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 the 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 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.
Mark Breland tells Wilder to keep the jab in Ortiz's face and stay off the ropes. Wilder is clearly not fully recovered after the minute, but Ortiz seems to have punched himself out, and Wilder is able to keep him off by doing as his trainer told him, Ortiz is still aggressive, but is lethargic, misses whenever he commits, is unable to pin a recovering Wilder down, and fails to generate the same power he did earlier in the fight, when he does land clean.
Wilder seems to have recovered in round 9, but is very cautious, Ortiz is still exhausted, and unable to force the fight, and Wilder seems to hurt Ortiz slightly at the end of a narrow round.
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, perfectly timed, 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 a smashing left hook, a couple of crushing overhand rights, 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 more 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.