LOS ANGELES – Deontay Wilder has heard plenty of criticism regarding his upcoming rematch with Luis Ortiz.
Some cynics wonder why he is fighting Ortiz again, since Wilder dropped Ortiz three times and stopped him in the 10th round of their first fight. Even those that are OK with Wilder fighting Ortiz a second time don’t think their rematch belongs on pay-per-view.
The common complaint with which Wilder finds the most fault is that Ortiz is too old for him to fight. Ortiz’s listed age is 40, though there long have been rumors that the Cuban southpaw is older than that.
Wilder wants to know, however, why other top heavyweights haven’t fought Ortiz if they’re convinced Ortiz is significantly older than he says.
“To be able to have that honor to fight him again, when these guys, especially [in] the top 10, they’ll say he old, but they won’t get in there and fight this old man,” Wilder said during a press conference Saturday at Staples Center. “You’ll have many guys that had opportunities to have a chance at me, to be mandatories. All they had to do was face Luis Ortiz. But their excuse was he’s old. And in my eyes, I’m like, ‘Sh*t, he in the sport. We signed up for it, so beat his old ass then.’ But they never give him the opportunity because they know what the real is.”
Wilder, who’ll turn 34 on October 22, is a 6-1 favorite over Ortiz (31-1, 26 KOs, 2 NC), who is 3-0 since Wilder stopped him. They’ll fight for Wilder’s WBC heavyweight title again November 23 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Their rematch will headline a FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event. Showtime televised their first fight live on that premium cable channel in March 2018.
If Wilder wins, it’ll secure another rematch against Tyson Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs). England’s Fury and Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) already have signed contracts to fight February 22, which would take place 14½ months after Fury withstood two knockdowns and boxed Wilder to a controversial split draw at Staples Center.
“For me, I’m the best in the world,” Wilder said. “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I’m the best in the world and I believe in that. I’ve proved so many people wrong, and I still have to do it, still. And I’ll probably have to do it for the rest of my life, but that’s OK. They give me the adrenaline, they give me the motivation, they give me the will to prove people wrong.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.