Boxing still has more to give in 2017.
Every month this year has provided fight fans with at least one big fight and the biggest one of them all, Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin, is yet to come.
Even after GGG and Canelo settle their quest for middleweight supremacy, there are still great fights on the docket and one more is just about finalized.
All signs point to a heavyweight tussle between Alabama’s own Deontay "The Bronze Bomber" Wilder vs. powerful Cuban Luis "The Real King Kong" Ortiz on November 4 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The t’s and i’s have yet to be dotted and crossed, but the market for the fight is beginning to surface and there is big value on one of the boxers already. But first let’s set the stage.
Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) has spent the last few years building some momentum to try and land a big fight opportunity against Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua or Wladimir Klitschko. Although he did defeat a tough Bermane Stiverne back in 2015, the WBC heavyweight champion has been beating up on weak opposition since then.
An unusual fighter, Wilder’s story is one that has turned him into a crowd favorite. The NFL-hopeful gave up his gridiron dreams and turned his attention towards boxing to help take care of his daughter, who suffers from Spina Bifida.
With 37 knockouts in 38 fights — the only one of his bouts to reach the cards was his unanimous decision over Stiverne — Wilder has lightning in his right hand and if he can time it right, he’s going to put his opponent on the floor.
Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs, 2 NC) is a 38-year-old Cuban who could very well be the most dangerous heavyweight on the planet right now. Without the fanfare of some of the other names in the division, "King Kong" has spent valuable time trying to make a name for himself, something that became harder to do after he failed a drug test after his win over Lateef Kayode in 2014.
Controversy aside, Ortiz should be a much bigger name in boxing than he is. The 6-foot-4 southpaw has tremendous power and is an excellent counter-puncher, which should prove a big problem for Wilder, who almost solely relies on throttling his opponents with his right-hand.
This is a very risky fight for Wilder, who is the A-side of the card and probably could have continued on the path of scraping the bottom of the barrel until his time with Anthony Joshua came. Credit to him for taking on the boogey man of the division and giving fans a gift.
That being said, the value here clearly lies with the Cuban knockout artist. With Wilder being a bigger name, there’s a chance the price gets even better on Ortiz, but the current odds, which have Wilder priced at -150 with Ortiz as a +120 underdog, already present a great opportunity to take the Cuban on at plus-money.
We’ll have more to come on this fight and the super fight between Golovkin and Canelo in the coming weeks.
[Photo: Marvin Gentry, USA Today]