Thursday, January 18, 2018  |


Deontay Wilder, Luis Ortiz agree to heavyweight title fight on March 3 in New York


Deontay Wilder is finally going to get his hands on Luis Ortiz.

There’s an agreement in place for Wilder to defend his WBC heavyweight title against Ortiz on March 3 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, sources with knowledge of the talks told

Showtime will televise the meeting between the big men (opposite HBO’s coverage of Sergey Kovalev-Igor Mikhalkin), who were scheduled to meet on November 4. A random performance-enhancing drug test revealed the substances chlorothiazide and hydrochlorothiazide in Ortiz’s system, scrapping the highly anticipated fight.

The WBC cleared Ortiz of wrongdoing earlier this month, attributing the adverse finding to medicine necessary to treat high blood pressure. The 38-year-old was re-inserted into the organization’s ratings, paving the way for Wilder’s toughest in-ring test to date.

Ortiz (28-0, 24 knockouts) quickly scheduled a fight with Daniel Martz on December 8, and knocked the journeyman out in two rounds. Wilder (39-0, 28 KOs) was ringside, and the fighters exchanged words in the center of the ring afterward.

“Stay by the phone, I’ve been waiting for you,” said Wilder, THE RING’s No. 2 heavyweight. “”I blessed you with the opportunity the first time, you messed it up. I’m going to bless you again.

“I understand the blood pressure pills and everything like that. … Be ready, I don’t want no excuses. I’m gonna whoop your ass.”

Ortiz, a southpaw from Cuba, can box and bang and boasts tremendous size at 6-foot-4, 240 pounds. The decorated amateur possesses a tricky jab and also knows how to work the body. In his biggest victory, THE RING’s No. 5 heavyweight stopped Bryant Jennings inside seven rounds in December 2015.

So when the fight against Wilder was signed, boxing fans were understandably anxious to see Wilder tested. After all, the Olympic bronze medalist, while a fearsome puncher, had yet to face a bona fide challenge. Wilder was set to face Alexander Povetkin in 2016, but the Russian tested positive for a banned substance. And then it was Ortiz who fell by the wayside, another worthy challenger scratched off the list for Wilder.

But now it’s going to happen, and we’ll find out if Wilder’s fundamental flaws will be exposed against a technician like Ortiz, or if power and size trumps all.

Wilder, 32, has knocked out every man who’s stepped in the ring with him, most of them in devastating fashion. Bermane Stiverne went the distance with The Bronze Bomber during their January 2015 meeting, but when Ortiz was forced to withdrew, it was Stiverne who was called on to replace him.

The rematch went far differently. Wilder dropped Stiverne three times, and then left him unconscious, his body draped over the bottom rope. It took only one round this time.

“I want to release the pain, what Stiverne took that night was meant for Luis Ortiz,” Wilder said. ” … For me, a guy like that, it was his second offense, should be out of here period. But somehow he’s back in, but we understand the situation with the heavyweight division, it’s small.”

Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger

  • Steve

    AJ v Parker and Wilder v Ortiz. Heavyweight boxing is getting off to a great start next year. Let’s hope the winners meet in a contest to crown an undisputed champion

    • Magnolia Slimm

      Back to the days when the heavyweight champion was the baddest man on the planet

      • Steve

        Would be great if the winner could fight 3 or 4 times a year. With the trend for fighting once or twice a year the champ will probably be undisputed for only weeks before one or more organisation strips them.

        • Keano

          I dunno I think they’d make enough money off Joshua for them to be happy for him to have them all, but do still hope he gets at least 3 fights in

    • sheikh352

      Fury’s back, from the New Year – and remains the Lineal Champion – so talk of “undisputed” has to include him in the conversation, at some point. Presuming he comes through his first couple of fights, he will get thrown into the mix and, all of a sudden, the division is not looking as sparse as it was.

