Thursday, March 22, 2018  |


Deontay Wilder wants respect with title defense vs. boogeyman Luis Ortiz

Photo / Ryan Hafey-Premier Boxing Champions


NEW YORK – Deontay Wilder owns one-punch power, an Olympic bronze medal and the first heavyweight world title of any American since Shannon Briggs. He’s just missing one thing: respect.

That doesn’t come easily in boxing, especially when you’re seen as a protected fighter, a man handed easy defenses as he continues to develop his skills.

Wilder (38-0, 37 knockouts) can hush the haters — and Twitter trolls — with one victory. And he’ll get his chance when he meets the heavyweight division’s most feared opponent, Cuban southpaw Luis Ortiz, on November 4 in Brooklyn.

“I’ve been tired of hearing people blather, running their mouth on the internet,” said Wilder, THE RING’s No. 2 heavyweight. “It’s about to be crazy. We about to take over.

“I am the best. I am the toughest. I am the man in the division. I don’t care what anybody else has going on. You’ve got to come through me.”

Anthony Joshua, THE RING’s No. 1 heavyweight, might disagree with that assertion but that’s OK. If Wilder takes care of business, a superfight between the two massive punchers will move to the front burner of most-anticipated fights in boxing.

First things first, though.

On Wednesday, promoter Lou DiBella and Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza joined Wilder and manager Jay Deas on the sunny rooftop of Manhattan’s Dream Hotel to hype the Barclays Center card that will air on Showtime. Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs) and his manager, stranded in Miami because of inclement weather, phoned in.

After a moment of silence for the passing of the great Jake LaMotta, Dibella promised the packed room of boxing insiders a throwback to the golden era of classic heavyweight clashes.

“This is a legacy move,” Dibella said. “This fight is happening because Deontay Wilder wants the world to know that he is afraid of no one, and that he’s prepared to fight anyone, and he’s the best heavyweight in the world today. I could not be prouder of him for making this fight happen.”

This will be the 31-year-old Wilder’s sixth defense of his WBC belt. In order to make the fight happen, mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne, whose belt Wilder took in 2015, was paid a step-aside fee. Stiverne will face 2012 U.S. Olympian Dominick Breazeale on the undercard.

Ortiz, with more than 350 amateur fights representing Cuba, radiated calm as he spoke over the phone, ribbing Wilder for flubbing the fight date in his opening remarks.

“He’s doing a lot of talking,” Ortiz said through a translator. “He sounds nervous. He keeps forgetting the date of the fight. I think he took this fight because he has no choice and no one else to fight.

“He’s not a bad boxer or a bum. He wouldn’t be in this position if he was, but this time he fucked up. I think he is going to run in this fight. I think he is going to embarrass himself.”

When Wilder heard that, he stood back up and took the mic. Someone in the crowd yelled, “Bomb squad,” Wilder’s trademark slogan and a reference to his dynamite right hand.

Wilder grinned, all 6-foot-7 of him gleaming with gold and Versace. He thanked God and Showtime.

He riffed on Ortiz’s nickname in his Alabama twang: “If he’s the boogeyman, I can’t wait to shine a light on him because the boogeyman is only effective at night. And we’re in New York, so you already know what happened to King Kong in New York.”

Wilder cautioned Ortiz, 38, about staying clean. Ortiz’s 2014 stoppage of Lateef Kayode was ruled a no-contest after Ortiz tested positive for PEDs, and Wilder’s own scheduled defense against Alexander Povetkin was called off at the eleventh hour when Povetkin failed a drug test.

“It definitely won’t go the distance,” promised Wilder. “I’m thinking about three rounds. But it might be the first. And when I do defeat him, when I do knock him out, I want my well-earned, due respect. You’ve got an American champion right here.”

Wilder is beloved in his native Tuscaloosa. He gives back to the local community, particularly children’s charities, as his own daughter’s struggles with spina bifida were what drove him to embrace a career as a fighter, one of the toughest careers there is.

“People don’t see the hard work that goes into a fight,” said Wilder. “They don’t know how hard it is to get yourself motivated to get in that ring. But that’s me. I come to fight. I’ll fight you any time, with a broken hand, with third-degree burns. That’s just the type of fighter I am.”

If Wilder’s prediction comes to fruition, soon enough, everyone will respect the type of fighter he is, too.

