Deontay Wilder will be looking to settle unfinished business with Luis Ortiz when the pair rematch this Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Paradise, Nevada.
Coming off Tuscaloosa-born Wilder’s expressed desire to close the chapter on his “controversial” fights before pursuing unifications, the self-styled Bronze-Bomber announced to the world in May that a sequel with the Cuban was in the works – off the back of his second-round evisceration of Dominic Breazeale, earlier that month.
True to his word, the heavy-handed Alabaman will once again collide with ‘King-Kong’, eighteen months after their first encounter; a dramatic see-saw shootout from which Wilder emerged triumphant after landing the decisive shots in the tenth round.
Meanwhile, revenge is firmly on the agenda for Ortiz, in addition to longtime trainer Herman Caicedo, after coming agonisingly close to victory in the seventh round of their first fight.
After frustrating Wilder with his intelligent movement and tricky southpaw style in the first four rounds, Ortiz found himself on the canvas in the fifth, before walking his American counterpart onto a devastating counter right-hook two rounds later.
Although Wilder attempted to maintain his composure, Ortiz, clearly smelling blood, pounced on the defending champion; blitzing him mercilessly for several seconds, uninterrupted, under the watchful eye of referee David Fields, before the 2008 Olympic Bronze medallist was somehow saved by the bell, staggering back to his corner.
The resilient champion was able to work his way back into the fight throughout the next couple of rounds, before catching a second-wind and crudely pummelling Ortiz into submission to secure a memorable victory at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Despite his advanced age and somewhat questionable stamina, Ortiz’s educated approach, superior footwork and combination punching are qualities that have made him, for many years, one of the most skilful contenders in the division.
It is unlikely, but whether Wilder will be able to make a similar statement to the one he made against Bermane Stiverne in their rematch two years ago – knocking his nemesis out violently in the opening round – is a matter yet to be determined.
However, ultimately it is reasonable to believe that the champion will do the double over his opposite-number over the course of twelve rounds.
Whatever Wilder lacks in finesse, he certainly compensates for it in terms of his sheer punching power, toughness, and his awkward, opportunistic style – coupled with a seemingly unshakeable will to win.
Expect Wilder to start more assertively this time round, shooting out his left hand with more conviction, before detonating one of his trademark power shots on Ortiz’s chin somewhere around the middle rounds.
On the undercard, Luis Nery faces former IBF bantamweight champion Emmanuel Rodriguez in an intriguing showdown between a volume-punching destroyer and a surgical boxer-puncher, after the latter was brutally stopped by Naoya Inoue in May.
In his last contest, Nery systematically broke down and stopped Juan-Carlos Payano in the ninth round after previously defeating McJoe Arroyo. The former WBC bantamweight titleholder was stripped of his title following a drugs scandal, after twice besting Shinsuke Yamanaka on away soil in 2018 and 2019.
Meanwhile, Leo Santa Cruz moves up to super-featherweight to tackle Miguel Flores for the vacant WBA super-featherweight title, while undefeated super-bantamweight contender Brandon Figueroa – the younger brother of Omar Figueroa – faces Julio Ceja for the WBA super-bantamweight title.
Article by: Navi Singh
Follow Navi on Twitter at: @DarkMan________