A fight between WBC heavyweight champion Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder and undefeated contender Luis “King Kong” Ortiz is in the works for the fall on Showtime Championship Boxing, according to RingTV.com. However, #1 WBC Bermane Stiverne is Deontay’s mandatory at this time.
For Wilder to be able to take the fight against the 38-year-old Luis Ortiz, the World Boxing Council will need to let him steer around former WBC champion Stiverne. Stiverne will also likely need to be given a step aside payment for him to agree to let Wilder fight Ortiz. If Stiverne turns down the step aside payment, then Wilder will likely need to fight him next.
It might not be a good idea for Stiverne to take the step aside fee though, as the winner of the Wilder-Ortiz fight might opt to face the winner of the Wladimir Klitschko vs. Anthony Joshua 2 fight in a unification fight. Stiverne might end up waiting until 2018 before he gets his title shot for the WBC belt. It’s a trade-off though.
If Wilder’s WBC belt is eventually lost to Joshua, then Stiverne would be facing Joshua next year instead of Wilder or Ortiz. It’s a better deal potentially for Stiverne to fight Joshua for a big payday in the UK in a fight that would be televised on Sky Box Office PPV. Fighting Ortiz or Wilder would be a likely smaller payday for Stiverne. The smart thing for Stiverne to do would be for him to wait it out for him to get a shot against Joshua if he emerges as the guy holding the IBF, WBA and WBC titles after he smoke clears.
Stiverne, 38, has been the WBC mandatory challenger for a while now since Alexander Povetkin lost the spot after testing positive for a banned substance. Povetkin was supposed to challenge Wilder for his WBC title, but a positive drug test caused the fight to be scrapped.
Ortiz is ranked #3 with the WBC. Ortiz hasn’t fought in 2017 as of yet. Ortiz’s last fight was against British domestic level fighter David Allen on December 10 last year. Ortiz looked terrible in stopping Allen in the 7th round of a scheduled 8 round fight. Before that, Ortiz struggled to beat Malik Scott on November 12 in beating him by a 12 round unanimous decision.
Ortiz did not look good in that fight either. That was an important fight, as there were a lot of eyes on Ortiz. He could have won over a lot of boxing fans and made a name for himself. Whether age is starting to rear its ugly head with the soon to be 39-year-old Ortiz is unknown. Some boxing fans believe Ortiz is older than listed age. Some think Ortiz is in his mid-40s.
If Ortiz can get a title shot against Wilder now before he ages out, he’ll have a chance to fight the winner of the Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko fight. It’s going to be hard for Ortiz to get past the 6’7” Wilder, because he’s got the reach, speed and power advantage. Wilder also is the far more mobile fighter of the two. Ortiz struggled against Malik Scott when he used movement against him. Wilder is a far more mobile guy than Scott, and Ortiz could have a hard time getting close enough to land his shots.
Just why the WBC has Stiverne as their No.1 contender is the big question. Stiverne has fought only once since losing to Wilder by a 12 round decision in January 2015. Stiverne’s only fight since then was unimpressive narrow 10 round unanimous decision win over high level journeyman Derric Rossy on November 14, 2015. That fight was almost 2 years ago. It’s unclear how long the WBC keeps their contenders ranked in the top 15 when they’ve been inactive like Stiverne. It would be interesting to know how long the WBC keeps inactive contenders ranked in their top 15 before they replace them with active fighters that are fighting at least once a year. Stiverne hasn’t seen action since 2015. Given Stiverne’s inactivity, you would think the WBC would have him fight in an eliminator or something to give some other guys a chance.
Up to now, Ortiz’s high point of his career was his win over Bryant Jennings in 2015. Ortiz fought at a high level in that match in stopping Jennings in the 7th round. However, Ortiz has not looked good since then in his fights against Tony Thompson, Malik Scott and David Allen.
It’s hard to believe that Ortiz still hasn’t fought for a world title after 7 years as a pro. The Cuban southpaw, who comes from an excellent amateur background in Cuba, appeared to be on the fast track for a world title shot after his impressive win over Bryant Jennings. After beating Jennings, things slowed down with Ortiz’s career with him facing Thompson, Scott and Allen. Ortiz should have fought for a world title already at this point. It shows how things can sometimes work against a heavyweight when he’s too talented for his own good.