UNBEATEN heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz is finally nearing his first world title opportunity as he prepares to take on WBC heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder Saturday, March 3 live on SHOWTIME from the Barclays Center.
The Premier Boxing Champions event will see undefeated former 154-pound champion Jermall Charlo take on Hugo Centeno Jr. for the interim WBC middleweight title in the co-feature. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT with top super middleweight contender Andre Dirrell battling hard-hitting Jose Uzcategui in a rematch for the IBF Interim 168-pound world title.
Ortiz spoke on a variety of topics as he heads into the highly anticipated showdown with Wilder. Here is what Ortiz had to say from training camp in Miami:
On Deontay Wilder
“He’s talking too much. He’s going to have to back that up in the ring. He says he’s going to kill ‘King Kong.’ He’s going to knock me out. I want to watch him try. I’m not like those other guys he fought. I’m a real fighter. Tough and with a lot of experience. I’ve been fighting since I was 10 years old.
“He doesn’t intimidate me. His trash talk makes me laugh. It’s just a lot of noise. I’m hungry. I’m doing this for my family. He better take me seriously because he’s going to find himself on the canvas before he knows it. I’m going to show the world who ‘King Kong’ is.”
On his confrontation with Wilder after Ortiz’s last fight
“Someone told me Wilder was in the crowd, I smiled. I was glad to see him. I knew what he wanted.
“I’m not the kind that likes to trash talk, but I’ve had it with this guy. He talks too much. He has a big mouth. He has insulted me and has said too many dumb things. So when I saw him ringside I told him to get inside the ring and to tell the world once and for all that he was going to fight me. He says he wants to fight the top fighters. I’m a top fighter. Let’s do it.”
On testing positive for a banned substance during training for the first scheduled fight against Wilder
“A lot of people that believe in me and know me well, know that I would not do anything that can jeopardize my future as a boxer. I have too much at stake: my family, my children and the possibility to provide for them.
“I had been taking that medicine for two years. It was my mistake not to disclose that prescription drug in the paperwork. I never thought a prescription was going to bring me so much trouble. I was taking this medicine to treat high blood pressure, but apparently it’s also used to go to the bathroom a lot and mask other things. I drink two gallons of water per day. I go to the bathroom a lot already. I never put two and two together. I’m clean. The dose they found in my system was too low to mask anything at all. If I would have known this prescription drug was not allowed, I would have told my trainer and my doctor.
“I’m a heavyweight I don’t need to make weight. Why am I going to go to the trouble of taking an illegal substance that makes you go to the bathroom a lot? I have no need. I simply didn’t know it was banned. If I would have known, I would have said something to my trainer or to the doctors.
“I think the fight was not meant to be at that point in time last year. Destiny played a part. It was supposed to be postponed. Now there are no excuses.”
On how important this fight is for him
“Every fight I’ve had in my career has been important. The key is always to avoid thinking that it’s win or die because that can put you off center. So the way I see it is that this fight is important for me because I have to win it. And I’m going to. It’s a world championship, but for me it’s just another day at work. My only goal is to win this fight. Win. Win. Win. By winning this fight, everything else unfolds. I get a title and I help my family.”
On what’s going to happen on fight night
“When I get in the ring, all I will be thinking about is the strategy we put together in the gym. My family is always there. They go to every fight. That was my promise to them when I had to leave them behind in Cuba to come to the United States. They will come with me wherever I go. If I gas out, I look at them and they keep me going. They are my motivation and they will help me achieve this victory.”