November 23rd is a big fight. Can I get an amen?
Deontay Wilder is fighting Luis Ortiz. This is the real thing, a genuine heavyweight title fight. These are two big strong men who have earned the right to fight for the title by taking their lumps and whooping ass, fighting real fighters, contenders with championship aspirations of their own and not mugging and posing and beating up stiffs, not mincing around in a tutu like that great wanker, what’s-his-name.
The last time these two fought it was glorious. Can I get a hallelujah?
The opening rounds were tense, as both men had (rightly so) great respect for the other’s power. Ortiz got leveled in the fifth round, yet survived the ensuing helicopter assault, and came back. In the seventh he rocked Wilder (I still don’t know how he stayed on his feet) like no one else has ever done, and it was Wilder’s turn to survive. In the seventh, Wilder put Ortiz down two more times and the fight was stopped. This was a compelling fight.
There was a time that I was not a real fan of Wilder. I wasn’t really aware of him until 2014 when he beat Liakhovich and then Malik Scott shortly after. He was 29-0 with 29 knockouts, but the rap I heard was “he hasn’t fought anybody”. I looked it up, and to that point in his career, his opponents had a combined record of 434 – 210, so the charge was fair.
But I thought Scott and Liakhovic were real fighters, so I started to pay attention. And then he got a title shot against Bermane Stiverne, a fighter who had already earned my respect by besting Chris Arreola twice. He beat Stiverne, going the distance for the first time in his career, out-boxing the champ for twelve rounds. Critics still said he had bad technique, that he was just a no-talent clubber. To them I say “Let’s see you get in a ring with Bermane Stiverne. Show me how it’s done”.
Yeah, that’s what I thought.
Since then, the level of his competition has risen dramatically. His last nine opponents have a combined record of 253 – 13. He isn’t ducking anybody. He fought Szpilka, Arreola, Breazeale. Gerald Washington was ahead in the fight when Wilder knocked him out. He even fought that great chub-hugger Fury. Knocked his ass out, too, (though all the fans of fake boxing say Fury was robbed.)
I know, there was shade thrown his way for not fighting Joshua when he apparently had a chance. But Joshua, instead of continuing to negotiate with Wilder, (as we all wanted to see those two fight), went a different route, the wanker’s route, and got knocked out. Now he is in real danger of becoming irrelevant.
It’s still possible for them to make a mega-fight. Supposing that Joshua wins the rematch against Ruiz, (in my mind a 50/50 proposition) and Wilder gets past Ortiz and his rematch with Fury, then Wilder / Joshua would be a pay-per-view.
But if Ruiz wins the rematch, the road to another title fight becomes long and treacherous for Joshua, winding it’s way past Pulev, Kownacki, Miller, hell – even Usyk.
As for Ortiz, the man is a wrecking ball, like David Tua or Samuel Peter. Danger in both fists.
I can’t wait.
My prediction? The odds makers favor Wilder, and I agree. Wilder will probably win. All it takes is one good punch though. If Ortiz catches him…