By Dean Berman: Deontay Wilder will be defending his WBC heavyweight championship against Luis Ortiz in a rematch on Fox Sports PBC Pay-Per-View on November 23 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The fun begins at 9:00 p.m., ET. The decision to make the Wilder-Ortiz 2 rematch a pay-per-view card is not a popular one with the boxing public, since many fans don’t view this as a PPV worthy fight.
Wilder already knocked out Ortiz in 2018, and the Cuban fighter hasn’t beaten anyone special since then. Ortiz has won his last three fights against Razvan Cojanu, Travis Kauffman and Christian Hammer. However, those aren’t talented heavyweights.
This is a good stay busy fight for Wilder while he waits for his February 22 rematch against lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in Las Vegas. Ortiz is the best available opponent for Wilder right now. All the top fighters are currently busy.
Wilder giving Ortiz a rematch
This is a rematch from last year’s fights between Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) and Ortiz (31-1, 26 KOs) that ended with Deontay scoring a 10th round knockout. Due to the combination of excitement and controversy surroundings that fight, the two fighters decided to do it again. Wilder was almost knocked out in the 7th round by Ortiz a year ago.
Some boxing fans think Wilder would have been stopped had the start of the 8th round not been delayed. It’s a kind gesture on Wilder’s part in giving Ortiz a rematch, because he didn’t need to do this. He already stopped Ortiz, and it’s not required that Wilder giving him a rematch.
Santa Cruz fights Flores for the WBA title at super featherweight
In the co-feature bout on the November 23 card, Leo Santa Cruz (36-1-1, 19 KOs) will be moving up in weight to fight for the vacant WBA 130-lb belt against Miguel Flores (24-2, 12 KOs). Santa Cruz leaves behind the featherweight division where he held the WBA title in search for his 4th division world title. Besides his title, Santa Cruz walks away from WBC champion Gary Russell Jr. who wants to fight him. Santa Cruz doesn’t fancy the fight, so he’s moving up in weight to fight Flores, who has lost a couple of fights recently to Nat Nguyen and Chris Avalos. The boxing public is less than thrilled at the news of Santa Cruz taking on Flores for the WBA super featherweight title due to several reasons:
- Flores has lost 2 out of his last 4 fights
- WBA already has a super featherweight champion in Andrew Cancio
- Santa Cruz receiving a challenge from Russell Jr. The way Santa Cruz is walking away from that challenge, the perception is he’s ducking Russell Jr.
Wilder facing the avoided Ortiz
The top fighters in the heavyweight division have avoided Luis Ortiz like the plague over the years. Even now that he’s 40, he’s still being avoided by the top dogs. He’s one of those fighters that is more trouble than he’s worth. For a of the elite heavyweights, they act as if Ortiz isn’t there. When they talk about wanting to fight the best fighters, they conveniently fail to mention Ortiz’s name. That’s not by accident. Ortiz is a tough nut to crack, and most of the top heavyweights don’t want to take that risk.
“When I fought Ortiz not only did he have the pedigree, but also he had the classification of being the boogeyman of the division,” said Wilder. “I agree with those who say that Luis Ortiz was my toughest fight to date.”
This fight should close the door on the Wilder vs. Ortiz rivalry. Wilder needs to move on to bigger and better things against the Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz Jr. rematch, a well as his rematch against Tyson Fury.
IT’S ON. AGAIN.🥊
— FOX Sports: PBC (@PBConFOX) September 28, 2019