Wilder or Ortiz in Undefeated Heavyweight Showdown?

Deontay Wilder (-150) vs Luis Ortiz (+120), Draw (+3300)

A heavyweight showdown between WBC champ Deontay Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) and former WBA interim champ Luis Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs) has been penciled in for November 4th. It’s not set in stone, but you can already wager on the potential matchup at several of (what we think are) the best online sportsbooks. Standing in the way of the fight is Bermane Stiverne, who is Wilder’s mandatory challenger. But with so much more excitement surrounding Wilder vs Ortiz, the WBC will likely find a way to make the fight happen.

The heavyweight division is buzzing with talent at the moment. Anthony Joshua is the new king of the division after knocking out Wladimir Klitschko in April, and there are a number of talented fighters eyeing the crown. Joshua is forced to take on Kubrat Pulev as his next opponent in an IBF-ordered bout, but after that, the IBF, WBA and IBO champ is open to take on either Ortiz and Wilder.

Anthony Joshua (pictured vs Wladimir Klitschko) could await the winner of Wilder/Ortiz (Karl-Ludwig Poggemann (flickr) [CC License])
Ortiz and Wilder, both undefeated, have had trouble landing big-time opponents throughout their careers. So while their fight records are extremely impressive, they’ll need to win this upcoming fight in order to justify their place among the top of the division. 

Wilder especially has a lot to prove. Since defeating Stiverne in an extremely one-sided affair (118-109, 119-108, 120-107) back in 2015, his place among the top heavyweights has come under question. The heavy-hitting slugger only began boxing at age 19, and it kind of shows. He packs enormous power — something you either inherit or you don’t — but he lacks the technical ability seen in most top-level fighters.

Before going the distance with then-champ Stiverne, Wilder had not allowed a fight to advance past the fourth round. Since then, partly due to a higher caliber of opponent and partly due to his maturation as a fighter, he hasn’t been so quick to seek the early knockout. Four of his last five fights have all gone eight rounds or longer. Though it should be noted that none have gone the distance. 

At 38 years old, Luis Ortiz is desperate for a big payday. He spent 2016 fighting low-level, little-known opponents — David Allen (12-3-1), Malik Scott (38-3-1), Tony Thompson (40-7) — but after signing with Al Haymon at the start of the year, it looks like he’ll finally start taking on the big names in the heavyweight division. Given his advanced age and the fact that his impressive record is tainted with a failed drug test, this fight would be a must-win. 

While Wilder is the bigger puncher, Ortiz is the more experienced and well-rounded fighter. Ortiz has faced bigger names throughout his career and is the more technically sound boxer. However, at 38 years old, he’s on the decline.

Wilder is 31 and yet to reach his prime. He’s best known as a wild, sometimes reckless slugger, but his most recent fights have shown a more patient, measured boxer. If the fight gets made (and if Ortiz passes his tests), Wilder will be too much for the beleaguered Ortiz.

Pick: Deontay Wilder (-150)