By Jake Donovan
Nearly two months after racing to social media to share with his fans the major developments in his career, Deontay Wilder’s big reveal of not one but two allegedly secured rematches still remain fluid.
Plans for the unbeaten heavyweight titlist to make his 10th defense in a rematch with top-rated contender Luis Ortiz have now shifted towards a working date of November 9, BoxingScene.com has learned.
Should the latest offered date hold, it will likely put the fight at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif., with the MGM Grand in Las Vegas also under consideration.
The bout was once targeted to take place September 28 in Los Angeles, with those plans quickly dissolving as Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) brass tried to maneuver all of the working parts for its yet to be revealed fall schedule. The months-long suggestion has been that three venues were under consideration for the event: Staples Center, MGM Grand and Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, where their thrilling 1st fight took place.
Wilder rallied from a major mid-fight scare to drop and eventually stop Ortiz (31-1, 26KOs; 2 NC) in the 10th round of their entertaining slugfest last March, which drew a peak audience of 1.2 million viewers live on Showtime.
All three venues were available at the time Wilder made such a declaration, racing to social media days before the U.S. debut of divisional rival and then-unbeaten and unified titlist Anthony Joshua. Since then has come Joshua’s first career loss, a massive upset 7th round stoppage at the hands of Andy Ruiz on June 1.
Also transpiring since the initial social media announcement is the official removal of Barclays Center from the equation. The venue is officially ruled out for November 9, as it hosts a New York Islanders hockey game that evening; every other Saturday is also booked.
November 9 is one of the few remaining Saturdays still open at Staples Center and that’s without the NBA’s L.A. Lakers and L.A. Clippers yet revealing their home games for the 2019-20 season. Wilder and Ortiz appeared in separate fights at the Southern California locale last December. Ortiz scored a 10th round stoppage of Travis Kauffman in supporting capacity to Wilder’s 12-round draw with Tyson Fury atop a Showtime Pay-Per-View event.
Both have fought once since then; Ortiz outpointed Christian Hammer over 10 rounds this past March, while Wilder (41-0-1, 40KOs) annihilated Dominic Breazeale in one round this past May, with both fights taking place at Barclays Center.
Wilder-Breazeale came about for two reasons—it being Wilder’s mandatory title defense, along with it serving as the alternate plan once plans fell through for a long-discussed rematch with Fury.
The delay in the two unbeaten heavyweights having already danced a second time came about when Fury bailed from negotiations at the 11th hour to instead sign a reported nine-figure deal with Top Rank and ESPN+. Fury’s first fight under the pact came this past June, scoring a 2nd round knockout of then unbeaten—and still unheralded—Tom Schwarz in an event which generated a lot of coverage but proved disappointing at the box office.
Those plans are allegedly back in place and further along than was the case earlier this year, according to Wilder’s breaking news in late May. Fury has suggested a working date of February 22, 2020 for the rematch, although it’s just that—one of several dates having been offered for the event.
While there remains time on sorting out the back end of his rematch tour, the clock is ticking on nailing down a date and location for a second fight with Ortiz.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox