WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder makes the 10th defence of his title when he meets former foe, Luis Ortiz, in a rematch of their March 2018 encounter. They will meet on November 23rd at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
In their first fight, Ortiz made a solid start and was ahead by the end of 4 rounds, but Wilder started to land his more powerful shots in the 5th which resulted in a knockdown. Ortiz got up and came straight back with his heavy southpaw jab but Wilder was now looking to finish matters with his wild but hurtful right-hand swings.
Wilder had to come through a difficult 7th round when Ortiz landed a hard counter left hook that had the champion holding on to survive until the end of the round, and without the bell ringing when it did we might have seen the big Cuban crowned champion. But Wilder came out for the 8th looking like he had recovered during the break.
What started as a cagey battle of the jab and long backhand boxing was now a last man standing shootout and both hurt and rocked one another until the 10th round when Wilder floored a tired-looking Ortiz. "King Kong" as the Cuban is known, made it to his feet but Wilder finished the fight with a third knockdown which persuaded the referee to save Ortiz from further punishment.
Since they met Wilder has had a draw with Tyson Fury and a 1st round knockout of mandatory contender Dominic Breazeale compared to Ortiz's 2nd round Ko of Razvan Kojanu, a 10th round stoppage of Traffis Kauffman and a 10 round unanimous decision win over Christian Hammer.
The feeling going into the rematch is that team Wilder believes that the 40-year-old Cuban has reached the peak of his powers and is now on the slide. If so then Wilder can end their rivalry conclusively before facing Fury for the second time in 2020.
Heavyweight boxing is always unpredictable when you have two heavy hitters in the ring, a point that Ortiz proved in their first fight. While the ringside judges had Wilder in a narrow lead when the fight ended, many observers thought that Ortiz was leading, so these two are well-matched and could produce a second shootout.
I think Wilder is the one that is fighting at his peak and it was him that called for this fight so I believe he will prevail in a more dominant fashion this time around.
Prediction: Wilder to win by stoppage by the halfway mark.