By Jake Donovan
Luis Ortiz couldn’t have been more thrilled when he received word of plans being finalized for his rematch with Deontay Wilder.
The Cuban southpaw couldn’t have been more annoyed, though, when he saw the unbeaten titlist was already making plans beyond their upcoming sequel.
“I’m not sure why he is so confident that he’s going to walk through me,” Ortiz (31-1, 26KOs) told BoxingScene.com upon learning of Wilder’s signed agreement in place for another rematch, this one with Tyson Fury in the first quarter of 2020.
In order for Wilder to get to that point, he will once again have to get past Ortiz. The two are set to run it back sometime in the early fall, with their rematch being targeted for September 28 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The date remains fluid, but the venue is all but certain, with the event to top a Showtime Pay-Per-View telecast.
The two engaged in one of the best fights of 2018, with Wilder (41-0-1, 40KOs) surviving the scariest moments of his 10-plus year career to drop and eventually stop Ortiz in the 10th round of their instant classic last March at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Wilder has since fought to a 12-round draw with Fury last December and most recently annihilated Dominic Breazeale in one round this past May, also at Barclays where Ortiz last appeared in a 10-round win over Christian Hammer this past March.
The win was Ortiz’s third straight following the lone loss of his career, having scored knockout wins over Razvan Cojanu and Travis Kauffman in 2018. Following his win over Hammer, Ortiz sought a second crack at a major title.
He had a chance to fight for a slew of them, as the Miami-based contender was approached to face Anthony Joshua this weekend at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Ortiz would have replaced Brooklyn’s Jarrell Miller, who failed three separate drug tests in late March in being removed from Saturday’s DAZN headliner.
Ortiz’s handlers turned down a $7 million package for the fight, which ultimately went to California’s Andy Ruiz. The offer was rejected in part because Ortiz didn’t want to enter a Joshua fight with just five weeks to prepare for the event. It worked out, as Wilder revealed—during Joshua’s fight week, no less—plans for their sequel to come later this year.
On Friday, Wilder also made public his confirmed plans for part two with Fury.
“By no means [am] I looking pas[t] Ortiz,” promises Wilder, who will look to make the 10th defense of the heavyweight title he claimed in Jan. 2015. “He’s a dangerous fighter but I am looking through him (window shopping).”
The rematch was initially due to take place earlier this year. Fury called an audible just as contracts were being finalized, instead accepting an offer to join Top Rank and ESPN. It seemed to kill any hope for the two to get together again, as Wilder is aligned with Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) and thus Showtime—and to a lesser degree, Fox Sports.
It all worked out in the end, as tentative plans call for some form of joint venture for Wilder-Fury II, whether just for the promotion or all the way through distribution. First, Fury still has to get past Germany’s Tom Schwarz in their June 15 ESPN+ headliner in Las Vegas.
Also, Wilder has to get past an opponent whom had him on the brink of defeat at several points in their first fight. Planning ahead for a future beyond their September rematch only further fuels motivation.
“I plan to finish what I started and bring that title back to Miami,” promises Ortiz. “Our first fight, he got lucky! But that won’t be the case in the rematch. I’m sure he plans to try to do the same, unfortunately he needs me to cooperate for that to happen—which quite frankly was run out of gas.
“So if that’s his game plan, then he’s in for a rude awakening. Because The circumstances surrounding the reasons for which why I ran out of gas in our first fight, have all been addressed and corrected. If there is already a deal in place to fight Fury in 2020, I have no problem replacing Deontay Wilder’s name with mine on the contract—assuming of course, Fury wants to face the winner of our fight, which will be me.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox