The late trainer Emmanuel Lewis predicted that Deontay Wilder would rise to the heavyweight championship. Hes done that and then some. Hes still searching for the glamour, fame and respect that traditionally came with being heavyweight champ — before The Klitschko Brothers ended Americas infatuation with boxing in that division.
On Saturday, Wilder AKA King Kong AKA Bronze Bomber will continue to build on his highly impressive, but still low profile resume by making the seventh title defense of the WBC Heavyweight Championship at his home away from home, Barclays Center against undefeated Luis Ortiz (28-0, 24 KO).
Heavyweight Champ @BronzeBomber is no stranger to winning, but what are his keys to defeating dangerous Cuban southpaw Luis Ortiz? https://t.co/Q3c747mYFZ
Wilder has been waiting for this opportunity for a while as a couple of his scheduled opponents failed drug tests for banned substances. In fact, Oritiz has failed multiple drug tests in recent years, something Wilder admitted to not knowing before he signed the fight. Unphased and under the circumstances, Wilder has said that he is calling this fight Man vs. Machine.
Thirty-nine pugilists have tried to defeat Wilder, but they all have failed. In an age when boxings heavyweight champion – once the most popular position in professional sports – is unrecognizable to most casual sports fans, Wilder continues to give hope to the revival of boxings most prominent weight class.
(HD) A Tribute Video Showing Almost All of Deontay Wilder’s Knockouts. @FutureMVP_ Made by Jamal Ofori
He has been saying the same thing ever since he sat down with me in the The Shadow League offices on the verge of his historical fight against Artur Szpilka in 2016 at Brooklyns Barclays Center, which kicked off the 30th anniversary of Showtime Boxing.
I always say Im the best. I always say Im the most dangerous fighter, Wilder told ESPN this morning. I always say I’m the king of the heavyweight division. The baddest man on the planet. Thus far I haven’t gotten my full credit…my due respect and credit from the world.
The chosen one from Tuscaloosa, Alabama isnt blowing up the box office yet, but he makes history almost every time he steps in the ring. He was the last American man to win an Olympic boxing medal before Nico Hernandez went to Rio and earned the U.S. its first Olympic medal in mens boxing in eight years. In 2015, Wilder became the first American to claim the heavyweight championship since Brooklyns Shannon Briggs did it in 2007.
His arch nemesis is British WBA champion Anthony Joshua, widely considered the only guy who has the skills to match Wilders immense boxing talents. Joshua rose to prominence when he stopped ‘Dr Steelhammer’ in the 11th round of the WBA title fight in front of 90,000 at Wembley Stadium in London in a hard-fought bout in which both fighters ate canvas. He essentially sent Wladimir Klitschko into retirement.
Klitschko was a champion who ruled the heavyweight division for almost a decade and is behind only the great Joe Louis as the second-longest serving heavyweight champion of all time having enjoyed 18 consecutive defences over that span. Louis had 26 title defences between 1937 and 1949.
Its a matchup that folks say can save the heavyweight division and bring prominence, attractiveness, meaning and interest back to the title. But before that occurs Wilder has one more tree to chop down.
I can’t wait to get in the ring with this guy because Ortiz has been one of those fighters with that (respected) Cuban background and hes schooled in 300 ameteur fights and a lot of guys have avoided him… even champions have avoided him, so Im doing the champion a favor right now by taking out the trash, ” Wilder said on a recent radio interview.
Fear is what Wilder instills in his opponents. His 19 first-round KOs and his two Premier Boxing Champions “Knockout of the Year awards speak to his vicious approach and destructive nature. Ortiz will give Wilder a run for his money, but he will eventually fall victim to Wilders stamina, athleticism and unrelenting power. Wilder is already looking ahead to the Anthony Joshua fight, but according to Wilder, Joshua has some serious cold feet.
From the office of #BombZquad https://t.co/WYTHxiOjr7
It’s been crazy trying to make this fight with Joshua and his team. Theyve been avoiding me for years…I been calling this man out for almost two years now.
Joshua, who holds the IBF and WBA title belts, has said that he will fight Wilder after he dispenses WBO champ Kiwi Parker., setting up an historical unification bout for the ages.
Speaking on the Graham Norton show, Joshua said of his next opponent after Parker: “Deontay Wilder, hes got a big mouth.
“This is the plan next, this is when the guys where I grew up can get to Vegas and have a good time and watch a bit of boxing as well.”
Its going to happen eventually and right now Ortiz is just another stepping stone in Wilders rise to heavyweight title unification and American supremacy reinstated in the sport.