Deontay Wilder, who will return to the ring in October, has backed his former opponent to come out on top when he faces Andy Ruiz Jr.
‘The Bronze Bomber’ has fought Luis Ortiz twice, stopping him both times. Despite that, he still fancies ‘King Kong’ to beat former Heavyweight Champion, Ruiz. Speaking to The PBC Podcast, Wilder explained his pick – the reasoning being as much based on skill as it is friendship.
“My money and heart is going on Ortiz. It’s unfortunate that he has had less opportunities because guys fear him for his skills. Ortiz has a big heart and he’s determined.
He does it for his family, and I love a man that’s able to set self aside.
I’m always rooting for him no matter who he fights or where he goes, but I’m also a realist. I do see Ortiz winning this fight in devastating fashion.
People want to say [about his] age, but it’s only a number.”
The Cuban heavyweight is now 43 but managed to turn back the clock in his last fight by producing a sensational knockout against one-time title holder, Charles Martin.
Ruiz, on the other hand, has failed to impress since his incredible upset win over Anthony Joshua in June, 2019. That fight made him champion, but it was short-lived, with AJ thoroughly outboxing him to win the belts back in an immediate rematch. ‘Destroyer’ marked his return with a lacklustre decision win against Chris Arreola in 2021.
Wilder went on to say that, depending on how the fight goes, fans might see him fight Ortiz for a third time. The appetite for that would likely be small given the previous outcomes, but a matchup with Ruiz is high up on the list of exciting potential scraps. It’s something ‘The Bronze Bomber’ is open to.
“I would love to face him [Ruiz] as well. With any of these guys in the stable [PBC] there ain’t no ‘if we fight’, it’s just a matter of when.
When you’re ready, I’m ready to go. I’m in the business of giving the fans what they want to see. Great fights while we’re in our prime.”
Andy Ruiz and Luis Ortiz face off in the Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles on September 4.