By: Sean Crose
WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder will once again be defending his crown against the highly skilled Luis Ortiz. The two men will meet for the second time in the ring this November 23d at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card will be aired live on Fox Pay Per View and will fall under Al Haymon’s Premiere Boxing Champions (PBC) banner. This will be Wilder’s first fight since demolishing Dominic Breazeale last spring. Although Wilder is expected to have a rematch of his memorable bout with Tyson Fury early next year, no one can accuse the Alabama native of taking a soft touch in Ortiz.
The 31-1 Ortiz performed brilliantly against the 40-0-1 Willder when the two first fought in 2018. Indeed, it looked as if Ortiz might well walk away with the WBC belt. Wilder, however, had earned a power puncher’s reputation for a reason. He ended up stopping the difficult Ortiz in thunderous fashion. “When I fought Ortiz,” said Wilder, “not only did he have the pedigree, but also he had the classification of being the boogey man of the division.” For a man known to trash talk, Wilder had words of respect for this particular foe. “I agree,” he said, “with those who say that Luis Ortiz was my toughest fight to date. No one wanted to fight him and they still don’t.”
The popular Leo Santa Cruz will also be on the November 23d pay per view card. His opponent will be Miguel Flores. Although many wanted the 36-1-1 Santa Cruz to face the highly regarded Gary Russell Jr, Santa Cruz will be moving up in weight to fight the 24-2 Flores for a WBA junior lightweight belt. Santa Cruz has won titles in three previous divisions, but does not fight with regularity. Although he’s fought top level boxer Carl Frampton twice, he hasn’t fought other to names like Russell, and – years ago – Guillermo Rigondeaux.
“When I first started boxing,” said Santa Cruz, “my dream was to be a world champion and I’ve been fortunate to win three different championships in three divisions.” Although he’s already being criticized for having Flores as an opponent, Santa Cruz spoke highly of his soon to be foe. “I know Flores is another tough Mexican boxer like me ,” he said. “He always comes forward, so it’s going to be a fun fight for the fans.”