For those paying attention, cruiserweight long ago shed its position as a sort of bastard child stuck between the classic light heavyweight and heavyweight classes. No longer just the house Holyfield built, the 200 lb. division has been one of the most consistently loaded, and entertaining, of boxing’s seventeen stops along the scale in the 21st Century. 

Jean Marc Mormeck, David Haye, Tomasz Adamek, Steve Cunningham, and Marco Huck are just some of the men who have made the last 20 years memorable. In 2017, the division’s four major alphabet titlists all agreed to put their hardware on the line in the World Boxing Super Series. It was one of the most successfully executed tournaments in the history of boxing.

The first edition worked out so well the WBSS began a sequel in late 2018. Cuban semi-finalist Yuniel Dorticos, currently still waiting for a date for his WBSS final this time around, lost a fight of the year front runner in 2018 to Murat Gassiev in the previous semi. This year, matters ended on a higher note.

For him.

America’s Andrew Tabiti boxed well in a quarterfinal victory over Ruslan Fayfer but struggled against the more experienced Dorticos for much of the night. Tabiti was still trying to find a way to win. In the tenth, Tabiti uncorked a wide right hand toward the head of Dorticos.

Dorticos shot his straight down the pipe and Tabiti was asleep before he hit the floor. Tabiti stayed sleeping for minutes after the fight had ended.


As described by BoxingScene’s Jake Donovan:

Yunier Dorticos is now a two-time cruiserweight titlist and a first-time World Boxing Super Series tournament finalist after his second try.

The aptly nicknamed ‘KO Doctor’ advanced with a devastating one-punch 10th round knockout of Andrew Tabiti in their cruiserweight semifinal Saturday evening in Riga, Latvia.

A perfectly placed right hand shot put Tabiti (17-1, 13KOs) down and out, with the fight stopped on the spot at 2:33 of round 10. With the win, Dorticos picked up the vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) cruiserweight title, which was only made available hours before the opening bell...Heading into round ten, Tabiti’s corner urged him to let his hands go and come forward.

Once he tried, the fight was over. Dorticos saw his opening midway through round ten, uncorking a right hand which put Tabiti flat on his back. (Referee Eddie)Claudio waved off the contest without issuing a count, urging ringside physicians to immediately tend to the fallen boxer.

Now we wait to see if, and when, the winner of Dorticos-Mairis Briedis can be scheduled and give us an heir to previous undisputed champion Oleksandr Usyk.

Runner Up: Deontay Wilder KO7 Luis Ortiz

Nostalgia for “then” is no new phenomenon.

In the mid-1970s, American Graffiti, Happy Days, and Grease had some pining for the 50s. For a brief time in the 1990s, swing clubs opened across the United States with a hint of Sinatra. Right now, Stranger Things, It, and the pending Wonder Woman movie are just some of the byproducts of a fond recall of the 1980s.

In that spirit, it is only fitting for boxing to have a figure in its midst who brings to mind Jason Vorhees, Freddy Kruger, Michael Myers, and the countless knockoffs who aspired to their bloody thrones. Readers of a certain age will recall late nights watching as scared victims did everything they could to avoid an inevitable fate.

They thought they were safe. And then…

...not so much.

WBC heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder isn’t a picturesque technical gem. He’s refined his skills but it isn’t a rare thing to see him lose a round, or two, or six come fight night. Yet in 43 fights, early or late, only two men have heard the final bell.

Luis Ortiz is not one of those men.

The Cuban of many guessed ages gave Wilder two of his three toughest nights as a professional. In their first encounter, Ortiz came off the deck in the fifth to put Wilder near the brink of defeat only to be felled in round ten.

For their November 2019 rematch, Ortiz was performing even better through the first six rounds. Two judges had him winning five of those frames. There was a case for a shutout. Ortiz was in better shape, coming in five pound lighter than he had the first time, and his defense was tighter.

One, two, Wilder’s coming for you.

As reported by BoxingScene’s Keith Idec:

Deontay Wilder was prophetic when he said he only had to be perfect for two seconds.

