THERE was a undeniable case of shoulda, woulda, coulda last March when Cuban heavyweight Luis Ortiz appeared to let Deontay Wilder off the hook at the midway point of their dramatic WBC title fight in New York. On the verge of a shock stoppage win, the ageing underdog rocked Wilder more than once, seemed to have him out on his feet, and yet ended up letting the American recover and get back into fight.
Finally, in round 10, it was Ortiz who found himself on the receiving end; it was Ortiz who found himself dropped and stopped.
Now, 12 months later, Ortiz is preparing for a fight against Christian Hammer but remains hellbent on securing a rematch with Wilder, if not on May 18, the date of the champion’s next fight, then later in the year.
“I want to be world champion,” said Ortiz, 30-1 (26). “I’m going to go in there on Saturday (March 2) and put on a performance that gets me another shot at the title. I’ve been preparing to be explosive on Saturday night.
“I have a very strong and durable opponent. I know he can go 12 rounds with a top fighter, like he did with Alexander Povetkin, so we’re not taking any chances. I’m not Povetkin, though, so he’s not going the distance with me. Our strategy going into a fight is always the same. Get into the best shape, do our job and, when the knockout comes, blast him through the ring.
“Whoever they put in front of me, I’m going to go in there and try to knock them out. I’m not going to change for anyone. If fighters avoid me, there’s nothing I can do about it. If there is a chance to rematch Deontay Wilder, that’s the fight I want. That’s the fight to make. I want to give the fans the fights they want.”
Although Wilder’s December fight with Fury received all the plaudits, and was considered one of the best fights of 2018, it’s fair to say Wilder vs. Ortiz was the true heavyweight classic of that calendar year. For that reason alone, it should probably happen again.
In other heavyweight news, British prospect Daniel Dubois might only be 21 years of age, and might currently be preparing for a fight against Razvan Cojanu on March 8 at Royal Albert Hall, but that doesn’t mean he is looking to take his time, nor avoid domestic opposition.
Dereck Chisora, in fact, the former world heavyweight title challenger who has shared a ring with Tyson Fury, David Haye and Dillian Whyte, is one man Dubois, 9-0 (8), sees himself opposing later this year.
Speaking on The Boxing Podcast, the softly-spoken Londoner said: “I think that’s a good fight in a few months’ time. I think they’re not too far off. I keep saying this, but, they’re not too far off, these fighters.
“I think a few good, consistent performances and I’ll be in there with the likes of the Chisoras. I’ve really just got to focus, keep working hard and stay on my A-game.”
Dubois is a man of few words, yes, but, at the rate he is going, it won’t be long before he is making noise in the competitive if shallow heavyweight division and, yes, fighting the likes of Dereck Chisora.