Wilder vs Ortiz 2: Was the 10 count fair?

Lee Cleveland Updated
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Ahead on all scorecards, heavyweight challenger Luis Ortiz was knocked out by WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in Round 7 of their rematch Saturday night.

Or was he?

Ortiz was wasted from a big right hand from Wilder and subsequently struggled to make it to his feet as the referee reached the 10 count.

"This is boxing," said Ortiz via BoxingScene.com. "I said that one of us was going to get knocked out and it wasn't going to go 12 rounds. I was clear headed when I hit the canvas. When I heard the referee say seven I was trying to get up, but I guess the count went a little quicker than I thought."

Deontay Wilder KO 7 Luis Ortiz
Wilder vs Ortiz 2
Wilder retains WBC heavyweight title
November 23, 2019
Las Vegas, NV

.. "I got caught with a big shot and I have to give Deontay Wilder a lot of credit... I thought I was up by the count and could have continued."

Was Luis Ortiz up by 10?

Technically, no.

According to my timer, his gloves were still on the canvas at 11.5 seconds. But when a fighter is floored, the referee's count is the only timer that matters. And a replay shows he lifted his gloves off the canvas and rose just as Referee Kenny Bayliss hit 10.

Tough call.

Let's not forget time in Round 7 ran out during the count (and the referee is responsible for knowing when there's 30 seconds or fewer remaining in a round).

Hence, Ortiz would have had a minute to regain his composure.

And remember, when Wilder first floored Ortiz in Wilder vs Ortiz 1, the latter would regain his composure and come back to nearly get a KO of his own.

The above stated, Bayliss was certainly well within his right to stop Wilder vs Ortiz 2 after that vicious knockdown.

After all, Ortiz was on the canvas a bit over 11 seconds, was clearly hurt and barley beat the count at best. However, given it was a heavyweight title fight and Ortiz was clearly winning, Bayliss could have administered a sobriety test of sorts to Luis before deciding to wave the fight off.

Sometimes, at the conclusion of a count, the referee will take a few steps back and ask the floored fighter to walk to him. And sometimes the referee will ask a few questions such as, 'Are you alright' and "Do you want to continue?'

Body language says a lot and it's not difficult to decipher when a fighter can't - or doesn't want - to continue fighting.

Let's go back to Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr in June. Ruiz rocked Joshua in Round 7, dropping him twice in the round and for the fourth time in the bout. Although Joshua beat the count after the final knockdown and replied in the affirmative when the referee asked him if he wanted to continue, AJ's body language told a different story as he chose to lean on the ropes instead of walk to the center of the ring.

The referee stopped the fight and made the correct call.

Would Ruiz have been so adamant about wanting to continue had he been given the same benefit of the doubt as Joshua? And would have Luis even been able to adequately defend himself after a minute respite had he been allowed to continue?

In all, even though Referee Bayliss probably should have given Luis a sobriety test (especially given time in the round had run out), a strong argument could be made Ref Bayliss made the correct decision in Wilder vs Ortiz 2.

It's easy for us to say Bayliss should have given Ortiz the benefit of the doubt but hindsight is 20/20 and we're not standing directly in front of Ortiz and evaluating his eyes or balance.

"Deontay showed great will and I'm not ashamed with my performance," Ortiz said via BoxingScene.com. I know I can beat anyone in the heavyweight division. My career is not over. I'm going to work my way back into a big fight."

If you were the referee, how would you have ruled?


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