foot, lands a clean, brilliant right hand which badly hurts Ortiz, and he goes for the finish the split second he sees Ortiz is hurt. Ortiz is rocked, staying up on toughness, and after 4 smashing left hook/right hands flush on the chin, he falls down heavily, in agony, struggles for breath, but shows a warrior's heart, rises to his feet, only for Wilder to resume his attack, land a couple of crushing shots, which causes a defenceless, vulnerable Ortiz to hit the deck again, heavily, and referee David Fields, quite rightly, to call a halt to the contest.
Deontay Wilder achieves his best career win, makes a statement, comes through a torrid time, has a war, and wins it, defending his title, and proving himself. Wilder gives a very sportsman like post fight interview, he praises his outspoken opponent, who is gracious in defeat, but quite understandably devastated.
Interestingly, although most believe Ortiz was ahead in the fight, all three judges' scorecards read, 85-84 in favour of Deontay Wilder.