  • jebib

    This is a tough one for me as I’m fond of both fighters. But in my opinion a win for Wilder either by knockout or a 12 round beatdown (no smelly decision) will give him the cred he craves.

    • Fist_ti_cuffs

      All of his fights end decisively.

      • ceylon mooney

        i see a wilder with a cautious/conservative but decisive UD

        • Arjay Cee

          Deontay may have marinated this one just long enough for Ortiz’s superior boxing to no longer matter — due to age. At 38, or 50, or whatever he truly is, Luis has forgotten more about boxing than Deontay ever learned.

          Too bad this fight didn’t happen two years ago. I have to lean toward your view, Ceylon, though I would have picked Ortiz as recently as last year.

          • Stephen M

            Agree. Ortiz has been looking very old. I wish we had seen him at age 30.

          • ceylon mooney

            yea, ortiz got some boxing ability and skill deontay will never match. even a year or 2 ago, id still have a tough time pickin ortiz. i just dont think his superior boxing would have mattered 2 years ago neither.

            fighting him conservatively really counts against you–the jab and 1-2 are surprisingly fast and can make up for the absence of other well-developed tools in his arsenal.

            i think superior movement would needa LOT of speed behind it…a prime tyson would be in there before dude could blink, but who the heck can slip and move that fast? could ortiz move that good/fast enough even a coupla years ago?

            so with good movement or an awkward style…as limited as wilder is, one other thing hes good at is takin an opportunity. szpilka was a great example–wilder dint know wtf to do with the guy, looked clueless, then there was the opportunity and a perfectly timed hook whipped on in there–that was no lucky shot.

          • Arjay Cee

            Fair points, Ceylon!

            Now, Luis packs more punch than Spilka, and he can throw from range too. Two years ago, Deontae was being wobbled by nobodies — still KO’ing their asses, of course, but if they could get to him, what would the Cuban have done?

            We’ll never know, just as in the May-Pac marination event.

            Do you think it’s an early stoppage?

          • ceylon mooney

            all good points, arjay.

            sure, but notice wilder fought stiverne a lot differently than he did arreola, szpilka, etc. for the most part, when wilder didnt want someone gettin close to him he didnt let him. weve seen that wilder can effectively keep a superior boxer away from him. i see something like that goin on, but with ortiz better movement. i dont think ortiz movement will be good enough to close the range. i really think itd take more than good movement–real speed. i dont see good movement being an advantage without serious speed behind it. and i dont think ortiz has the speed. for example, iron mike would have no problem at all with a wilder.

            yeah, well never know. “marination” ugh.

            naw i think itll go the distance. i think wilder will be disciplined and conservative. windmill is too dangerous, and i dont see ortiz givin away a KO shot to him. too much experience to hand that to wilder.

            you thinkin KO?

          • Arjay Cee

            Nice analysis, Ceylon.

            “you thinkin KO?”

            Maybe. I can’t tell how much is left in Ortiz’s tank. He handled Jennings and Thompson well, but that was a year and a half ago. Only a few months later, he couldn’t catch up to a running Malik Scott. He then took seven rounds to put away Dave Allen, who I doubt could survive one round with Wilder.

            So I think fading along with your point about his slow foot speed will tell the tale. He’s clever and surprisingly spry for a big man, and he defends well, but…he needs you to be in range and these days, he might spend half a minute or more getting you there. That’s a lot of time for Deontay’s cannon to be firing!

            The best chances I give him are if Deontay plays it too cautious. Then I think the Cuban will make it interesting. I reckon he needs very little time on the inside to change the fight.

            Can’t help looking ahead to the unification with AJ. Wilder and Joshua could make 2018 a hell of a fight year.

          • ceylon mooney

            “The best chances I give him are if Deontay plays it too cautious. Then I think the Cuban will make it interesting. I reckon he needs very little time on the inside to change the fight.

            great point, and that is a possibility–weve seen him gunshy against opponents far inferior to ortiz.

          • Arjay Cee

            I guess only Ortiz and his personal chemist will know now. Shit. Was looking forward to this one!

            Do you think Dillian Whyte would give Deontay any problems? My guess is Whyte’s got the same liabilities as Ortiz but without the sharp technique. Maybe a bit more power. I’ll go with Wilder by KO in that one.

