Through almost seven rounds Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV, things didn’t look good for WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder against Luis Ortiz. His upcoming rematch with Tyson Fury appeared to be going up in smoke.
Then, like the crack of a whip, Wilder landed his money punch.
And that was that.
The big heavyweight rematch (Wilder starched Ortiz in 10 last year) got off to a slow start. Wilder probed with his left. Ortiz, a southpaw, used feints and then fired a left that connected. Wilder looked surprised by the speed of Ortiz’s punch.
In round two, Wilder, making the 10th defense of his title, continued to jab. He let his right go but missed. Ortiz edged closer. He fired a left. The fighters were respectful of each other’s power.
Ortiz connected to a left to the body in round three. Ortiz looked comfortable and confident. Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs) landed a right at the bell. Ortiz connected with a left to the jaw in round four. He fired a combination. Wilder was looking for somewhere to let his right go, but Ortiz was outboxing him.
In round five, Ortiz (28-2, 24 KOs) let his hands go. Wilder, built like a muscular praying mantis, missed with a combination. Ortiz walked after Wilder. His cleverness was keeping Wilder off balance.
The big Cuban connected with a left. Ortiz let a bomb go in round six that missed. Wilder wasn’t punching enough. Was he setting a trap? He cuffed Ortiz with a left. Ortiz would move to the left or right and pop Wilder.
Wilder was more active in round seven. Ortiz landed a solid left to the chin. Wilder fired his right. Ortiz landed a solid combination. Wilder wobbled, but seconds later uncorked a tremendous right hand that collapsed Ortiz like a sack of potatoes.
Ortiz tried to get up, but couldn’t beat the count of 10 by referee Kenny Bayless.
The time was 2:51 seconds into round seven.
“Ortiz is very crafty in the ring,” said Wilder.”I had to measure him. I had to go back and forward in the ring. I finally found my measurement. I took my shot.”