For the second consecutive time, and the third in just over two years, the 6-foot-7 undefeated WBC World Heavyweight champion will defend his coveted title at Barclays Center in a high profile match-up.
Wilder (39-0, 38 KO’s) will defend his title on March 3 in the main event of another stacked Showtime-televised card beginning at 9 p.m. This time, the man constantly (and unfairly) berated by fans for “not fighting anyone,” is matched-up with his toughest challenger to date, southpaw Luis Ortiz (28-0, 24 KO’s).
Wilder, 32, was originally scheduled to face Ortiz, 38, on November 4, when Wilder re-matched and dispatched Bermane Stiverne, who he originally defeated in January 2015 in his only decision victory.
The Wilder-Ortiz bout was cancelled due to Ortiz testing positive for chlorothaizide and hydrochlorothiazide, both banned substances, that treat high blood pressure but can also serve as masking agents for steroid-use.
It was the second drug test Ortiz failed in three years. Originally, he tested positive for nandrolone after stopping Lateef Kayode in one round in September 2014.
Wilder has had two other potentially high-profile bouts fall through due to opponents failing drug tests in Alexander Povetkin in May 2016, which was supposed to be in Povetkin’s home of Russia, and Andrzej Wawrzyk in February 2017.
“Luiz Ortiz called me his angel because I came along, I took him under my wings, I’ve blessed him not only once but twice and I can’t keep saying that enough,” said Wilder in a conference call this past week. “I want people to get it in their mind that I could have ran from this fight, I could have chosen any opponent. I’m confident about what I’m going to do and I’m ready to prove it to the world.
“So I got the perfect opponent, it’s the perfect time, it’s the perfect place,” he added.
Wilder still wants to fight Ortiz, who many believe can defeat the “Bronze Bomber,” to prove to everyone that he’s the best in the world in a weight class including IBF, IBO and WBA Super champion Anthony Joshua (20-0, 20 KO’s) and WBO titlist Joseph Parker (24-0, 18 KO’s), who will have a unification bout on March 31 in Wales.
Wilder is hoping that later this year he’ll face the winner, who many expect to be Joshua, fulfilling his intention to unify all of the heavyweight titles.
Ortiz has other ideas.
“That fight isn’t going to happen,” Ortiz said during the same conference call when asked of a potential Wilder vs. Joshua bout. “Everybody that talks as much as Deontay loses. Brandon Rios just the other day was talking and talking and talking and talking against Danny Garcia and look what happened.
“None of this talk bothers me,” he added. “Deontay is trying to convince himself.”
Wilder, unapologetically brash, continued to talk shortly thereafter.
“He’s dealing with a guy that ain’t afraid of not one human being on Earth,” he said. “He’s never faced nobody with the pedigree, with the killer instinct that I have inside of me. He’s never faced a guy that wanted to knock his head clean off his shoulders.
“He never been in there with a guy that won’t back down, won’t budge,” Wilder continued. “March the 3rd is going to be a real fight. I’d like to welcome you to the real sport of boxing.”