Boxing's Heavyweight division in resurgence, starting with Wilder vs. Ortiz
February 27, 2018 3:07 AM
by Alan Berg
If you were a fan of heavyweights of the 1970s (Ali, Frazier, Foreman), heavyweights of the 1990s (Tyson, Holyfield, Bowe, Lewis) then does Showtime have a fight for us all on Saturday night.
Rising, superstar-in-the-making WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder makes the seventh defense of his title against the undefeated heavy hitter Luis Ortiz. The Bronze Bromber is 39-0 with 38 knockouts while Ortiz is 28-0 (24KOs). Needless to say this fight should have that classic KO finish or will be an amazing slugfest that can’t be missed.
The fight will be live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY and is not a PPV bout which is a real treat. Only $10.99 will get you Showtime for the month, which sure beats the $99.99 price tag on the Mayweather-McGregor fiasco. This is a REAL fight.
Wilder and Ortiz are two of the top Heavyweights in the world while on the other side of the pond in England Anthony Joshua holds the IBF and WBA Heavyweight Crowns and also has a sparkling 20-0 (20 KOs) record and will likely face the winner of Wilder-Ortiz in the fall, assuming he gets by another unbeaten heavyweight WBO Heavyweight Champion Joseph Parker (24-0, 18KOs).
The great news is all these fights should lead to the true king of the Heavyweight Division. Joshua-Parker will also be on Showtime on Mar 31st. At that date means if you order the fight on March 3, you get Joshua-Parker for free since you get an entire month, what a deal!
Wilder -325 (Caesars)
Ortiz +300 (William Hill)
Total: 9.5 OV +140 (Westgate)
UN -150 (Caesars)
Currently in town the books offering the fight (Caesars, Westgate, William Hill, MGM, Wynn and Station Casinos), the ones offering the total rounds are bolded.
The great thing is two guys who both walk in undefeated with the added bonus that this is without question the biggest test for either guy. Ortiz is built like a tank just like his nickname King Kong specifies – 240 pounds and 6-foot-4, but is 38 years of age. Wilder is 6’7” but only 226 pounds. Ortiz actually has a longer reach, 84-83 inches, and is also a southpaw.
As a 3-1 underdog it’s hard not to go with Ortiz being I have seen Wilder hurt in the past and Ortiz might be the biggest puncher Wilder has faced. There is a part of me that thinks Ortiz might be the best Heavyweight in the world. For those reasons, I have to back a guy getting 3-1. I also think it won’t go too long. ORTIZ/UNDER
HBO also has boxing on deck Saturday with Sergey Kovalev defending his WBO Light Heavyweight title against Igor Mikhalkin.
Kovalev -1800 (Wynn)
Mikhalkin +1200 (William Hill)
Total: Not available
This is a giant step up for Mikhalkin (21-1, 9KOs) and the line correctly reflects that. Kovalev is still so angry from his pair of losses to Andre Ward it will probably take another special light heavyweight contender to stop The Krusher. Kovalev should win by KO but I can never recommend a price like that.
The fight I highly recommend watching is the fight on right before the Kovalev execution, as two top 10 light heavyweights battle: Dmitry Bivol defends his WBA Light Heavyweight Title against Sullivan Barrera. This should be a highly entertaining competitive fight.
There might not be a line in town but Bivol looks like around a -600 favorite offshore.
There is also a UFC PPV this Saturday, in which unfortunately, the main event was hit by injury as UFC Featherweight Champion Max Holloway was expected to defend the title vs. No. 2 ranked Frankie Edgar, but Holloway damaged his leg in training. Edgar stayed on the card taking a very tough fight vs. No. 3 ranked Brian Ortega, and Cris Cyborg stepped in to defend her UFC Featherweight Championship vs. Yana Kunitskaya.
Cyborg is a huge favorite with the best line at CG Technology -1600, with Westgate and WH at 10-1 on Kunitskaya. Best Line for Edgar -165 at CGT and +155 on Ortega at WH. That fight is too close for me to call and Cyborg is too big of a favorite for me to back. Also, Edgar-Ortega is just too close for me to make a selection either, but it will be a great fight to watch.