Deontay Wilder Enters The Proving Ground
By Hector Franco | Senior Writer and Editor
Published: March 01, 2018
This weekend the first step towards what fans hope will end up as a heavyweight unification bout for all four major titles. WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (39-0, 30 KOs) will defend his title against undefeated Cuban heavyweight Luis Ortiz (28-0, 24 KOs). A bout between the two men was initially to take place this past November. The fight was canceled after Ortiz failed a drug test for a banned substance that was found in his blood pressure medication.
Instead, Wilder fought a rematch against the only opponent to go the distance with him in Bermane Stiverne. That night Wilder made quick work of Stiverne scoring a highlight reel knockout in the first round. Wilder made a statement in stopping Stiverne in the fashion that he did. The victory was an emotional one for the Alabama native as he is always in the position of having to prove himself. Despite winning a bronze Olympic gold medal in the 2008 Olympic games, Wilder did not have a highly decorated amateur career. The Alabama native seems to be a constant work in progress, having started his boxing career at an older age (19) than most. For the majority of his career, Wilder has had just as many skeptics and doubters as believers.
From the outside, Wilder has many flaws that could be taken advantage of by an elite fighter. Throughout boxing history, there are have been certain fighters who despite some technical deficiencies can supersede conventional wisdom with their unique style and physical gifts. Fighters like Muhammad Ali, Roy Jones Jr., and Manny Pacquiao did not fit into the mold of your typical boxer. Each one of them at times boxed in a certain way, that would lead to reprimanding by most boxing trainers. Wilder at this time has not proved to be a fighter on the same level as those all-time greats. However, he does represent a unique conundrum for many in his division.
At his best Wilder is a fighter that can knock you out with either hand and equipped with one of the best jabs in the sport. Ortiz will attempt to capitalize on any mistakes the WBC champion makes. Since Ortiz’s impressive performance over Bryant Jennings in December 2015, he has had a mixed bag of performances. The Cuban is at a disadvantage in age at 38 years old and may be facing Wilder at the wrong time. However, Ortiz like Wilder is also a devastating puncher. The Cuban may find success if he can land on Wilder as many have pointed to the WBC champion having a less than stellar chin.
In October 2010, journeyman Harold Sconiers knocked Wilder down. Footage of the bout and knockdown have been scrubbed out of existence. With Ortiz’s amateur background garnering him a reported record of 343-19 and his vaunted punching power, he could easily have his hand raised in victory against Wilder.
If Wilder scores a stoppage over Ortiz, it will be considered the most significant victory of his career. A win will only enhance the anticipation for a bout with WBA and IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. For many, no matter what Wilder does he will not be good enough for them. On Saturday, Wilder will once again step inside the proving grounds to get one step closer to earning the recognition as the best heavyweight in the world.
(Feature Photo: Getty Images)