A fascinating heavyweight championship fight between Deontay Wilder and Luis Ortiz – men with a combined 65-0 record and 60 knockouts – will be held Nov. 4 at the Barclays Center in New York, Yahoo Sports has learned.
The bout will be for Wilder’s WBC heavyweight title belt.
Multiple sources close to both Wilder and Ortiz confirmed the match to Yahoo Sports. Wilder promoter Lou DiBella would not confirm the bout, but he did not deny it.
“Wait until you see what Deontay is up to,” said DiBella, who according to the New York State Athletic Commission’s schedule has reserved Nov. 4 at the Barclays Center. It’s the same night as UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden.
DiBella, though, declined to further discuss Wilder’s plans.
One source said the bout is happening because Wilder realized he won’t get a match with IBF-WBA champion Anthony Joshua any time soon and he wanted to fight the best opposition possible to build his case with the public.
Wilder, who has been tweeting to Joshua about a fight, is 38-0 with 37 knockouts and won the title on Jan. 17, 2015, in Las Vegas with a unanimous decision over Bermane Stiverne.
Since, he’s defeated Eric Molina, Johan Duhaupas, Artur Szpilka, Chris Arreola and Gerald Washington, but none were highly regarded or considered a serious threat to him.
Ortiz, though, is a massive puncher who briefly held a version of the WBA belt. His most impressive victory was on Dec. 19, 2015, when he stopped Bryant Jennings in seven rounds to retain the interim WBA title.
The charismatic Wilder is a potential star, but he hasn’t had the opponent who would bring him the kind of visibility and media attention to help him take the next step. He hoped to gain that with a bout with 2004 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist Alexander Povetkin, but Povetkin failed a drug test and the fight was canceled.
A Wilder-Ortiz match would pair two of the hardest hitters in the sport and give the winner a big stage to call out either Joshua, who defends his belt on Oct. 28 in Wales against Kubrat Pulev, or WBO champion Joe Parker. Parker, who is 23-0 with 18 KOs, fights Hughie Fury on Sept. 23.