By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada will host a Pay Per View showdown between WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder and his challenger Luis Ortiz.
Their first bout was a close fight until Wilder was able to stop Ortiz in the tenth round. Wilder was ahead with a score of 85-84 on all three scorecards at the moment of the stoppage.
Their rematch will be televised on Fox Sports PPV.
The co-main event of the evening will be between Leo Santa Cruz and Miguel Flores for the vacant WBA Junior Lightweight title.
Other bouts on the card include a bantamweight bout between Luis Nery and Emmanuel Rodriguez and a junior lightweight bout between Leduan Barthelemy and Eduardo Ramirez. Other boxers on the undercard include Vito Mielnicki Jr., Omar Juarez, Viktor Slavinskyi, Arnold Alejandro, and Shon Mondragon.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Leo Santa Cruz (36-1-1) vs. Miguel Flores (24-2); WBA Junior Lightweight Title
Leo Santa Cruz has been a champion in the featherweight division for a long time and now looks to capture a title in the junior lightweight division.
He’s still in his athletic prime at 31 years old and is four years older than Flores. They both have the same reach and Flores will have a very slight ½ height advantage on Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz does appear to have the edge in power as he has stopped nineteen of his opponents while Flores has only stopped twelve.
Inactivity may be an issue for Santa Cruz, as he has only fought once in 2019 and once in 2018, but he did fight twice in 2017. However, Flores hasn’t been very active either and fought once in 2019, once in 2018, and twice in 2017.
Santa Cruz’s lone loss was to Carl Frampton, which he later avenged. He has also defeated the likes of Abner Mares, Rafael Rivera, Kiko Martinez, Cesar Seda, and Chris Avalos.
Flores has losses to Dat Nguyen and Chris Avalos, and both times he failed to make it to the final bell. He notable wins include Ryan Kielczweski and Ruben Tamayo.
Santa Cruz also had the edge in amateur experience as he was a US National Silver Medalist while Flores has no notable amateur experience.
This fight looks to be an easier challenge for Santa Cruz in the junior lightweight division. It will be interesting to see if his power holds up in the higher weight class.
Deontay Wilder (41-0-1) vs. Luis Ortiz (31-1); WBC Heavyweight Title
Deontay Wilder is the undisputed king of the heavyweight division. There used to be an argument about whether Wilder or Joshua is the top dog in the heavyweight division, but an upset loss by Joshua to Andy Ruiz has killed those talks.
Wilder is nearing the end of his athletic prime at 34 years old but is still six years younger than his opponent. Wilder will also have a three inch height advantage and about a five inch reach advantage over Ortiz.
Both boxers are known for their power, but Wilder’s knockout power is legendary. He has stopped forty of his opponents. Only Bermane Stiverne and Tyson Fury went the distance against Wilder, and Stiverne was stopped in the rematch and Fury was knocked down. Wilder has forty stoppage victories and Ortiz has twenty six.
Both boxers have been fairly active. Wilder fought once in 2019 and twice in 2018 and 2017. Ortiz fought once in 2018, three times in 2018, and once in 2017.
Wilder and Ortiz both has successful amateur careers. Wilder was a bronze medalist in the 2008 Summer Olympics and Ortiz is a former Cuban Amateur National Champion.
Wilder does appear to have an edge in his resume of defeated opponents. He has defeated the likes of Dominic Breazeale, Luis Ortiz, Bermane Stiverne, Gerald Washington, Chris Arreola, Artur Szpilka, Johann Duhaupas, Eric Molina, Malik Scott, and Siarhei Liakhovich. Ortiz previously lost to Wilder and has defeated the likes of Christian Hammer, Travis Kauffman, Malik Scott, Tony Thompson, Bryant Jennings, and Lateef Kayode.
Their first bout was close, but Ortiz is getting older and you can age quickly in a sport like boxing. Wilder has to be considered the favorite as he looks forward to more lucrative matchups against either Tyson Fury or the Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz fight.