      • Steve

        I hope you’re right but after the last couple of years I won’t believe he’s back until he’s climbing through the ropes. A grudge match with the Haye – Bellew winner should be entertaining though

  • learnmore

    Good start to the year Wilder v Ortiz, Joshua v Parker, Bellew v Haye thats what we want. We dont want Kownacki vs Kiladse in January, Kownacki just beat Spzilka coming back with a stay busy fight. Unless you have been inactive for 1 year or more like Ruiz jr v TBA, they’re no justification for a contender to be facing Kiladse.

    I hope boxers like Jennings who has return with a couple of tune ups, stop sitting & waiting now the Parker fight seem to be gone. We need match ups like Whyte v Browne, Breazeale v Martin, Jennings v Povetkin, Miller v Kabayel. Undefeated fighters like Trevor Bryan,Wallin to fight tougher opponents so we have a better idea who are the top 10 Heavyweights.

    • Ten Count Toronto

      I’m not nearly as excited about this particular crop of fighters as you are, but I suppose any division in which world ranked fighters get more active and start to match up against one another is a positive development from both the entertainment and competition point of view.

  • ozzy

    I notice how any US boxing article about Ortiz has to miss out his two fights in Europe – it’s as if almost the whole of America has never heard of those two fights. I say almost because there’s no doubt that Wilder has seen those two fights and has taken tremendous confidence from them since Ortiz was poor in both and looked much older than his supposed 38. Ortiz’s win against the pathetic Martz won’t have shaken Wilder’s confidence at all and so I expect a very comfy Wilder win followed by Wilder claiming he’s easily the best in the world with many US fans believing him – SMH!

    • Charlie U.

      Dude, give it a rest. Stop knocking any and every thing this guy does. No one will argue that he played it safe throughout most of his career. But he clearly is looking for the big fights now. Anyone who can’t see that just has their own personal bias against him for {choose a reason}. Let it go and just appreciate the fact that the heavyweight division has some intriguing matchups to look forward to.

      • Julio

        I agree that Wilder is trying to quiet the naysayers, but even if he beats Ortiz (not a given) the jury will remain out until he fights Joshua.

        • Charlie U.

          Don’t disagree but he’s alleging cherry picking.

          • Julio

            WIlder has done his share of cherry picking himself, but on the other hand, he is seemingly trying to change that perception

          • Charlie U.

            He has but not lately. That was my point. Give credit where it’s due.

          • Julio

            I will give him credit when he finally test himself.

          • Charlie U.

            Huh? The fight is signed. It was signed in October. The Povetkin fight was signed. The guy can’t make these dudes test clean.

          • Julio

            I see what you mean, but until WIlder finally gets in the ring with one of them, you assertion is a moot point.

          • Floridastorm

            Wilder was going to fight Povetkin in Russia although Wilder is the belt holder. That should you tell everyone that he’s willing to fight any heavyweight. Doesn’t sound like a guy who is unsure of himself. Every heavyweight is running away from “the Brown Bomber” and for a very good reason. Joshua knows deep down that he has a slim chance of defeating Wilder and will probably take the hardest shots he’s ever taken even if he doesn’t get KO’d. Wilder has tried to fight every heavyweight and they either fall through just before the fight or make excuses not to fight him. I like Joshua’s attitude and training regimen. And, I don’t really like Wilder’s attitude some of the time. However, I have to give the man credit for knocking out every fighter he’s faced and making the other pretenders scatter like rats when the lights are turned on.

          • Julio

            Wilder deserves some credit for being in the position he currently is. That being said, he hasn’t faced anyone of note on his way to be in that position. And you can say anything you want about Joshua, but beating even a long in the tooth KIistchko is much more compelling that all the guys Deontay has beat combined. I just hope the fight materializes this year.

