Fight Picks: Deontay Wilder vs. Luis Ortiz
This Saturday, Deontay Wilder defends his WBC heavyweight title against Luis Ortiz, at Barclays Center, Brooklyn (Showtime, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
Wilder (39-0, 38 knockouts) has held his title for three years and has made six successful defenses but many believe Ortiz (28-0, 24 KOs) represents the American’s toughest test to date.
This eagerly anticipated bout pairs two heavy-handed unbeaten fighters. Wilder has improved greatly since besting Bermane Stiverne in January 2015, showing better-than-expected skills and a ramrod jab. Since then, the 32-year-old has, at times, looked fallible but always found a way to utilize his vaunted power.
His 38-year-old Cuban opponent turned pro in 2010, after a long amateur career, when he went a reported 343-19. Since then, Ortiz’s career has stalled, at times, due to promotional changes and failed drug tests. He has remained unbeaten but has only fought once in the past year.
Will Wilder again show his considerable power and continue move toward a possible unification against IBF/WBA titleholder Anthony Joshua later this year? Or will the Cuban master cause the sensational upset and prove his doubters wrong?
Online gambling group bet365.com lists Wilder as a 2/7 (-350) favorite while Ortiz is priced at 5/2 (+250).
Here’s how the experts see it:
THE RING MAGAZINE/ RINGTV.COM
MIKE COPPINGER: WILDER KO 10
Luis Ortiz represents Deontay Wilder’s toughest test but the champ should pass with flying colors. Ortiz, while the more skilled fighter, is a plodder and that plays right into Wilder’s toolbox. He’s fleet of foot and Wilder’s jab – along with his movement – should give Ortiz fits until he finally walks into a massive Wilder punch that ends matters in the late rounds.
MICHAEL WOODS: WILDER UD 12
Luis Ortiz looked like, based on his last couple performances, he’d peaked a couple years ago. He ain’t young. Thirty-eight, his license says…But have you seen pics of the dude in training? He’s basically ripped! So time to judge this book anew…or is the physique maybe window dressing and not indicative of how we’ll perform? I think he will perform better being lighter…but Wilder’s athleticism, his mobility edge, should allow him to get advantageous angles on the Cuban. Ortiz has never lost, though; he has a top-level chin. Wilder has the sort of power that is supposed to be able to crack even that level of chin. I suspect the chin will hold up; the Cuban will be able to make the distance but lose a unanimous decision.
TOM GERBASI: WILDER TKO 10
What got Wilder to the top will continue to keep him there. Size, speed, power. Ortiz is crafty enough to give Wilder some issues in the early going but, as the fight progresses, he won’t have the firepower to get the champ’s respect. Wilder TKO 10.
ANSON WAINWRIGHT: WILDER KO 9
Excellent fight, for a while we’ve wanted to see Wilder step up. Through no fault of his own, he’s been prevented from facing Alexander Povetkin and Ortiz. Not sure Ortiz deserves the opportunity because of his past indiscretions but that’s another story. Had this fight taken place in late-2015/early 2016 when Ortiz looked impressive stopping Bryant Jennings and then Tony Thompson, I may have picked him but we’re two years removed from that and he has fought just three times, against lesser fighters and Wilder has improved since then. Ortiz will also be nearly 39 and has been fairly inactive. Timing is on Wilder’s side. I think the fight may start of tentatively but Wilder will dictate with the jab and end matters late in the fight.
NORM FRAUENHEIM: WILDER UD 12
Wilder says Luis Ortiz has never fought anybody quite like him. True enough but it’s a double-edged opinion. Yeah, Ortiz is in for a different challenge but so is Wilder. He’s never fought anybody like Ortiz. The well-schooled Cuban knows his way around the ring. The left-hander has a varied skill set and he knows how to use it but he also a problematic past. Documented PED use and questions about his age, 38, raise questions about who will show up. The clever Ortiz? The aging Ortiz? Who knows? Wilder is emotional. That’s what make him so entertaining but he’ll have to control those emotions. If he does, his comparative youth, bigger body, overall athleticism and that hammer-like right will combine for a victory on the scorecards.
MARTY MULCAHEY: WILDER KO
As much as I believe Luis Ortiz is the better boxer, I can’t pick him to defeat a faster, younger, stronger and more active Deontay Wilder. It wont be easy and I expect Wilder will have to turn the fight, after the first five rounds, to come on late and score a stoppage victory in the championship rounds. Honestly I think Ortiz may be in his early-40s and he still constitutes the sternest test of Wilder’s career. Both are sad statements but I do believe this will be a fun fight for fans.
TOM GRAY: WILDER UD 12
I am not – and I repeat NOT – sold on Wilder but, stylistically, I think Ortiz is made for him. I’ve seen the Cuban lefty fight live on a couple of occasions and he was ridiculously slow of foot. Wilder is nothing if not athletic and I think he’ll be able to find the space required to box off Ortiz and retain his title on points. The fight will be of a similar motif to Wilder’s points victory over Bermane Stiverne in 2015.
RYAN SONGALIA: WILDER KO
This will be Wilder’s most dangerous assignment yet but I feel the postponements have hurt Ortiz’s momentum. Wilder is in a real groove in his career, setting up his offense better, has confidence to the point of absurdity and might be the hardest puncher in boxing today. Two years ago, I may have thought differently but Wilder is in a good place right now.
DOUG FISCHER: WILDER UD 12
I think Wilder uses his height, reach and lateral movement to box and bomb Ortiz from a safe distance. Wilder by decision.
JOLENE MIZZONE (MATCHMAKER): WILDER TKO
Wilder by TKO (within four rounds) – I just think that, at this point, Wilder has gotten better and Ortiz is not going to be able to stay away from his jab, which we all know what comes after a jab: Lights out!