          • ceylon mooney

            if he hits him real hard he may! man i think so. i think hell come to fight. i think wilder will have to work, will have to fight whyte offa him.

            similar liabilities as ortiz w/o sharp technique but i think his approach would be a lot less thoughtful than ortiz… i think whyte would be more likely to just go at him.

            id hate to see them get in the ring and whyte try to fight a smart fight.

          • Arjay Cee

            “a lot less thoughtful than ortiz… i think whyte would be more likely to just go at him.”

            Oh yeah, I agree. Whyte would just flail away. I think he’s Big Baby Miller but with a smaller rattle. 🙂

          • ceylon mooney

            i hope its either ortiz or whyte.

        • wayne reid

          Yea i guess you mean running the whole night while throwing a few jabs and occasional potshot here & there

          • ceylon mooney

            i dont think running, but a night of jab and 1-2 and tyin him up

        • Mauro Hermida

          Ortiz looks like he has a good chin. Wilder will stay on the back foot and box. Ortiz will have to close distance. Im not that sold on him, but I favor him by late KO. Wilder’s legs and chin are shaky.

      • Cyrus.

        That’s probably because he’s only faced bummmmmms.

        • Fist_ti_cuffs

          So he and Joshua are in the same boat. Joshua just beat a guy that was beaten by fat ass Fury. Everyone seems to forget about that and the other 20 or so stinkers that Wlad was involved in. If Joshua get credit for Wlad, Wilder get credit for Stiverne, so if he beats Ortiz…..he’s one up.

          • Gonzalo Gomez

            Are you really comparing Stiverne with Wlad smh. Now don’t get me wrong, I like Wilder and I thought his win over Stiverne should have gotten him the respect he deserved but to compare that win with Joshua is ludicrous even if Wlad was beaten by Fury in a stinker of a fight.

          • Fist_ti_cuffs

            Let’s be honest. Wlad had declined a ton over the last few years which were easily seen with him struggling with Jennings and then Fury. He was absolutely terrible in those two fights and Joshua should have been able to beat him relatively easily. He did not, which made for an exciting fight, but the reality is that he was well past his prime, but Joshua (who I really like) went life and death with him, and then gets credit like he beat a 27 year old. This shit has to stop in boxing.

          • bradman

            Joshua has less than 20 pro fights. His career is light years ahead of what wilder has accomplished in half the time.

          • Fist_ti_cuffs

            But my points are still valid and each is entitled to their own opinion. I like Joshua, but I’m just not for the bullshit when it come to Wilder. Iv’e seen dudes on this very site absolutely kill Wilder because Povetkin tested positive and their fight was canceled. My point is that people just wanna hate. We even have dudes already making excuses for Ortiz about his age and weight, but these guys ignored Wlad’s last couple years and gave Joshua full credit for the win. SMH

          • bradman

            Anyone that blames Wilder for what happened with Povetkin is insane. He was ready, willing and able and Povetkin blew it. Boxing fans are a fickle lot, as you know.

      • bradman

        When you fight the level of opposition he’s been fighting those results are a gimme. When he starts facing legitimate threats and beating them decisively he’ll get my respect. He seems to forget respect is earned and not a right just for wailing on tomato cans.

        • Fist_ti_cuffs

          Sounds like you’re talking about lil g. -_-

          • bradman


    • Dee Money

      I think you are right in your prediction (Wilder clear W) but wrong in how it leads to him getting cred.

      Power punchers who aren’t defensive minded or slick movers tend to get little respect amongst the boxing elitists, you take into account how his Potvetkin fight never happened and his injury prolonged his time off and people just want to pick him apart. I remember before the Stiverne fight many claiming they would give him respect if he won; all they did was start denouncing Stiverne.

  • learnmore

    Where’s this Boogeyman? I dont see one

    • wayne reid

      Learnmore Only one line post? that isn’t the Learnmore i know

      • learnmore

        haha, mind seized up,has I started to write,too early in the morning

  • Stash One

    Ortiz hasn’t looked that good in any fight I’ve seen him in, for Wilder to have that record (38 fights 37 ko’s) he gets no respect from me, he dose’nt need to fight 1 decent heavyweight, he needs to fight a few, and soon. or he’s just a fabricated bum.

    • Cousin Strawberry ( Cheech)

      Agree, one decent heavyweight fight doesn’t mean squat. Hope it doesn’t go to the cards cause I believe Ortiz will get shafted imo.

