By: Ken Hissner
This past weekend Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder, 40-0 (39), came within seconds of losing his WBC Heavyweight title to previously unbeaten Luis Ortiz, 28-1 (24), of Miami, FL, trying to be the first Cuban to win the heavyweight title.
Even though judges for that event Glenn Feldman, Kevin Morgan and Carlos Ortiz had Wilder ahead after nine rounds 85-84 they were probably the only ones at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, NY, or viewing it over Showtime that did. This writer had it 86-84 Ortiz.
Feldman had Wilder winning two of the first three rounds. Morgan and Ortiz had Wilder winning the second round. This writer and Showtime’s judge Steve Farhood gave the first four rounds to Ortiz. All judges gave Ortiz a 10-8 round when he had Wilder out on his feet in the seventh round. I don’t question that though I had it 10-9.
Fortunately for Wilder referee David Fields didn’t stop the fight in the seventh round with about a minute or more left when he was out on his feet and holding Ortiz. As far as I know it’s the first time Wilder has fought any contender in the top four of the WBC rankings even though it was his seventh defense. If you count the only opponent to go the distance with him in Bermane “B.WARE” Stiverne he had been inactive for two years and should not have even been in the rankings.
Dillian “The Body Snatcher” Whyte, a Jamaican out of the UK is 22-1 (16), and ranked No. 1 by the WBC. His only loss was two years ago getting stopped by Anthony Joshua in seven rounds. He is scheduled to fight No. 13 ranked and 38 year-old Australian Lucas “Big Daddy” Browne, 25-0 (22), on March 24th in the UK.
On March 31st, on Showtime, in Cardiff, Wales, Anthony “A.J.” Joshua, 20-0 (20), of the UK will put his IBF and WBA titles on the line in the UK against WBO champion Joe Parker, 24-0 (18), of NZ living in Las Vegas, NV. The winner and Wilder will be looking to meet one another before the year is out.
It’s a 50-50 chance they will fight someone else in an attempt to build the gate for the four titles to be on the line. Russian Olympic Gold Medalist Alexander “Russian Vityaz” Povetkin, 33-1 (23) is the No. 1 contender in both the WBO and the WBA. Like Ortiz he failed a drug test but could be a future opponent for one of the title holders.
Kubrat “The Cobra” Pulev, 25-1 (13), of Bulgaria, is the No. 2 IBF contender with No. 1 vacant. Back in 2014 he was stopped by Wladimir Klitschko for the IBF title in the fifth round. 44 year-old Fres “Big O” Oquendo, 37-8 (24), of Chicago, IL, hasn’t fought in almost four years and is ranked No. 2 in the WBA and is meeting Syrian Manuel “Diamond Boy” Charr, from Lebanon fighting out of Germany who holds the WBA World title May 4th in Chicago. This gives you an idea how the rankings are “fixed”, I mean figured.
Joshua looked very bad in stopping late sub Carlos Takam, of Cameroon living in France in the tenth round in his last defense so now others have been mentioned meeting Joshua. The champions rarely fight two top contenders in back to back fights so you never know with Joshua-Parker and Wilder coming off big fights if they will be looking for something easier instead of meeting each other.
It does look like by the end of 2018 there will be one heavyweight champion holding all four organization titles. You have to go back to Evander “Real Deal” Holyfield to remember someone holding three titles when he lost to Lennox Lewis in 1999. So let’s hope Showtime and the organizations can put the two champions against one another.