By Keith Idec
When Luis Ortiz hears Deontay Wilder talk about what will happen in their fight, the Cuban contender gets the sense that Wilder is trying to convince himself of what he’s saying.
Wilder continued to promise Ortiz during a conference call Tuesday that he’ll knock out the undefeated contender March 3 in Brooklyn.
“He’s hyping himself and hyping himself, and trying to believe in himself,” Ortiz said through a translator during the call. “It’s gonna be a bad night for him.”
The 38-year-old Ortiz (28-0, 24 KOs, 2 NC) is dismissive of Wilder’s tough talk. No matter what Wilder says, the powerful southpaw is completely confident he’ll pull off an upset in their scheduled 12-round fight for Wilder’s WBC heavyweight title at Barclays Center.
“Every fighter that loses says that,” Ortiz said. “Brandon Rios just said it the other day. [He was] talking and talking and talking against Danny Garcia, and look what happened. He can talk all he wants. He’s trying to convince himself.”
The 32-year-old Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs) scoffed at Ortiz’s contention that the extremely confident champion doesn’t believe every single thing he says.
“I’m very confident in what I say,” Wilder said. “No matter what nobody may feel or how they’re saying my promoter’s hyping me up and I don’t believe in my hype or [I’m] trying to build my confidence up, no! I don’t have to build it up because it’s already there. I’ve showed it 39 times,  knockouts. It’s about to be my 40th fight, with 39 KOs.”
Wilder and Ortiz were supposed to fight November 4 at Barclays Center. Once Ortiz tested positive for two banned diuretics, however, the WBC wouldn’t allow him to fight Wilder and he was replaced by Bermane Stiverne, Wilder’s mandatory challenger.
Wilder dropped Stiverne three times and knocked him out in the first round of their rematch. The knockout artist from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was adamant thereafter about rescheduling his fight against Ortiz.
Though older and untested the past couple years, Ortiz is considered the most dangerous opponent of Wilder’s nine-year pro career. Most Internet sports books still list Wilder as an approximate 3-1 favorite over the former WBA interim champion.
Showtime will televise Wilder-Ortiz as the main event of a tripleheader March 3.
The co-featured fight will match Houston’s Jermall Charlo (26-0, 20 KOs) against Hugo Centeno, Jr. (26-1, 14 KOs) in a 12-round fight for the WBC interim middleweight title. In the opener of the three-bout broadcast, Andre Dirrell (26-2, 16 KOs), of Flint, Michigan, and Venezuela’s Jose Uzcategui (26-2, 22 KOs) are set to meet in a 12-round rematch for the IBF interim super middleweight title.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.