          • Floridastorm

            Steverne was a heavyweight champion and a known KO puncher, when Wilder first fought him. Arreola was an ex heavyweight champion, Scott was 36-0 when Wilder KO’d him in one round. Washington was 18-0 when Wilder KO’d him in 4 rounds. Artur Szpilka, Johann Duhaupas, Eric Molina, were all either undefeated or had a loss or two, and were ranked in the top 10 before being KO’d by Wilder. None of them are George Foreman, but they are all credible fighters. I think that Wilder would have KO’d Povetkin and will KO Ortiz. And, want to bet, Joshua still won’t fight him.

          • Julio

            My friend, being undefeated, ranked in the top 10 etc, doesn’t mean much in this watered down era. Wilder has not looked good at all while facing guys with very limited credentials. And again, Stiverne is a bum, and always was a bum even when he was a champ. I am still waiting for your counter argument to my assertion that Joshua is at this point more proven that Wilder.

          • Jason Cockerton

            It’s only the Wilder fan boys that seem to think Joshua is trying to avoid him. Everyone else can see it’s a simple tactic to big up the eventual fight so the money is right for both of them. Wilder has a punchers chance against Joshua, of course he does, but Joshua is just technically too sound. Klitschko was in the best shape for years against AJ probably the best he has fought in 7-8 years at least. But AJ found a way, I’m not so sure Wilder would have.

          • Jeremy, UK

            I wouldn’t be surprised if the Joshua – Wilder deal is practically done already. The teams were talking last month and although nothing has been announced, the Wilder team aren’t really screaming about the fight not being made. This is because they know Wilder needs to raise his profile higher and then the fight will be much bigger if Joshua brings all the other belts to the party.

        • Gary Pietz

          But at least ortez is a step up How far of a step up I’m not sure but he is a step up

          • Julio

            He most definitely is. Wiilder has not faced anyone with a pulse so far. And yes, I think that Stiverne was always a bum, which Wilder validated in their second fight.

          • Floridastorm

            A step up to what? Ortiz hasn’t fought one decent fighter. He went 12 rounds with Malik Scott. Wilder KO’d him in one round. Name one fighter that he’s fought that was any threat whatsoever? Wilder is a huge step up for Ortiz who, IMO, is going to be put to sleep early in this fight. Even Wilder would be a step up for Joshua who has only fought one legitimate fighter, a 41 year old Vlad, and he just barely got through that one.

      • Chris

        He lost a lot of credit when he tried to fight some random polish bloke Andrzej Wawrzyk (?) as a title defence. Povekin in Russia was forced upon him as a mandatory. Basically he says he walks the Earth like a God but was picking weak fights because he had just got the belt or his hand hurt or no one wants to fight me etc, etc. etc.

        If he has turned over a new leaf he should do what BJS did he said in interviews look I haven’t fought often enough or against enough top opposition but its the biggest fights available from now on (I’d gave him a second chance for that) and people would warm to that and give him a second chance not blasting the fans saying they don’t know boxing, his record is amazing and he’s a hybrid extraterrestrial.

        Ortiz is a step up much better but if you’re in the US youtube those two Europe fights before you go over the top. If Wilder is disciplined I see a straight forward win in a lot of rounds (Ortiz can’t cut the ring off anymore and won’t get to him if he doesn’t let him), maybe the distance but if he goes mad an starts windmilling I give Ortiz the edge. It’s Wilders to loose.

      • giovanni

        fair enough

    • Ten Count Toronto

      Botom line is there seem to be a lot of people in the sanctioning organizations who for whatever reason are determined to se Ortiz get a title shot despite everything that he’s done to disqualify himself (repeated positive tests, looking like crap in the ring…) so this can not be seen as Wilder’s idea to sell a mismatch, but rather going through with an imposed fight and rightly loking forward to stuffing it down the throats of the often obnoxious Ortiz fan club.

    • Gary Pietz

      I agree he sees ortiez as very beatable because ortez not very quick with his feet It just seems like I age considerably over the last year or 2

      • WR

        Wait a minute…who’s Ortiez and who’s Ortez?

    • BobbyPFalcon

      Wilder is by far the most explosive and athletic heavy out three right now – raw or not. Joshua is probably more technically-sound but he lacks speed and head movement, and he backs straight up when pressed. None of the current crop is flawless. None are unbeatable.

