Wednesday, 19 July 2017 00:23

Wilder vs Ortiz on tap: The perfect complement to Joshua vs Klitschko 2

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Per, WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) will likely face Cuban wrecking machine Luis Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs, 2 NC) in the fall.

Although negotiations aren't quite final, November 4 is the target date, Barclays Center in Brooklyn is the anticipated venue and Showtime is the presumed network.

Wilder and Ortiz have a combined record of 65-0 - 60 KO and 2 NC and is one of the best match-ups in heavyweight boxing.

Ortiz has been the WBA's mandatory contender for quite some time and several months ago FightSaga accurately predicted the winner of the April 29th WBA/IBF showdown between Wladimir Klitschko would face each other in a rematch or relinquish the WBA strap to avoid facing Ortiz.

And in defense of Wlad and Joshua, the well-preserved 38-year-old southpaw is probably the last fella a heavyweight star would want to face after winning a high-profile superfight.

Credit to Wilder, the WBC Champion, for stepping up.

A veteran of a reported 362 amateur fights, Ortiz sported a 343-19 pre-professional career record, learning his craft from Cuba's top trainers. And yes, he's 38 but might as well be 28 because he turned pro in 2010 and has had only 29 pro fights.

Ranked No. 3 in the world in the heavyweight division by BoxRec, the 6'4" Cuban floored tough and durable Tony Thompson (then 40-7, 23 KO) three times with well-timed overhand lefts, winning a sixth-round TKO in March 2015.

It was an impressive exhibit for the big southpaw who HBO's Max Kellerman labeled the 'best heavyweight in the world.'

Wilder vs Joshua won't generate the fanfare of Klitschko vs Joshua 2 but it'll be almost as significant to the landscape of the division. And the match-up itself is every bit as intriguing.

Wilder's critics
Deontay Wilder, despite his awesome record of 38-0, 37 KOs has his share of naysayers who insist he hasn't faced a name opponent or a truly elite-level heavyweight.

That will change.

Let's rewind back to January 2015.

The then-twenty-nine year old 6'7" was 32-0 with 32 knockouts and the hottest fighter in the division.

Not only had Wilder knocked out all of his opponents, he'd done so within four rounds. None of his 32 foes had seen Round 5. And although Wilder vs Stiverne was a ratings success and Deontay would claim the WBC title, he was also taken the distance for the first time in his career. 

Tyson vs Berbick, it wasn't. 

Wilder looked very good, but not great.

Since that bout, the charismatic, extremely gifted Wilder has witnessed a drop in stock despite keeping his undefeated record intact. Staying relatively active until the middle of 2016, he's made successful title defenses against Chris Arreola, Artur Szpilka, Johann Duhaupas, Eric Molina and Gerald Washington, and has stopped them all inside the distance despite looking human uncharacteristically human at times.


Heavyweight Ratings 
July 2017

19-0-0 (19 KOS)

38-0-0 (37 KOS)

64-5-0 (53 KOS)

25-1-0 (13 KOS)

27-0-0 (23 KOS)


Deontay Wilder is the most explosive heavyweight in the world and to see him match-up with another heavyweight, a Mack truck with an equal or greater pedigree, would truly be an amazing spectacle should it happen.

My top five heavyweights (in no order) are: Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua, Wladimir Klitschko, Luis Ortiz and Alexander Povetkin. (Tyson Fury is far from active)

Wilder vs Ortiz is the perfect complement to Klitschko vs Joshua 2 because, in the opinion of many, those fighters represent 4 of the top 5 active heavyweights in the world, taking us a step closer to a concensus champion. 

And should the winner of the above bouts face each other in 2018, the victor would likely be the consensus heavyweight champion of the world.


Leroy Cleveland

Lee is Managing Editor of, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.