Luis Ortiz was winning the fight, to most eyes, and making fools of pundits who declared him ready for blue plate specials and mall walks for fitness. Until he wasn't winning, and his eyeballs were wobbling after a Deontay Wilder right hand, following a freeze-you-up paw jab, splattered his senses.
Wilder can do that to you, and you have to fight a perfect fight, all 3 of 12, to get the W.
Ortiz, age 40, didn't, because in round seven, he got a mite too aggressive, Wilder saw it, and pounced.
Or punched, rather; the right hand came after a paw jab, which made Ortiz lean a bit to his right, to slip it.
He got smashed with the freight-train right, which exploded on his face, sending sweat pellets (and brain cells?) flying into the first row at the MGM in Las Vegas, on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019.
Kenny Bayless counted, reaching ten as Ortiz went from his back to sit up position, to getting to his knees and trying to use his arms to push himself… and Wilder added another KO to his resume.
He is among the baddest men on the planet, insofar as this: he can separate you from your senses with a single punch better than any living being.
Here is the release the promotion sent out:
LAS VEGAS (November 24, 2019) – WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder continued his title reign with a one-punch knockout victory over Luis “King Kong” Ortiz in the seventh round of their rematch Saturday night that headlined a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Wilder made his 10th consecutive successful title defense, tying him with Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Larry Holmes, Tommy Burns and Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko as the only heavyweight champions to achieve that feat.
In a rematch of their epic 2018 fight that saw Wilder rally back from nearly being stopped to knock out Ortiz in round 10, the fight again saw both men hold the momentum of the fight at different times.
Ortiz controlled much of the action of the fight as he sought to become the first Cuban heavyweight champion in history. Wilder was not very active in the early rounds, while Ortiz was able to effectively jab, move and throw overhand lefts to rack up rounds on the scorecard.
“With Ortiz, you can see why no other heavyweight wants to fight him,” said Wilder. “He's very crafty, he moves strategically and his intellect is very high. I had to measure him in certain places.”
Much of Wilder's attack throughout the first six rounds was centered on his jab and a sweeping left hook that didn't seem to land cleanly until early in round seven. With the seventh round waning, Wilder used a feint and a straight right cross to put Ortiz down, the first time he had been hurt at all in the fight.
“I had to go in and out and finally I found my measurement,” said Wilder. “I saw the shot and I took it. My intellect is very high in the ring and no one gives me credit for me. I think I buzzed him with a left hook earlier in the round and I took it from there.”
While Ortiz was able to get to his feet, referee Kenny Bayless waived off the bout at 2:51 into the seventh round. Ortiz led on all three scorecards, by margins of 58-56 and 59-55 twice. According to CompuBox, Ortiz out landed Wilder 35 to 34, with a 28 to 17 advantage in power punches.
“This is boxing,” said Ortiz. “I said that one of us was going to get knocked out and it wasn't going to go 12 rounds. I was clear headed when I hit the canvas. When I heard the referee say seven I was trying to get up, but I guess the count went a little quicker than I thought.
“This was a great fight and I thought I was clearly winning,” continued Ortiz. “I got caught with a big shot and I have to give Deontay Wilder a lot of credit. I knew my movement was giving him problems. I landed some big shots and I thought I had him hurt. I thought I was up by the count and could have continued.”
In the ring following the fight, Ortiz asserted that he will continue his quest for a heavyweight championship.
“Deontay showed great will and I'm not ashamed with my performance,” said Ortiz. “I know I can beat anyone in the heavyweight division. My career is not over. I'm going to work my way back into a big fight.”
After the fight, Wilder told FOX Sports' Heidi Androl that his goal is to unify the heavyweight division and become undisputed champion.
“Next, we have Tyson Fury in the rematch,” said Wilder.” It's scheduled for February, so we'll see. Then, I want unification. I want one champion, one face and one heavyweight champion – Deontay Wilder. The heavyweight division is too small, there should be one champion and it's Deontay Wilder.”
In the co-main event, Leo “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs) became a four-division world champion by capturing the WBA Super Featherweight with a unanimous decision over Miguel Flores (24-3, 12 KOs).
“Winning this title means the world to me,” said Santa Cruz. “This is all for the fans who support me. I didn't feel myself today and didn't perform the way I wanted to. I'm going to get back in the gym and get a big fight in 2020.”
The action began to heat up in round three, as Santa Cruz began to find a home for his straight right hand that would help him control much of the remainder of the fight. Flores adjusted and used more movement to try to counteract Santa Cruz's aggression and also focused on countering those right hands with body shots.
“I'm glad I got the victory,” said Santa Cruz. “Miguel is a good fighter, he gave me a tough fight and he proved he's not a pushover. We put on a great battle.”
“It was a good fight and I showed I belong at this level,” said Flores. “I just went 12 rounds with Leo Santa Cruz. It's not an accomplishment in itself but I slowed down his pace. Like I said before, it's not only about throwing punches, but it's about ring IQ and I showed I have it.”
Despite Flores' tactics, Santa Cruz was able to stay in control and frustrate his opponent. Flores was deducted a point by referee Tony Weeks in round eight due to excessive holding during the many exchanges.
Santa Cruz held the edge in punches landed at 253 to 222, while Flores threw more punches than Santa Cruz by a tally of 1024 to 907.
“It was a close fight and I didn't think he was landing too much,” said Flores. “He was busy but he wasn't landing too many shots. I landed cleaner harder shots but he was just busier.”
Flores continued to try to rough up Santa Cruz and accidentally hit him with a headbutt in the ninth round that opened up a cut over Santa Cruz's left eye. The four-division champion was able to weather that cut and finished strong on his way to a unanimous decision by scores of 115-112 and 117-110 twice.
“I want to stay at 130,” said Santa Cruz. “We want the big fights in 2020. I want Gervonta Davis or Gary Russell Jr. I want to show the world I'm not scared of anybody.”