The bout will be broadcast live on Showtime beginning at 9 pm ET. There are at least 10 things that you should know about Saturday's event.
IBF Interim Super Middleweight Title - Andre Dirrell vs. Jose Uzcategui II
This is a rematch of one of the most controversial fights of 2017.
Dirrell won the first bout via disqualification when Uzcategui hit him after the bell. Infamously, Dirrell's uncle Leon Lawson Jr. entered the ring and assaulted Uzcategui. He was temporarily a fugitive before turning himself into the police. Ultimately, the charges were dropped, but there's definitely an extra layer of drama around this fight.
Tale of the Tape
Wilder weighed in at just 214 3/4 pounds, which is the lightest he's been since the first two fights of his professional career back in 2009. Ortiz was just over 241 pounds, which is consistent with where he's been over his past five fights. Is it good for Wilder to be at his lightest weight this late in his career against a physically strong opponent like Ortiz?
It could go either way. It's likely Wilder wants to maximize what should be a speed and stamina advantage by maintaining leaner muscle.
The Previous Issues With Failed Drug Tests
This fight was scheduled to take place in November 2017, but Ortiz failed a pre-fight drug test and he was replaced by Bermane Stiverne. This was the second time Ortiz had tested positive for banned substances. This time, Ortiz has come through the testing process clean up to this point and the fight is on.
The two men have two common opponents. Ortiz fought Joseph Rabotte in July 2013. He scored what was originally deemed a third-round KO victory, but the result was later changed to a no contest because Rabotte fell out of the ring and was unable to continue.
Wilder smashed his way through the journeyman heavyweight in the first round of a 2009 meeting at UIC Pavillion in Chicago.
Wilder took on friend and former contender Malik Scott in March 2014. That fight also ended in a first-round KO win for Wilder. Ortiz fought Scott in November 2016. Though he dropped Scott three times, Ortiz had to settle for a unanimous-decision victory. Scott is one of four opponents to have gone the distance with Ortiz.
Only Stiverne (in their first fight) has ever avoided a stoppage loss against Wilder.
Last Time Out
In November, an agitated Wilder destroyed Stiverne in their rematch. Wilder was annoyed at Ortiz's failure to remain eligible for the fight and he took his frustrations out on Stiverne which resulted in one of the year's most definitive KO finishes.
In December 2017, Ortiz stopped Daniel Martz in the second round. Wilder showed up and confronted Ortiz in the ring in an effort to reignite the buzz for their upcoming meeting. it seems to have worked as interest has been fairly high for Saturday's fight.
Ortiz Traditionally Busier, But Wilder is More Accurate
Wilder's jab has become one of his primary weapons. Ortiz throws more shots but is generally less accurate than Wilder–except when it comes to power shots. That said, both of these guys are so powerful that it only takes one cleanly landed blow to end the evening.
Wilder has looked uber confident in the days and weeks leading up to the bout. Take a look at him in this feature from The Player's Tribune:
Saturday night show time.— The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) March 3, 2018
The @BronzeBomber's feeling loose before his fight with Luis Ortiz.#WilderOrtiz pic.twitter.com/qXxgS5wpgO
I can't help but wonder why we don't see more of this kind of thing from his promotional team even when he doesn't have a fight.
What A Win Would Mean For Wilder?“Everyone knows what happens to King Kong when he comes to New York.” - @BronzeBomber #WilderOrtiz pic.twitter.com/6Oy3LeMuxb— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) March 3, 2018
The next step for Wilder is a megafight with Anthony Joshua, assuming AJ handles Joseph Parker later in the month. If Wilder defeats Ortiz, expect to hear a spirited callout of the popular English champion. Joshua could elect to make Wilder wait for one more fight, but it's hard to imagine that bout being dragged past 2019.
What A Win Would Mean For Ortiz?
Ortiz needs validation even more than Wilder. He has yet to win a legitimate world title and at 38 years old, he has less time to build. If he wins, it's almost certain there will be a rematch. If he loses convincingly, his stock will take a major dip. SHARE THIS STORY USING ANY OF THE BUTTON BELOW ⬇ PLACE YOUR TEXT ADVERT BELOW ⬇⬇⬇
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