  • Damiand Crutchfield

    Drugs and boxing don’t mix.

    • Ten Count Toronto

      Drugs and ANYTHING shouldn’t mix except as a contingency for the truly ill.

      The fact that dozens of other world ranked fighters are passing tests does not automatically prove they’re perfectly clean, however repeated failed tests (especially of the substances and amounts like in Ortiz’ case) strongly suggests totally unmoderated doping as being indispensable to the offender.

      • sheikh352

        So, I have type 2 diabetes and take, as I have done for years, meds for that and associated conditions of high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I’d hate anyone thinking I was a cheat just because of something in my blood pressure medication.

        • Ten Count Toronto

          Of course, you fall under the category of a serious health condition, your medication can be considered a life saving intervention.

          But I’m highly skeptical that Luis Ortiz at the stated age of 37 or thereabouts can have a serious enough hypertension problem to require multiple medications yet at the same time is healthy enough to be licensed for 12-round professional boxing matches.

          • sheikh352

            The medication is what allows people like me to live as normal a life as possible. In my case, though, I avoid activities with a high risk of suffering cuts – that’s because, for the average diabetic person, wounds take longer to heal. In the end, Ortiz was cleared of wrongdoing by the WBC – his mistake was not notifying whoever he was supposed to tell about his medications. I think there should be a space on fight contracts where fighters are able to list all meds they are taking and then the sanctioning body can make a ruling BEFORE someone is charged with drug cheating. It would be simple enough to include and would prompt fighters to “come clean” before being accused of being dirty.

          • mike

            I wasn’t aware that you are a boxer. When is your next fight?

          • Left Hook2

            They do have that space…and the blood pressure meds that Ortiz uses were not listed. There were many other items listed, but those were left off. On purpose, on accident, I do not know. But they do have that space available.

  • Black Oracle

    Wilder will be legitimized in my eyes if he beats Ortiz

    • Julio

      He certainly will get some respect if he beats Ortiz decisively, but I am not sure he will if he wins. Wilder hasn’t looked good against dubious opposition during his title reign. Ortiz by far will be his toughest challenge to date, but the Cuban is near 40. Just hope it turns out to be a good scrap.

      • sheikh352

        I suspect, that in reality, Ortiz is quite some distance PAST his 40th birthday. Either that, or he hasn’t aged well, at all.

        • Julio

          He certainly has looked older than his listed age in recent fights. That being said, the only fighter that has something to win here is indeed Ortiz. If Wilder wins (whether impressively or not) he won’t get full credit for this. If Ortiz wins, then he will validate his credentials to a new level.

      • Black Oracle

        The age of Ortiz does tarnish it slightly, but even at 40 Ortiz is a top 5 heavyweight. Beating Ortiz legitimizes Wilder in this milineal era, but all time he isn’t even scratching the surface yet. But it does set him up to fight Josua in the future, and if he beats Josua, now we are having a different discussion as to where Wilder fits in with the greats.

        • Julio

          I am not sure we can ever rate Wilder at the all time great level even if he wipes out the entire HW division. Boxers nowadays are simply not as good as their predecessors, view boxing as a mere vehicle to make money and not really to leave a true mark in the sport

          • Black Oracle

            I hear you, but is that fair? Im sure fighters from Jack Johnsons day, would say fighters from Ali’s day were punks, because they didn’t fight bare knuckle for a million rounds, and to an extent fighters from Ali’s day might say fighters from Tysons day were punks as well, because they only fought 12 rounds. It’s not always fair to base a fighters greatness on the Era they fought…….But for the most part I agree with you. The heavyweight division today is spongecake soft. But Joshua and Wilder can be the beginning of a great new era in the Heavyweight division. They clearly have the look of greatness….now lets see if they have the guts of the greats. I like the preliminary fights these guys have been put in, so I am somewhat hopeful.

