Join me as I break down which of the week’s televised fights are most interesting and why.
Friday, November 22
7:30am PT/10:30am ET – ESPN+
Jack Catterall (24-0, 13 KOs) vs. Timo Schwarzkopf (20-3, 12 KOs) – 10 rounds, super lightweight
11:30am PT/2:30pm ET – ESPN+
Logan Yoon (16-0, 12 KOs) vs. Ohara Davies (19-2, 14 KOs) – 10 rounds, super lightweight;
Mikey Sakyi (8-2, 4 KOs) vs. Tyrone McKenna (19-1-1, 6 KOs) – 10 rounds, super lightweight;
Mohamed Mimoune (21-3, 2 KOs) vs. Darren Surtees (12-0, 8 KOs) – 10 rounds, super lightweight;
Kieran Gething (9-2-1, 2 KOs) vs. Jeff Ofori (10-1, 3 KOs) – 10 rounds, super lightweight
Saturday, November 23
11:00am PT/2:00pm ET – DAZN
Callum Smith (26-0, 19 KOs) vs. John Ryder (28-4, 16 KOs) – 12 rounds, WBA World Super Middleweight Title
Wilder vs. Ortiz II: Non-televised under-card
4:00pm PT/7:00pm ET – FS2 & FOX Deportes
Wilder vs. Ortiz II: Prelims
4:40pm PT/7:40pm ET – FightNight Live Facebook Page
Danny Gonzalez (18-2-1, 7KOs) vs. Johnny Hernandez (10-4, 1 KO) – 10 rounds, super lightweight
6:00pm PT/9:00pm ET – DAZN
Andrew Cancio (21-4-2, 16 KOs) vs. Rene Alvarado (31-8, 20 KOs) – 12 rounds, WBA World Super Featherweight Title;
Xu Can (17-2, 3 KOs) vs. Manny Robles III (18-0, 8 KOs) – 12 rounds, featherweight
6:00pm PT/9:00pm ET – FOX Sports pay-per-view
Deontay Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) vs. Luis Ortiz (31-1, 26 KOs) – 12 rounds, WBC World Heavyweight Title;
Leo Santa Cruz (36-1-1, 19 KOs) vs. Miguel Flores (24-2, 12 KOs) – 12 rounds, WBA World Super Featherweight Title;
Brandon Figueroa (20-0, 15 KOs) vs. Julio Ceja (32-4, 28 KOs) – 12 rounds, super bantamweight;
Luis Nery (30-0, 24 KOs) vs. Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-1, 12 KOs) – 12 rounds, bantamweight
Wilder v. Ortiz II Preview
WBC world heavyweight champion Wilder last fought Ortiz in March of 2018 in a terrific fight. Ortiz, a highly schooled Cuban southpaw, gave Wilder a lot of trouble in the early rounds; Wilder responded by dropping Ortiz in round five. But in the seventh, Ortiz appeared to hurt Wilder.
Wilder rallied and proved he can overcome adversity by hanging in and then coming back in the later rounds, after he’d had time to recover. In the 10th, he landed cleanly the thunderous punches he’s known for and dropped Ortiz twice before the referee waved it off.
Ortiz is now 40, and with a lifetime’s worth of boxing, his body has to be showing the effects. In fact, if one watched closely, his legs were looking stiff for his last several fights. In camp for this rematch, Ortiz has focused on conditioning. Reports say he’s been looking fleet of foot.
Will that be enough? Wilder is always in shape and seems never to take his current opponents for granted. While many focus on Deontay’s incredible punching power, I’m more interested in his seemingly unshakeable confidence and his understated ring intelligence.
Wilder’s confidence is borne from his power—he knows at any given moment, all he has to do is land one shot and his opponent will be done. That’s a dangerous thing to go up against.
As far as his intelligence in the ring, the way he sets up his biggest shots is impressive. Yes, he utilizes the jab in a variety of ways to distract or blind his foe so Wilder can land his favorite—and most devastating—punch: his power hand, the right.
More than the use of the jab, “The Bronze Bomber” is good at thinking ahead. In his first bout with Ortiz, he continuously turned the older fighter, making him have to use his equally older legs and preventing Ortiz from setting his feet (thereby landing with power). Let’s not forget Wilder won bronze in the 2008 Olympic Games, so he does know how to box and has solid defense.
His technique is often not proper, but he knows that and uses his unorthodox style and body makeup to his advantage. He’s hard to get a bead on and difficult to time, and his own punches often come from odd angles. We all know the punch that hurts you is the one you don’t see.
Ortiz, of course, is a tremendous boxer. Simply by hailing from Cuba, his experience is sky high and will generally be deeper than fighters from elsewhere. Cuba is a boxing nation, with many kids starting in the sport practically as soon as they can walk. Their coaches and the money invested in the boxing program are impressive, and Luis Ortiz is a solid example of how the Cuban school of boxing can translate into the professionals.
Perhaps Ortiz’s best asset is his counter punching ability. Thank his nearly four decades of boxing experience for that; he anticipates what his opponent is going to throw and when very well, and follows their hand back home in order to land his own shots. Like many Cuban fighters, Ortiz uses his jab in a variety of ways as well but often in a pawing, distracting way, similar to Guillermo Rigondeaux. This is, of course, so that he can follow right up with the left.
Ortiz’s best bet might be to go downstairs on Wilder, who at 6’7” has a lot of torso to work. It would slow the younger man down and would definitely take the sting off those famous Wilder punches.
This will probably be another fun fight between the two heavyweights. I suspect Ortiz gives Wilder a little trouble early, but that Deontay will come on harder and faster than the first time around–knowing he can put Ortiz down–and may stop Ortiz in the middle rounds.
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