Luis Ortiz and WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder have an agreement in place for them to meet on March 3rd on Showtime Boxing at the Barclays Center, in Brooklyn, New York. RingTV is reporting the news. The fight has been talked about for weeks now for March 3, but now it looks like it’s been agreed on.
This is the Cuban Ortiz’s second chance at fighting Wilder. Las September, Ortiz came up positive for 2 banned drugs on a VADA conducted test for his November 4 fight with Wilder. The 38-year-old Ortiz was replaced by Bermane Stiverne for the November 4th fight against Wilder.
Stiverne was knocked out in the 1st round. It might be a good thing Ortiz didn’t take the fight with Wilder, because he would have been hard to beat on that night. Wilder is looking really powerful and comfortable at this point in his career. Ortiz will need to bring something better than Stiverne if he doesn’t want to suffer a similar fate on March 3.
Ortiz is back in the World Boxing Council’s rankings at No.3, and ready for his second chance against Wilder. You can argue that this is Wilder’s most difficult opponent of his 9-year pro career. I’m not sure if it is. Stiverne back 2015 was a dangerous opponent for Wilder.
It was a different Stiverne back then. He was 38 and still fighting at a high level. Ortiz looks as faded now as Stiverne was. Ortiz has lost something from his game in the last 2 years, and it could end badly for him when he gets inside the ring with Deontay on March 3.
On HBO Championship Boxing on the same night as Wilder-Ortiz, the highly popular Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev defends his WBO 175lb championship against Russian Igor Mikhalkin. The fans will need to decide whether they want to see Wilder fight the unbeaten Ortiz on Showtime or watch Kovalev face the once beaten Mikhalkin. Wilder’s fight with Ortiz figures to be the much more appealing fight of the two, because there’s 2-way drama in this fight. With Kovalev vs. Mikhalkin fight, that just figures to be a mismatch with Sergey doing a number on his over-matched opponent.
Ortiz has been cleared by the World Boxing Council for his positive drug test. Ortiz said he was using it to take care of his high blood pressure. Ortiz is going to need to make sure he gives the WBC a heads up in the future if he continues to use different drugs to control his blood pressure problem.
Ortiz has the power, boxing skills, size and the southpaw stance to give Wilder his first loss of his career. What we don’t know is if Ortiz has enough youth, speed and a strong chin to deal with the younger, faster, more powerful and more athletic Wilder.