          • Dee Money

            Its the rose colored glasses we use to view history. To be fair boxing is one of the few sports where athletes from 75 years ago could compete and defeat those of today. But the way some people go overboard in their praise of fighters of yesteryear it does point to those rose colored glasses.

          • Julio

            The major difference between those eras and today’s, is that fighters from yesteryear viewed themselves as fighters first and foremost. That alone put them in a different stratosphere that modern pugilists will never reach, simply because the sport’s essence has completely changed. I am sure that the Klitschko’s or Tyson’s could beat the Frazier’s, Louis’, etc. But again, the old timers had a different perspective and respect for the sport.

  • Ten Count Toronto

    man this “Clean Boxing Program” is starting to resemble a bad joke as the WBC expands its forgiveness threshold to include accepting “dog-ate-my-homewrk” level excuses for the sake of business interests. Gotta admit the cynics were right in predicting this.

    It’s still not nearly as big a joke as the whole WADA “medical exemption: scam in that at least the WBC/VADA program publishes all the failed tests so people can make up their own minds regardless of what disciplinary action is or is not taken.

    In this case I’m not upset the fight is going ahead. I think Wilder will easily dispatch Ortiz which will hopefully silence the chirping from Ortiz supporters and pin a loss on an brazen PED user.

    • John Newman

      VADA’s program is legit, but the WBC is still a sanctioning body (and far more interested in money than in a clean sport). I agree with you, and think that they excused the PED use so that the fight could get made.

      Wilder desperately needs an opponent that at least seems “legitimate” on paper. The fact that Ortiz has remained ranked in most places as his positive tests are adjudicated means the fight is much bigger than Wilder putting another colossal dent in an oversized tomato can.

      Hopefully, Wilder demolishes Ortiz and he’s summarily dropped from rankings and from the heavyweight conversation. It’s a sad state, but there really only are three or four legitimate heavyweights right now (and that assumes that Fury can straighten the crookedest noodle in the sport).



    • WR

      Why you using CAPS when you post Bro?

  • Left Hook2

    Why on March 3rd, the same day as Barerra-Bivol and Krusher? Makes no sense. Maybe Arum can schedule something on ESPN that would totally bungle that date…

  • Roberto Carlos Guerra

    I think they got Wilder’s record wrong. Only one man has gone the distance with him, not 11 as his supposed record shows in the article (39-0 28 KO’s????).

  • Colnef

    Lots of comments. I see Wilder-Ortiz (and Joshua-Parker) as a good lead up to Wilder vs Joshua. If both guys win against decent opposition we move to the ‘big one’. Must be good for boxing.

    • John Newman

      They’ll just have to get it made before Joshua’s contract with Showtime ends. I doubt he’ll stay with the network just for the prospect of a match with Wilder (especially considering that he–Joshua–is far and away the bigger money draw and can do whatever he damn well pleases). I don’t see Al Haymon and Showtime letting Wilder fight on HBO, even if it’s the only fight he can make that would mean anything. Unfortunately, there’s at least a fifty-fifty chance that Wilder ends up the Adonis Stevenson of the heavyweight division.

  • Stash One

    Its going to take alot more than beating Ortiz to legitimise Wilder, I know he has alot of issues with people testing positive but his record is just amazing, nearly 40 pro fights and barely 1 against anyone of any real substance (at the time of the fight). I’m not sure how highly I rate Parker but I would say he’s a tougher opponent than Ortiz.

  • Teddy Reynoso

    Does this mean Ortiz can take that medication during his training and prior to the fight to address his blood pressure problem?

  • giovanni

    first real opponent (though not in his prime) after the great charlie z

  • Son Lyme

    Five years ago Ortiz was a genuine talent. Right now not so much. Long past his sell by date and waaaay past his declared age, this Ortiz may give Wilder a boxing lesson for a few rounds but the engine is blown, and age beats all men. Unless of course Deontay is aggressive early on, then it is simply a question of who lands first. The first six rounds will be interesting for sure.