Boxing has had a very strong second half of 2019 and is looking to close the year strong with a pair of important heavyweight bouts. Anthony Joshua will rematch Andy Ruiz Jr for most heavyweight belts in a couple of weeks, but this weekend, Deontay Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) defends his WBC belt against Luis Ortiz (31-1, 2 no contests, 26 KOs) in a rematch of 2018’s best heavyweight fight.
Deontay Wilder has been widely and rightfully criticised for his choice of opposition over the course of his pro career, but ended that trend of careful matchmaking when he signed on to fight Ortiz last year. A lot of people (including myself) thought the southpaw Cuban’s skill and experience made him a very dangerous match up for the incredibly powerful but technically raw Wilder. Ortiz did indeed give Wilder trouble, and hurt him badly in the 7th round but Wilder showed grit and patience to rally and knock him out in the tenth round of a great fight.
Following this fight, Wilder took another big challenge and drew with Tyson Fury. That should have been a loss for Wilder but he once again showed his ability to carry his power well into the late rounds by landing a devastating knockdown in the final round. He followed the draw with a first round KO over Dominic Breazeale. When a rematch with Fury couldn’t be made, Wilder went with the next best name available and gave Ortiz, who has won three fights since their first meeting, another shot.
Wilder is always going to have technical flaws, but his punching power, his ability to carry it late into fights and his patience in finding spots to land his right hand make him a permanent danger for anyone. Ortiz will likely pose the same problems he did in the first fight and I expect him to outbox Wilder in early stretches of the fight. But Ortiz tends to fade late in fights (as you’d expect from a heavyweight in his forties) and Wilder should manage to eventually catch him in the latter half of the fight. Overall, I expect a very similar fight to the first one with Ortiz pushing and challenging but ultimately falling to Wilder.
If Wilder wins as expected, then a rematch with Fury is on the horizon for early 2020.
Combined with a solid undercard, most notably the bantamweight fight between Luis Nery and Emmanuel Rodriguez, Saturday is shaping up to a very interesting night of boxing.
Wilder vs Ortiz II Full Card:
Main Card – PPV – 9:00pm ET / 6:00pm PT
Deontay Wilder vs. Luis Ortiz
Leo Santa Cruz vs. Miguel Flores
Luis Nery vs. Emmanuel Rodriguez
Brandon Figueroa vs. Julio Ceja
Preliminary Card – Fox Sports 2 – 7:00pm ET / 4:00pm PT, YouTube – 4:15pm ET / 1:15pm PT
Leduán Barthelemy vs. Eduardo Ramirez
Viktor Slavinskyi vs. Rigoberto Hermosillo
Omar Juarez vs. Kevin Shacks
Jose Manuel Gomez vs. Daniel Placeres
Vito Mielnicki Jr. vs. Marklin Bailey
Jerry Perez vs. Mark John Yap
Marsellos Wilder vs. Dustin Long