DUKE MCKENZIE (FORMER BOXER/TV ANALYST): WILDER KO
I don’t know who beats Wilder right now. Boxing is all about timing and Wilder is one of those unpredictable world champions. He has genuine knockout power in either hand and he lives up to his name with his style of boxing. He’s a wild man. He throws punches from Timbuktu but he manages to land them at the right time and destroys people. For me, he will give any heavyweight in the world – and that includes Anthony Joshua – nightmares because he’s so unpredictable. I don’t know if he knows a left hook from a jab. His chin is untested in the pros. (With) the power Wilder has, Ortiz isn’t gonna beat Wilder, Ortiz is gonna walk into one at some point. Ortiz has been so inactive. Unless Ortiz gets really lucky and catches Wilder, Wilder beats him. I can’t see any other outcome. I think it’ll be competitive for a couple of rounds but Ortiz is too predictable. I’d say this one won’t go past the eighth round. Once Wilder catches him, he’ll close the show.
PAULIE MALIGNAGGI (FORMER BOXER/TV ANALYST): WILDER KO 6
I see on paper it’s probably the toughest fight of Wilder’s career. People have asked for the step-ups to come for Wilder and I think Deontay has tried. This is the second time he’s tried to fight Ortiz. He’s tried to fight Alexander Povetkin. I don’t think you can blame Deontay for not fighting these top heavyweights. When they’re failing the drug tests, it’s hurting him indirectly because all these drug tests have caught the possible options and prevented him from participating in some very big promotions. If he wins the fight easily, you downplay Ortiz and, if (Wilder) gets beat or gets hurt, you start to say, ‘We knew Deontay was overrated.’ I think Ortiz is a bit more of a puncher. He has pedigree, that Cuban boxing background, southpaw stance. I think it’s interesting to see if Deontay is able to dictate with his jab the way he normally does. Obviously the straight right hand is a big weapon against southpaws. Deontay likes to dictate with that jab before he lets go of that straight right hand. It’ll be interesting to see if Ortiz is able to take that away from him or if Deontay is still able to take charge with the lead hand and set up Ortiz for the big right hands. I think it’ll be a bit of a chess match early on. It wouldn’t surprise me if Ortiz was able to hurt Deontay but I think, in the end, Deontay is a little fresher and hungry. It’s his moment right now and, if he is what everyone thinks he is, he comes through this test. I think it probably goes to the middle rounds. It could go early because, when guys this big are fighting and they’re both punchers, it could end at any moment. I just think, by the middle rounds, I just think somebody’s gonna go and my feeling is Deontay finds his range by the middle rounds. I’ll say six.
JOSEPH PARKER (WBO HEAVYWEIGHT TITLIST): WILDER KO
I think Ortiz will be dangerous, first half of the fight, but I’m picking Wilder to take the win.
TONY TOLJ (MANAGER): WILDER KO 3
I was actually was at the Garden when this was previously scheduled. What I saw was a Wilder which I hadn’t seen before, an angry man! Swinging for the fences, (the rematch against Bermane Stiverne) ended by destruction just prior to the end of round one. “The Bomb Squad” had MSG on its feet. I see Ortiz, if he isn’t suspended AGAIN, will be a tale of youth vs. experience. Ortiz is a good solid fighter but there is only fighter who will always remain undefeated: Father Time. Prediction: Wilder, round three.
ISMAEL SALAS (TRAINER): WILDER KO
In my personal point of view, Wilder is a favorite, in many aspects. Only one thing is against him: Sometimes he’s reckless, giving opening spots for Ortiz and he is deadly at (finding openings). In heavyweight boxing, you are always only one punch away from disaster. I think Wilder will win by early KO.
ROBERT DIAZ (GOLDEN BOY PROMOTIONS MATCHMAKER): WILDER KO 8
I will be watching this one closely, as I know both very well. I did the first 33 fight’s of Wilder’s career, from pro debut up until he won the heavyweight world title. I did seven of Luis Ortiz’s wins, which include the WBA interim title. This is a fight I wanted bad, when we promoted Ortiz, and I really liked his chances because he was active. As in many fights of this caliber, they both have their strengths and weakness. It is a matter of who can take advantage over the other. Luis Ortiz’s strength is he is fearless and has a lot of amateur experience. His weakness is his age and lack of activity over the last couple of years. Wilder’s strength is he has been more active. He has tremendous power in his right hand and his reach is, he can keep you outside until he lands the big right. His weakness is he tends to get a little sloppy and wild, at times, and his chin (is untested). With that said, I really think they will both start out very cautious of each other’s power and wait for the other to make a mistake and that can actually make this fight a tad boring until the mistake and, boom, the bomb drops and catches the opponent and calls it a night. Left, left, left, right, it is over in eight rounds via KO and Wilder defends his title. It was a couple of years too late.
DILLIAN WHYTE (BOXER): WILDER
I think Wilder will beat Ortiz. I think Ortiz has been too inactive over the last two, three years and he’s old. I think Wilder beats him. Everything in heavyweight boxing is timing and think he’s fighting Ortiz at the perfect time.
VICTOR SILVA (TV ANALYST): WILDER UD 12
I think the fight will be a lot different for Wilder, even when he can move very fast, going side-to-side using his windmill punches. Ortiz knows how to box; he is a southpaw and never has been knocked out, very elusive, with a lot of experience and the reach advantage won’t be a factor. For this reason, I think this will be a great fight that will end in a unanimous decision for Wilder.
Final tally: 18-0 in favor of Deontay Wilder.
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