Undefeated heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder was right.
He doesn’t need to be perfect for 12 rounds. Far from it, actually. And he was rather imperfect for the first six rounds Saturday night during his WBC heavyweight title fight at the MGM Grand Garden against Luis Ortiz, who attacked Wilder with flurries and combinations. Round after round after round.
But Wilder doesn’t need perfection. He only needs one second.
He only needs one punch. The most powerful punch in boxing today.
Wilder continued his reign atop the heavyweight division by connecting with a flush, straight right 2:51 into the seventh round before an announced crowd of more than 10,000.
He has successfully defended his title 10 times since winning it from Bermane Stiverne in January 2015 at the MGM Grand Garden and is the longest reigning champion within the division. A rematch with lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury looms in February in Las Vegas now that Wilder has disposed of the formidable Ortiz.
“I had to play around with him. I had to calculate certain moves,” Wilder said. “I had to go in and out, and finally I found my measurement. I saw the shot and took it. My intellect is very high in the ring, and no one gives me credit for that. I think I buzzed him with a left hook earlier in the round, and I took it from there.”
Wilder (42-0-1, 41 knockouts) is indeed eager for a rematch with Fury, whom he fought to a dramatic draw in December 2018. Fury is the only man to recover from Wilder’s vaunted right hand. He’s the only opponent Wilder hasn’t beaten.
But the 34-year-old from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is certainly up for the task after yet another spectacular knockout.
He bided his time against Ortiz (31-2, 26 KOs), allowing the 40-year-old Cuban southpaw to control the pace and tempo with right jabs and left hooks to the face and body. He waited while Ortiz maintained his aggression to capture a decisive edge on all three scorecards.
And Wilder pounced the second he saw Ortiz’s vulnerability — first with a left hook and then with the almighty straight right.
“This is boxing. I said that one of us was going to get knocked out and it wasn’t going to go 12 rounds,” said Ortiz, whom Wilder knocked out in the 10th round of their first fight in March 2018. “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.”
Wilder touted his power all week and proudly insisted that he’s the best boxer in the heavyweight division. But Fury is still unbeaten, and fellow juggernauts Andy Ruiz Jr. and Anthony Joshua are fighting their rematch Dec. 7 for the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles Ruiz won in June.
The night, though, belonged to Wilder. And he’s eager to prove the rest of the division does, too, by fighting Fury. By fighting Ruiz or Joshua.
By beating anybody and everybody.
“I want unification. I want one champion, one face and one heavyweight champion — Deontay Wilder,” he said proudly to a chorus of cheers. “The heavyweight division is too small, there should be one champion, and it’s Deontay Wilder.”
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Santa Cruz wins fourth world title
Leo Santa Cruz made history Saturday night. And he wants to make more.
Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 knockouts) coasted to a 117-110, 117-110, 115-112 decision over Miguel Flores (23-3, 12 KOs) to win the WBA super featherweight title in the co-main event at the MGM Grand Garden.
Santa Cruz has won world titles in four divisions, joining Canelo Alvarez and Erik Morales as Mexico’s only quadruple champions.
The 31-year-old said he would be willing to fight another top name such as Gary Russell or undefeated lightweight Gervonta Davis.
“I want to show the world I’m not scared of anybody,” Santa Cruz said.
Figueroa and Cejo draw
Super bantamweights Brandon Figueroa and Julio Ceja fought to a split draw. One judge scored the bout 115-113 for Figueroa (20-0-1 15 KOs), one scored it 116-112 for Ceja (32-4-1, 3 KOs) and one scored it 114-114.
Ramirez stops Barthelemy
Featherweight Eduardo Ramirez opened the pay-per-view portion of the undercard with a knockout of Leduan Barthelemy. Ramirez (23-2-3, 10 KOs) set Barthelemy (15-1-1, 7 KOs) up with a right hook and finished him with a straight right 2:59 into the fourth round.