  • ceylon mooney

    okay, whats the deal with ortiz age? what do we know or dont know?

    • Keano

      He old as hell

    • giovanni

      dont’ u think age is an issue in pro sports?

      • ceylon mooney

        yeah. im talkin about something else that comes up around ortiz specifically.

        ortiz officially 38, but many boxing fans assert hes older.

        • giovanni

          so thats the deal. wilder is more than picky in his choices. I would love to see him fighting someone like joshua parker or white

  • Joseph Ragusa

    Ortiz has a good chance. Vitali should come out of retirement. At 46 or whatever he might be able to beat some of the bozos fighting today. His 41 year old brother almost pulled a George Foreman recently against Joshua.

  • giovanni

    this fight is 4 yrs late…he fought journey men, youtubers…and now, ortiz’s 38yrs old

    • Orca

      Still the best guy he’s fought. Wilder has had one long career of meh. I still hold out hope for him though. He’s exciting to watch.

      • giovanni


  • philoe bedoe

    Still a lot of ? over both boxers going into this fight.
    But it’s one that I’m looking forward……….

    • Joey Junger

      I want to see the undercard with Dom Breazeale. Some people say he’s past his prime, but I maintain there’s still some magic left in those man-breasts.

      • philoe bedoe

        Nothing wrong with man breasts lol.
        He’s not the most gifted boxer but he’s got a decent chin and a lot of balls………

        • Joey Junger

          Dom’s last fight was more exciting than Klitschko’s swan song. That Joshua fight was good, but the media is overselling it because the HW division has been lackluster for so long and is finally regaining some shine.

  • TNT

    Great fight. Excellent info about Wilder’s philanthropy.

  • Bar Kokhba

    He’ll certainly get my respect if he beats Ortiz convincingly.

    Wilder had earned my respect when he shut out Stiverne, and he may have kept it if he’d fought anyone moderately difficult in the almost-three years since. (But it didn’t help that Stiverne has done jack shit since that fight, other than go life-and-death with Derrick Rossy. That kind of performance sure doesn’t make Wilder’s win look any better.)

    Wilder could surprise me again, but Ortiz has more experience and more self-confidence than Stiverne ever had. I see Ortiz breaking Wilder down for a late stoppage.

    • Orca

      Man, nearly three years since Stiverne. That’s crazy. I’m picking Wilder by close decision thanks to a10-8 at some point.

    • Joey Junger

      He’s nuts or on something stronger than steroids if he thinks he’s going to take out Ortiz in three rounds or less. He couldn’t do that to an out-of-shape, weed-smoking Chris “The Mexican Shrek” Arreola. Also, Ortiz has a head like a rock and practically no neck to speak of. It’s possible one of Wilder’s “bombs” detonates and his hand breaks again. Wilder has enough power to practically KO any man on the planet if he catches them, but Ortiz is much smarter than he is.

      • Bar Kokhba

        That’s what I’m figuring. And Ortiz has a mean streak that I don’t think Wilder has encountered before. If he gets tagged, he’s going to fight back something fierce, unlike his previous challengers, all of whom seemed to grow docile after tasting the champ’s firepower.

  • Joey Junger

    Say what you want about Wilder, but he was great in “The Green Mile.”

  • Luis Rivera

    Ortiz needs to be careful with what he drinks or eat right before entering the ring or he might just get all of the sudden as dehydrated and sluggish as Stiverne did.

  • Colin Mc Flurry.

    this is a terrific matchup.
    I’ve never been Deontay’s biggest fan but he gets my full respect for taking this fight.

  • Teddy Reynoso

    I have this strong feeling that either of this guys is whistling in the dark. Ortiz says it’s Deontay but we will not know for sure until fight time. For all we know it could be Ortiz really. BTW George Foreman some years back confessed of nerves when he first come face to face with Joe Frazier. He used the energy to knock Joe six times on the way to an early round TKO. From then on, he felt no dread for anyone inside the ring.

  • william ellis

    Ortiz is getting old, but he is probably the best contender right now. Wilder has certainly chosen the best way to earn the respect he needs as a title holder.

  • Sidewinder

    BOMB SQUAD !!!!

  • Emeka Nnaji Jr.

    Wilder should get respect for taking the fight. Joshua is my boy, but taking the Wladmir fight was an easy decision, a win win. This fight is a high risk low reward fight.