Deontay Wilder Puts Power on Display in Rematch with Luis Ortiz
After being down on many scorecards, WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder rallied with a spectacular knockout to retain his title on Saturday.
Updated: Nov. 24, 2019 • 8:50 AM ET
Deontay Wilder has yet to be defeated inside of a boxing ring.
America still has a heavyweight champion, and it’s time more of the country’s inhabitants take notice.
With a single punch, WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder knocked out Luis Ortiz in the seventh round of their rematch to retain the title on Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Despite many pundits having Wilder losing through six rounds, he proved once again that he’s the hardest puncher in the history of boxing’s heavyweight division.
In the seventh, Wilder devastated Ortiz with a picture-perfect right hand that sent Ortiz crashing to the canvas. The punch also thwarted skeptics’ hopes that Ortiz was the better boxer.
Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs) has now defended the WBC belt 10 times and set himself up for a rematch with lineal champion Tyson Fury in 2020. Wilder and Fury originally fought in December 2018 and despite two Wilder knockdowns of Fury in the fight, a narrative that arose from the bout is that Fury out-boxed Wilder and won on points. The fight was eventually ruled a draw and fans have clamored for a rematch ever since, especially after Wilder nearly finished Fury in the 12th round.
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The first Fury-Wilder fight was sugar-coated with Fury redemption stories that mainstream sports media force-fed hardcore and casual fans, which both sides gobbled up. Both fighters have two victories since their first meeting and are primed for the second showdown that boxing fans have waited for. The question now is, will more Americans finally gravitate to their champion before he and Fury partake in a rematch?
WBA, IBF, IBO and WBO champion Andy Ruiz Jr. is set for a rematch with former champion Anthony Joshua in December. Should Wilder defeat Fury in next year’s rematch, he’ll hopefully face the winner of Ruiz-Joshua 2 to finally unify the heavyweight titles, a situation that is long overdue.
Wilder, who has been bypassed for possible unification bouts in the past, has certainly let his hands do the talking. You’d have to look all the way back to the 1980s and Mike Tyson to find the last time there was such a dominant American heavyweight champion. Wilder, however, largely continues to be overlooked by mainstream media.
Nevertheless, the 34-year-old Wilder continues to finish fights and defy his critics. But at what point does credit for his success stop being about landing the right shot at the right time and become more about his ability to out-smart his opponents with patience and powerful counter-punching?
Twenty-twenty could represent one of the biggest years in boxing, as a Wilder vs. Fury rematch will likely happen with the winner possibly attempting to unify the belts later in the year.