Manner of Ortiz victory will help Wilder prepare for Fury
We’re just over a month away from one of the most hotly-anticipated fights in recent boxing history – the rematch between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury. The pair met in December 2018 in a classic encounter, with a split-decision draw the result after 12 hard-hitting rounds.
More than a year later, the two heavyweights will square off once again on February 22nd at Las Vegas’ legendary Grand Garden Arena. The current Wilder vs Fury odds give the Gypsy King the edge over his American opponent, and with many believing that Fury did enough to win the first fight, perhaps that isn’t surprising.
Both fighters have been busy in the intervening months. Fury saw off Tom Schwarz and Otto Wallin, while Wilder dispatched Dominic Breazeale and, more recently, Luis Ortiz.
To focus on Wilder specifically, the win over Ortiz represented hard work for the unbeaten heavyweight, but ultimately it was a victory that will stand him in good stead with the Fury fight looming large on the horizon.
The Cuban pushed Wilder all the way for six rounds, and was ahead in most unofficial scorecards before Wilder unleashed one of his trademark hammer blows to leave Ortiz sprawled on the canvas. It was the kind of punch that Wilder has made his trademark – the direct, blistering, near skull-shattering right hand that has seen the Bronze Bomber build such an incredible knockout record.
We all know Wilder’s ability to land heavy punches, but the fight with Ortiz will have been a wake-up call for the WBO heavyweight champion. If he allows Fury to dictate proceedings the way Ortiz did in the early rounds, then Wilder won’t stand a chance. In many ways, being forced to endure six rounds where his opponent was in control and in the lead will be better preparation for Wilder than if he had knocked Ortiz out in round one.
You would expect that the rematch with Fury will be another close fight, possibly going the full 12 rounds once again. One of the key moments in the first meeting between the pairoccurred in the final round, when Wilder sent Fury to the canvas with a trademark crashing right hand. Fury looked to be down and out, but somehow rose once again to Wilder’s dismay and even finished the fight the stronger of the two.
It’s hard to see what more Wilder could do in terms of knocking Fury out. For that reason, it’s important that Wilder is prepared to fight more technically than he is perhaps used to. Fury, despite his immense size, is incredibly quick-footed and nimble, meaning that he would have the edge in a closely fought contest – as many believe he did in the first fight.
In order to show his true worth as a champion, Wilder has to prove that he can compete in the nitty gritty, more technical aspects of boxing. The first six rounds against Ortiz will have shown him and his team where he needs to improve, and you can be sure that Wilder will have been working hard to address whatever deficiencies exist in his game ahead of the Fury bout.
It’s set to be a cracking spectacle, and boxing fans all over the world are rubbing their hands with anticipation ahead of this latest clash of two of boxing’s best heavyweights. Wilder is a fighter who exudes confidence outside of the ring. It’s time to back it up with an emphatic performance against one of the sport’s greats.