By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Travel-related flight cancelations prevented Luis Ortiz from coming to New York from Miami for a press conference Wednesday.
That didn’t stop the unbeaten Cuban heavyweight contender from trading trash talk with WBC champion Deontay Wilder. A Showtime employee asked Ortiz questions over the phone during a press conference in Manhattan as they promoted their November 4 showdown at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Wilder was his usual entertaining, loquacious self, but Ortiz wasn’t about to hang up the phone without firing back at his powerful opponent.
“Wilder does a lot of talking,” Ortiz said through a translator. “Wilder sounds nervous. He keeps forgetting the date of the fight.”
Ortiz referred to Wilder mentioning the fight date as “November 14th” during the press conference.
The former WBA heavyweight champion also argued that Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) shouldn’t receive too much credit for demanding to fight Ortiz over mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KOs), who Wilder defeated convincingly to win the title in January 2015. According to Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs, 2 NC), Wilder had to fight a credible challenger after beating such huge underdogs as Eric Molina, Johann Duhaupas, Artur Szpilka, Chris Arreola and Gerald Washington in his five title defenses.
“I don’t think it’s a mistake that he’s taking the fight,” Ortiz said. “He’s taking the fight because he has no other choice and there’s nobody else to fight.”
The 38-year-old Ortiz figures to give Wilder the toughest fight of his pro career, despite his age and that’ll end nearly an 11-month layoff when they square off. Ortiz scoffed at Wilder’s bold predictions of an early knockout at the beginning of the press conference.
“Wilder’s not gonna come out and knock anybody out in the first round or the third round,” Ortiz said. “Wilder’s gonna do a lot of running. And Wilder should be careful about what he’s saying to the press about knocking anybody out, because he’s gonna do a lot of running and embarrass himself with all that running.”
While confident he’ll dethrone Wilder, Ortiz didn’t dismiss the heavy-handed American’s championship reign.
“Wilder’s not there for nothing,” Ortiz said. “The critics are wrong. He wouldn’t be where he’s at, champ of the world, if he was a bad boxer. But I think this time he f***ed up.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.