After six-plus completely imperfect rounds for Wilder, that’s all it took Saturday night for him to knock out Luis Ortiz again. Down on all three scorecards, the hard-hitting heavyweight champion drilled Ortiz with a devastating right hand that abruptly ended their rematch in the seventh round at MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Wilder’s right hand dumped a stunned Ortiz flat on his back, underneath a bottom rope. A disoriented Ortiz tried his best to beat referee Kenny Bayless’ count, but he couldn’t get up in time to continue in the main event of FOX Sports’ Pay-Per-View show.

Bayless stopped their scheduled 12-round rematch 2:51 into the seventh round. Fittingly, Wilder knocked out Ortiz in the seventh round, the same round in which the Cuban southpaw buzzed Wilder and nearly knocked out the champion in their first fight.

Judges Eric Cheek (58-56), Dave Moretti (59-55) and Steve Weisfeld (59-55) all had Ortiz ahead comfortably entering the seventh round.

Other Memorable Ends (In Chronological Order)

February 2019 - Victor Ruiz KO2 Christian Carto

Philly’s Christian Carto had been well guided to seventeen wins without a blemish in the bantamweight division. Fight number eighteen featured a left hand from journeyman Victor Ruiz that left Carto out for nearly a minute to fall to 17-1. Carto wasn’t seen in the ring again for the rest of the year.

May 2019 - Vergil Ortiz KO3 Mauricio Herrera

It's been a long time since Herrera left the ring against Danny Garcia as arguably the uncrowned king of the Jr. welterweight. The 2019 BoxingScene prospect of the year Ortiz garnered the crowning accomplishment of being the first man to knock Herrera out, a right hand landing with so crushing an effect referee Russell Mora didn’t even bother to count.

May 2019 - Deontay Wilder KO1 Dominic Breazeale

Wilder was expected to win this clash of former Olympians but Brezeale had proven in the past to be a game out, willing to work through being hurt to make a show of it. Breazeale survived the first onslaught on his feet but, coming out of a break, he never saw the right hand coming. At 2:17 of the first round, the challenger could safely know he wouldn’t have to take another.

May 2019 - Devin Haney KO7 Antonio Moran

Devin Haney saw a potential mandatory shot at Vasyl Lomachenko turn into an alphabet title when Lomachenko was franchised. If he keeps racking up wins, he’ll someday get his big shot. In the meantime, he can make fans landing more big shots like the lethal right hand that sent Moran’s head swiveling as he collapsed to the deck.

May 2019 - Jose Cardenas KO1 Antonio Vargas

2016 US Olympian Antonio Vargas may go on to do great things as a professional. The bantamweight hopeful may never remember his first defeat. Even with a count that began almost ten seconds after Vargas hit the floor, he still couldn’t beat the ten count after a snapping right hand sent him face first to the canvas. 

June 2019 - Jermell Charlo KO3 Jorge Cota

Jorge Cota should have stayed down. While waiting for revenge against Tony Harrison, Charlo kept himself tuned up with this devastating outing. Cota rose from a nasty knockdown only to be felled by one of the best right hands of the year moments later.

July 2019 - Dereck Chisora KO2 Artur Spzilka

Chisora has been one of the gems of his heavyweight era, an entertaining fighter outside the ring who has supplied plenty of thrills in the ring as well. One of the biggest was the final right hand he landed in this one, a shot so hard Spzilka fell to the floor almost as if he’d been liquified.

November 2019 - Saul Alvarez KO11 Sergey Kovalev

Behind the jab and underrated boxing skills that marked him one of the best light heavyweights of his generation, Sergey Kovalev was fully in the fight after ten rounds, even on one card and narrowly behind on two others. The reigning middleweight champion Alvarez found a perfect combination to erase any need for math, landing a crushing left hook and right hand to leave Kovalev in a heap on the ropes. The referee didn’t even bother to count.

December 2019 - Teofimo Lopez TKO2 Richard Commey

Commey’s only losses at lightweight had come by narrow decisions. Lopez, brash and talented, appeared to be making a massive leap in competition. A right hand from Lopez Berbick’d Commey in the second round, his legs sending him flailing. Years from now, few will remember Commey beat the count. The right hand was that explosive. Commey did though, left only to catch as Lopez applied the finishing touches along the ropes to hand Commey his first stoppage defeat. 

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at