It’s ‘Showtime’ as Alabama’s Deontay Wilder prepares to face ‘King Kong’ in New York

It’s ‘Showtime’ as Alabama’s Deontay Wilder prepares to face ‘King Kong’ in New York
Deontay Wilder works out in Skyy Gym in Northport as he prepares to defend his WBC title again. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr. / Alabama NewsCenter)

Deontay Wilder asked for it and he’ll get it.

The Tuscaloosa native returns to the ring to defend his World Boxing Council heavyweight championship, taking on Luis “King Kong” Ortiz on Nov. 4 at Barclays Center in a bout that will be shown on Showtime.

Wilder could have taken on mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne, whom he beat Jan. 17, 2015, to earn the WBC crown. Since then, Wilder has defended his belt five times against opponents critics have dismissed.

Twice he has faced fill-in opponents as his scheduled foes were scratched for having used banned drugs.

Tuscaloosa’s Deontay Wilder talks being a short-term or a long-term boxing champion from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Tuscaloosa’s Deontay Wilder talks being a short-term or a long-term boxing champion from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Promoter Lou DiBella told Alabama NewsCenter that Ortiz (27-0, 23 knockouts) is the toughest opponent Wilder could face. He cited the Cuban’s amateur career in which he won more than 340 fights and lost about 17.

“He’s undefeated as a pro with a great knockout ratio,” DiBella said. “He’s the Boogie Man of the heavyweight division. He’s the man no one wanted to touch, no one wanted to fight.”

Wilder appeared with DiBella last week at a press conference in New York announcing the fight card. It was part of a whirlwind tour for Wilder, who made several appearances in the Big Apple promoting his fight.

It was a one-man promotional tour as Ortiz couldn’t make it because of storms that have rocked Cuba. At the press conference, Wilder said he’s going to show rather than tell that he is the best.

“And when I do knock him out, I want my well-earned respect,” he said, wearing a yellow and black paisley jacket. “I want my well-earned credit. I don’t want nobody to say nothing else.

“Ain’t nobody any better than me. Ain’t nobody stronger than me – mentally or spiritually,” the champ continued. “They’re all running from me. They’re all scared of me.”

Wilder didn’t change his tune when speaking with Alabama NewsCenter at his training headquarters, Skyy Gym in Northport when he returned from New York.

“A lot of people dodge and duck (Ortiz) so I pulled his card,” he said. “I told my people, ‘I want him.’ I know Stiverne would have been an easy fight for me but I chose an even more difficult fight.

“We just want respect.”

DiBella said the Wilder-Ortiz fight is not a great economic decision for Wilder.

“We paid a fortune to create a fight so that Stiverne would step aside as the mandatory,” he said. “Maybe against all normal judgment, (Wilder) said, ‘I don’t care. I want to fight the most difficult guy in the world. I want to fight a fight that no one can criticize. I want a fight that people have to respect, because I am the best.’

“That’s some old-school stuff,” the promoter added. “(Sept. 20, boxing great) Jake LaMotta passed away. That’s the kind of decision-making Jake LaMotta would have understood and appreciated. People don’t go out there and put economic considerations aside (and) maybe put their better judgment aside in order to establish themselves and their legacy. That’s what Deontay’s trying to do and I couldn’t be prouder of him.”

Always confident, Wilder said he expects to defeat Ortiz just as he has his prior 38 professional opponents. Thirty-seven of those have fallen by knockout.

The Tuscaloosa native said New York and King Kong don’t mix.

“I’m going to be the machine gun that was on the plane that shot him down,” he said, referencing King Kong movies. “I’m going to repeat that cycle.”

And as he has said before, Wilder is not looking by Ortiz, he is looking through him.

“When I beat him, I want Joshua,” he said of Anthony Joshua, the British boxer who holds IBF, WBA (Super) and IBO titles. “I want to unify the division.”

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