REVENGE was going to be sweet for Luis Ortiz. After having Deontay Wilder in all sorts of trouble in the seventh round of their first fight in March last year, Ortiz ended up succumbing to Wilder’s bone-rattling power in the 10th. This time seemed different, though. In the initial meeting, Ortiz had hit the deck in round five and Wilder had enjoyed clear periods of success. Not so in the rematch.
After six completed rounds at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, it was almost impossible to have the fight scored anything other than a whitewash in favour of Ortiz – forget how the judges had it. The classy Cuban southpaw, even at his advance age, was looking light on his feet as he dictated the distance and controlled the tempo. His left hand was a continual menace to Wilder, who appeared wary to let his own shots go in response – pawing jabs that largely fell short were all he could muster.
The first two minutes and 50 seconds of the seventh panned out in much the same manner as what had come before. Ortiz’s intelligent footwork brought him into range to land a solid combination, and it looked like another round in the bag for the veteran challenger, whose dream of becoming WBC heavyweight champion was seemingly edging closer. Then, it happened – Wilder’s great equaliser came to the fore.