“You know what happened to King Kong in New York, right?”
–Deontay Wilder, unbeaten and defiant WBC world heavyweight champion
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Oh yes, we know what happened to King Kong. His big ass scaled the Empire State Building causing massive mayhem until he was literally gunned down. Of course, this very much applies to a very modern version of the menacing beast in the form of feared heavyweight, Luis Ortiz aka “King Kong”.
What remains to be seen is whether or not Wilder (38-0, 37KOs) can actually do this to the standout amateur Cuban great who has terrorized the heavyweight division since bolting Cuba for heavyweight supremacy. In Ortiz, Wilder boldly chose to forego an unnecessary rematch with Haiti's Bermane Stiverne or a match-up with the oft dirty PED magnet Alexander Povetkin, preferring instead, to award an often dirty Ortiz himself a challenge to silence his many critics.
Looking like a chiseled boxing version of Shaquille O'Neal who invaded the wardrobe of Tony Montana's “Scarface,” Wilder took to the podium like a crime boss eager to give the media an old-school beating with his WBC belt for foolishness. In the process, he fired shots at a listening Kong, to remind him that he is far from a damsel in distress.
“There's a lot of writers running their mouths and printing things, saying shit on the internet they won't say to my face. A lot of you are in here right now,” barked Wilder, not even close to warmed up. He had a lot to say, but it was hard to top a prediction that felt more like an edict.
“For all the naysayers, when I do defeat him– when I knock him out, I want all of my well earned respect. Just give me my due. And put some more fuel to the fire while you're at it, because I'm going to whoop Luis Ortiz's ass. I'm thinking maybe three rounds. In fact, don't be surprised if it takes just one round.”
Shit is real when it comes to how Wilder is portrayed. New York's own Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller has been a vocal critic of the champion, openly referring to the Bomb Squad boss as ‘garbage'. Would be contenders to the throne like British badass Dillian White sing a tune characterizing the KO artist from Tuscaloosa, AL as ‘Beyoncé Wilder'; more or less, a creation who's benefitted from a bevy of what many deride as “Bums”. The champion does read the press clippings and personally got on the phone with Al Haymon to go after Ortiz.
Many among the American boxing media, quite a few of them present at the Dream Hotel in Manhattan for Wednesday's presser to formally announce the November 4 showdown at Barclays Center, see Wilder as a pugilistic afterthought in comparison to the likes of Anthony Joshua or Ortiz. But what particularly pisses off Wilder, is a general lack of regard from the public as a result of the media– something he vows to do something about.
Brooklyn based promoter Lou DiBella set a scorching introductory tone for Wilder, reminding the American press of its own bias concerning the champion and how eager he himself is for Wilder to prove himself. Dibella told us to ‘give [Wilder] credit right now for taking this fight' because ‘this is some crazy shit'.
Indeed it is. There is absolutely no doubt that beyond Anthony Joshua, “King Kong” is the most threatening specter in the division. After a brief tenure with Golden Boy, Ortiz joined forces with Al Haymon in late March and was expected to appear on the April 22 undercard of Shawn Porter V Andre Berto against New York's own Derrick Rossy. Things fell apart when Ortiz injured his right thumb just days before the bout.
Ortiz was last seen bludgeoning promoter Eddie Hearn's brash British heavyweight David Allen via 7th round TKO in London last December. Prior to that, he went a dreadful 12 rounds with the walking dead Malik Scott in Monte Carlo. It is this bout that has some convinced as to why Wilder took this fight, believing that if former KO victim Scott can find a way to extend Ortiz, he can stretch him. Nevertheless, “Kong” is (by all reports) in fine form physically and respectful of Wilder, though he does expect to destroy him.
“Look, Wilder is not there for nothing. There's no way he's a bad boxer so the critics are wrong,' said Kong, over the phone from a remote location. ‘He wouldn't be where he's at, the champ of the world, if he was a bad boxer or a bum. But this time he fucked up.”
We will see.