Deontay Wilder vs Luis Ortiz Betting Preview : The Bronze Bomber is in for another long night
- Las Vegas
- 5am UK time
- Live on Sky Sports
The nightmarish year of heavyweight championship boxing continues on Saturday night in Las Vegas as Deontay Wilder (41-0-1) puts his WBC title on the line against Luis Ortiz (31-1) for a second time.
2019 started with three undefeated champions in the division, with Wilder and Tyson Fury coming off their classic draw in December and Anthony Joshua at the height of his powers after knocking out Alexander Povetkin in September. The only question seemed to be: which order will we get to see these three fight each other over the year. The answer, disappointingly, was none. Fury, Wilder and Joshua have all been kept apart for the entirety of 2019 in a display of everything that is bad with the promotion of boxing.
Instead we have had Joshua getting knocked out by Andy Ruiz, Fury slugging past a couple of European no-marks and Wilder looking comfortably the best with his sickening knockout of Dominic Breazeale in May. The Bronze Bomber’s rematch with Ortiz this weekend is just another roadblock in front of the potential mega fights ahead, but hopefully one that won’t cause another car crash for the division.
The first fight was very tight
Wilder and Ortiz first fought in March last year in what was the champion’s toughest bout of his career up till that point. Both were undefeated at the time and it was a real slug-fest with both men rocked and Wilder in as much trouble as he ever had been as a professional. Ultimately, the American’s power told and he put the Cuban away in the 10th, but it was far from an easy night at the office.
The Olympic medallist would go on to have an even tougher fight against Fury later in the year, escaping with a draw, so he was extremely relieved to get back to his diet of early knockouts by sparking Breazeale in the first.
Ortiz has actually fought three times since that loss to Wilder, but you would be forgiven for missing them as they were not exactly box office affairs. Knockout wins over Razvan Cojanu and Travis Kauffman and a points victory over Christian Hammer have not exactly been anything to write home about.
However, even at the grand old age of 40, the 6’4” southpaw is going to be a danger to the champion, especially given the shape he is in. They build them a special way in Cuba as Ortiz looks incredible for his age, reminiscent of the similarly ageing UFC star Yoel Romero.
To give an illustration of how close the first fight was, having completed nine rounds, all three judges had scored five to Wilder and four to Ortiz (85-84) so there was really very little in it, and we can expect a similar situation on Saturday.
By a similar situation, we can also expect a similar result. Wilder was the favourite in the first fight and the younger man by six years. While he found it tough, the taller, younger, quicker, more powerful man was ahead on the cards and scored a decisive knockout win. There is nothing to suggest that the 40-year-old Ortiz is now in a position to avenge that loss, other than his six-pack looks a bit more impressive.
There could be something of a surprise when it comes to the method of victory, though. Wilder knows full well how much of a handful Ortiz is, he also knows what is at stake in this contest. Lose and not only does his green belt go home with the Cuban, but so does his money-spinning fight with Fury which is set for February. Looking further ahead and any future clash with Joshua is also diminished by a loss to King Kong this weekend. There is a lot of money, shine and career-arc on the line in Sin City.
The knockout artist is always capable of taking consciousness away from his foe, but he is unlikely to go out chasing it in this fight. He is actually a better boxer than many give him credit for and has an excellent jab with his epic 83” reach. Way back in 2015 he used these skills to perfection to completely outbox Bermane Stiverne to win the title in the first place. He knew what he had to do when so much was on the line and he may well resort to this tactic again.
Ortiz will also be looking to move more than the last fight. He has felt Wilder’s power and given the immense shape he has turned up in, he is clearly looking to get about the ring and try to pick off points when he can. He may try to emulate Tyson Fury, although he will fail to do so.
Like only two of Wilder’s previous 42 fights, this one could go the full 12 rounds, and like only one before, we can expect the American to win over the distance. He will want to prove to Fury that he can box and take out the ageing Cuban over the full 12 without the highlight reel knockout, but with an even more impressive skill-set.
Smith to keep up his hot streak in Liverpool
Earlier in the evening on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, Callum Smith (26-0) will put his WBA and WBC Diamond super middleweight titles on the line against John Ryder (28-4) in Liverpool.
Smith is the unsung hero of British boxing, racking up a fantastic unbeaten record and now holding world title belts at 168lbs. He has not fought the very best competition, which is why he has flown under the radar, and Ryder is still not an elite for, but this should be the tee-up for the mega fight he has been after.
Ryder has revived his career after it looked to be in the doldrums in mid-2017 after a fourth defeat. However, four straight knockout wins has earned him this shot at Smith. Given the momentum he has picked up he will be confident, but it is a bridge to far for the Gorilla as Smith is a step up and would not have lost to any of the four men that put Ryder away, although Billy Joe Saunders may get to prove that wrong next year.
Ryder is tough and Smith will respect his power so will not be overly aggressive, but expect the champ to put the challenger away late on.
- Deontay Wilder has knocked out every man he has fought, except Tyson Fury
- Wilder has only gone the full 12 rounds twice
- Luis Ortiz has only gone 12 rounds once, in a tedious win over Malik Scott
- King Kong has knocked out 26 of his 31 opponents
- Ortiz has only been down in his career in the first fight with Wilder
- Wilder holds a 3 inch height and five inch reach advantage over Ortiz
- This is Wilder’s 11th straight world title fight
- Callum Smith has fought two world title fights and won both by knockout
- This is John Ryder’s first world title shot
- Smith holds a six inch height advantage over Ryder
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