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The Comeback Kid! Deontay Wilder storms back in a classic against Luis Ortiz to retain WBC World Title

It was a back and forth fight between two great fighters, but it was Wilder who walked out the winner

Deontay Wilder’s mantra is speak it, believe it, see it. One of the hardest-working men in and out of boxing, he knew he had to walk into the Barclays Center and put on a performance he and the crowd would never forget. What ended up happening between him and Luis Ortiz could only be described as a true masterpiece. In a slugfest that lasted ten rounds, Wilder defeated Ortiz via knockout to retain the WBC World Heavyweight Title.

Where do we even start with this one?

It was a tale of two attitudes for both Wilder (40-0, 39 KO’s) and Ortiz (28-1, 2 NC). The challenger came down to the ring with an Ivan Drago, “I Must Break You” t-shirt. The champ? He walked out with Lil’ Kim and a “King of Wakanda” shirt, playing off of the success of the Black Panther movie. As the introductions were over, the crowd could feel something special was about to happen.

Round one was a feeling out process by both men, with Wilder not going for the kill early. That definitely surprised the camp of Ortiz, who was ready if that was to happen. Wilder’s reach advantage helped, but it wasn’t a huge factor for the first few rounds. While heavy shots were thrown, there were no key highlights to start, making the crowd in Brooklyn restless. At least they weren’t throwing around beach balls.

By round four, you could tell that Wilder had a strategy in place. Ortiz played the aggressor, especially in the fourth and fifth rounds. He took matters into his own hands, hitting Wilder with everything he had. Wilder woke up, however, if only for a brief moment and hit a KO punch in the fifth to wake the crowd up. By that point, you could say the fight had “officially” begun. A barrage of punches was being thrown by both men, and everything was finally starting to come together.

And then round seven happened.

Reminiscent of the first few rounds, nothing was happening until the last few minutes. A back and forth affair was brought down from the heavens, until Ortiz got his chance. He kept on hitting shot after shot on Wilder, with only the ropes keeping the champion together. Wilder was literally saved by the bell as the eighth round was coming up. It did him no favors, however, as Ortiz just kept on flying towards him, hitting transition body and head shots. Wilder didn’t stand a chance, until he did.

Luis Ortiz made the mistake of not finishing off Deontay Wilder for good. By round nine, Wilder had another life. Something snapped that reawakened him, allowing him to throw hard punches towards the end of round nine into round ten. At one point, Wilder’s shots knocked Ortiz to the ground so hard it almost looked like the champion shoved him. Ortiz blew his opportunity and Wilder took advantage, hitting shot after shot, a flurry of punches never seen before and probably won’t ever be seen again. Whenever Ortiz fell down and tried to get up, Wilder sat him back down. And then, the final knockout blow by Wilder at 2:05 in round 10 sealed the deal.

The Barclays Center erupted as one of the best fights put on in the last few years, and one of the greatest comebacks, took place in Brooklyn. Mayweather v. McGregor this was not, and that’s a good thing. While not like Alvarez v. GGG, this was its own entity.

Wilder proudly boasted, “King Kong ain’t got nothing on me!”, referring to the nickname of Ortiz. It was also a line borrowed from the film Training Day, starring Denzel Washington, who was in the crowd of 14,069. The announced crowd was the 2nd highest attendance number for boxing at the Barclays Center, behind 2017’s Thurman vs. Garcia.

Speaking after the fight, Wilder stated he wasn’t worried about Ortiz’s potential knockout in the seventh, stating he wasn’t hurt. Stepping up his game is what he is all about, and he was more than happy to do so.

“A true champion always finds a way to come back and that’s what I did tonight.  Luis Ortiz is definitely a crafty guy.  He put up a great fight. We knew we had to wear him down.  I showed everyone I can take a punch… This is a fight I took with great risk so that I could prove to the world that I’m the best. We each put on a great performance and I think the fans were happy they were here. I always give the fans in Brooklyn a great fight.”

Before the fight, it was discussed that Wilder had a lot to prove. He needed a huge win and a great performance to be considered one of the all-time great champions. Distractions did not get the best of him, and he assured everyone watching he is the real deal. It’s a scary statement to make, coming from a fighter who is at the apex of his career.

Ortiz’s mistakes were the end of him, which is unfortunate considering the stat line. The two fighters were basically even with 98 punches connected by Wilder and 87 by King Kong. He stated in the post-fight conference there were no true regrets from the fight, and a rematch would be nice. Ortiz proved why he belonged in that ring, and then some. Unfortunately for him and his family, it was not the night to celebrate.

So, will Wilder get Anthony Joshua next? He did say he was invited to and accepted a request to provide commentary in Wales, where Joshua is fighting next. An email was also read regarding the timeline of a potential Wilder v. Joshua fight, stating that talks have halted after Joshua’s camp seemingly dropped everything. Whoever wants to step up and fight, Wilder is prepared to go to war once again.

“I’m ready right now. I always said that I want to unify. I’m ready whenever those guys are. I am the baddest man on the planet and I proved that tonight. This solidified my position at the top of the food chain tonight.”

It’s up to Joshua to both win and give a clear answer on a fight. After the performance Wilder displayed at the Barclays Center, we might witness a long game of cat and mouse. I’m sure we are all ready to have a ball with that.

Deontay Wilder now considers himself the baddest man on the planet. After an effort like that, can you really blame him? One of the greatest fights in boxing took place on Saturday, March 3. Knowing Wilder, he’s just getting started.

“Speak it, believe it, see it!”

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Baseball Editor, Misc. Sports Editor. Covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a podcast, The Main Event.

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