By Keith Idec
Deontay Wilder wasn’t just much lighter than Luis Ortiz at their weigh-in Friday afternoon.
Wilder also came in at a significantly lower weight than he usually does. The 6-feet-7 Wilder weighed 214 pounds when he got on the New York State Athletic Commission’s scale at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The 6-feet-4 Ortiz officially was 241¼ pounds for their 12-round heavyweight title fight Saturday night at Barclays Center.
Wilder hasn’t been this low in weight since his second pro bout, for which he weighed in at 213 pounds. The lowest Wilder has weighed in as a pro is 207¼ pounds for his pro debut in November 2008.
Just four months ago, Wilder weighed in at 220¾ pounds for the WBC champion’s first-round knockout of Bermane Stiverne in their rematch.
“That don’t mean nothing,” Wilder told Showtime’s Steve Farhood following the weigh-in. “I’m gonna let the world know that weight don’t mean a thing. It’s all mental at the end of the day. Like I said, I’d rather be the part than look the part. I’ve showed y’all many a times that no matter what the weight is, I put these guys on they ass. And that’s what I come to do Saturday night.
“Over and over again, all of my guys have out-weighed me. So that’s nothing. That’s nothing compared to where I came from. That’s nothing compared to where I’m going. So come Saturday night, y’all in for a treat, baby. I can’t wait.”
The 32-year-old Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs), of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is a 3-1 favorite over Ortiz (28-0, 24 KOs, 2 NC). Miami’s Ortiz, who defected from Cuba in 2010, still is considered the toughest opponent of Wilder’s nine-year pro career.
Wilder and Ortiz were scheduled to fight November 4 at Barclays Center. The WBC wouldn’t allow the 38-year-old Ortiz to challenge Wilder, however, once he failed a Voluntary Anti-Doping Association test for two banned diuretics.
Stiverne, a former WBC champ and Wilder’s mandatory challenger, replaced Ortiz. Wilder destroyed Stiverne, who got knocked down three times and lost by first-round technical knockout.
Wilder still wanted to fight Ortiz once he stopped Stiverne. The WBC kept Ortiz in its rankings because the sanctioning organization concluded following an investigation that Ortiz’s positive test stemmed from required blood pressure medication he failed to disclose he was taking on VADA’s pre-test form.
Showtime will televise Wilder-Ortiz as the main event of a doubleheader set to start at 9 p.m. ET. Super middleweights Andre Dirrell and Jose Uzcategui, who’ll fight in the opener of Showtime’s telecast, also made weight Friday afternoon.
Dirrell (26-2, 16 KOs), of Flint, Michigan, officially weighed 167¾ pounds. Venezuela’s Uzcategui (26-2, 22 KOs) weighed 166 pounds, a full two pounds under the super middleweight limit.
Dirrell defeated Uzcategui by disqualification in their first fight May 20 in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Uzcategui was winning that bout on two of the three scorecards when he appeared to hit Dirrell with two punches after the bell to end the eighth round.
Dirrell said he couldn’t continue and referee Bill Clancy disqualified Uzcategui. Leon Lawson Jr., Dirrell’s uncle and former trainer, then sucker-punched Uzcategui twice in his corner.
Lawson still faces a misdemeanor assault charge in Prince George’s County, Maryland, following that ugly incident at MGM National Harbor.
Dirrell, 34, and Uzcategui, 27, will fight Saturday night for the IBF’s interim super middleweight title, which Dirrell won in their first fight. The IBF ordered an immediate rematch based on the controversial conclusion to their first fight.
The winner will eventually fight for the IBF 168-pound championship, now owned by Caleb Truax (29-3-2, 18 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.