Thanks for joining us, everybody for the call for SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING tripleheader presented by Premier Boxing Champions featuring the heavyweight championship of the world pitting Deontay Wilder vs. Luis Ortiz at Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York Saturday night March 3, 2018.
Tickets are on sale for the live event and available at Ticketmaster, Barclays Center box office or barclaycenter.com. It’s been a great start to the year already for SHOWTIME Boxing. It’s been a great start of the year for Stephen Espinoza who was recently promoted deservingly to President of sports and events programming for SHOWTIME Networks.
Stephen’s been instrumental in Deontay Wilder having a home at SHOWTIME and was instrumental in creating this tremendous tripleheader for the fans on March 3rd so it’s my pleasure to introduce Stephen Espinoza.
Thanks very much, Lou, and as good as a main event this is and we’re very excited about it, the other two fights that are on the card are high-quality fights as well.
These are three fights which could have been a main event in their own right. Andre Dirrell and José Uzcategui, this is a rematch of a really good fight that was a little bit overshadowed by the controversial unfortunate event that happened afterward. The fight itself was a Fight of the Year candidate.
Jermall Charlo and Hugo Centeno are two young guys in the primes of their career with only one loss between them, an interim title fight as well, and then the big one, Wilder vs. Ortiz. When we announced our first half of the year schedule, which was a loaded schedule with 11 different events and 13 world title fights, I think this fight Wilder vs. Ortiz was really the marquee matchup. Not just because of the heavyweights but because it’s such a well-matched fight.
Deontay is making his seventh and arguably his most-difficult defense of his WBC heavyweight title. It is the closest betting odds for a Wilder fight since he won the title in January of 2015, and deservedly so. Luis Ortiz is probably the division’s most-avoided fighter, a great power-puncher, a lefty, very skilled boxer and a matchup of two of the four top heavyweights in the world.
In fact, in March we will be featuring all four of the top four heavyweights in the world and all four of the major world titles: Wilder/Ortiz on March 3, bookended later by Joshua vs. Parker on March 31.
Between those two fights we will be featuring all four of the best heavyweights in the world, all four world championships and a combined record among those four fighters of 111 wins, 0 losses, 100 knockouts.
Between the two of these guys in our main event by itself, we have 67 total fights with 62 of those ending in knockout. We have a thrilling schedule for the first half of the year, a great slate of two heavyweight title fights, and I think the marquee matchup of the first half of the year, the fight everyone’s looking forward to, Wilder vs. Ortiz.
Thank you so much, Stephen Espinoza really has put together an incredible slate. It’s already been announced and it’s unprecedented to have this type of schedule out there this far in advance with fans getting a consistent product like this.
Not to belabor a point but I read a comment on my Twitter feed from a fan saying that this fight card would be pay-per-view worthy. Well, I guess that that’s a compliment but I think it’s a bigger compliment to the people at SHOWTIME that this is a live tripleheader on premium cable.
This is an opportunity for people to subscribe to the best premium cable network for boxing out there if they don’t do so already and to get a card featuring a a highly competitive terrific heavyweight title matchup with two other great fights.
So we’re going to move on to the fighters now but this really is a special night of boxing on March 3. Everyone who can get to Brooklyn should be at Barclays Center for it but if not, you have the opportunity to see this on SHOWTIME.
Luis “King Kong” Ortiz, 28 and 0, 24 KOs from out of Miami, Florida now by way of Camaguey, Cuba. He won numerous titles, every Latin-related title you can win on his way up the world rankings. He was 343 and 19 as an amateur, 343 and 19. That makes him one of the greatest amateur heavyweight fighters in the history of boxing.
He’s a big guy, he’s a left-hander, he’s a power-punching left-hander and through the goodness and the desire of the heavyweight champion of the world Deontay Wilder to prove himself to be the best, Luis Ortiz – “King Kong” Ortiz – will get a chance on March 3rd to change the lives not only of his family but of his grandkids and generations to come, an opportunity to dethrone the heavyweight champion if he can do it.
It’s another opportunity after some other possible opportunities that fell through, he’s getting this chance yet again so he’s coming into this fight with these stellar credentials with all the stability and with nothing to lose. His manager Jay Jimenez will do the translating for him – but believe me I’m sure that King Kong has a lot to say, Luis “King Kong” Ortiz. Jay?
As far as the preparation, I’m ready to go. We’re ready to go this week if we have to. As far as for the fight and for Wilder, I have no comments for him.
All right, well then I’ll then turn to the heavyweight champion of the world. When he knocked-out Bermane Stiverne in their rematch on November 4th, it allows him to now say that he’s knocked-out every man he’s faced as a professional.
This is a step toward proving that he’s the best and a step toward eventual unification of the heavyweight titles if he can get past his toughest test to date so Deontay, would you like to say a couple of words?
Good evening, everyone. Hope everybody’s having a wonderful day and a beautiful day as beautiful as mine. I just had a scrumptious meal with some sweet tea, I’m feeling good. I’m fixing to get ready to go spar and get this past week over and March 3 I’m coming to whip Luis Ortiz’ ass but I’m excited for this fight. I am so excited for this fight.
I’m glad that it’s finally here, one more week, next weekend, all the talking, all the anticipation for this fight, all the hype, all of that’s fixing to come into play next week and I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to being in one of my biggest, one of my toughest fights to date and we’re going to see what happens.
I’m feeling great, camp has been going great. This is what I’ve been waiting on to prove to the world what I’ve been saying all along, that I am the best heavyweight champion in this era. I am the best heavyweight champion, period, and I’m willing to prove that not only to Luis Ortiz but to the world.
I think Luis Ortiz is a great fighter and I think this is the biggest fight that could be made at this point in time in boxing. He’s been waiting a very long time and here I come, Luiz Ortiz called me his angel because I came along, I took him under my wings, I’ve blessed him not only once but twice and I can’t keep saying that enough.
I want people to get it in their mind that I could have ran from this fight. I could have chosen any opponent that I wanted to to fight on March the 3, especially when all the other stuff went about, I could have easily gone somewhere else but no, I’m adamant about what I say, I’m confident about what I’m going to do and I’m ready to prove it to the world. So I got the perfect opponent, it’s the perfect time, it’s the perfect place.
Somebody’s ‘0’, got to go and you all already know what I come to do. I talk my talk to walk my walk. It’s going to be up to Luis Ortiz to prove me wrong. He’s got an opportunity to be the first Cuban heavyweight champion of the world. It sounds good but he got a big task in front of him. He dealing with a monster. He dealing with a guy with a killer instinct.
He dealing with a guy that ain’t afraid of not one human being on Earth, especially when you get in that jungle and I am the king of the jungle. I am the lion of the jungle. He’s never faced nobody with the pedigree with the killer instinct that I have inside of me. He’s never faced a guy that wanted to knock his head off so clean off his shoulders.
He never been in there with a guy that won’t back down, won’t budge. I can’t wait. I hope he’s sleeping good, too. I hope you’re getting all your minerals, your protein and you’re taking your medicine faithfully because March the 3rd it’s going to be a real fight. I’d like to welcome you to the real sport of boxing.
How hard is it for you to think and to focus so hard on this fight knowing that you’ve had three other fights to my count that have fallen-out because of bad drug tests. Do you allow yourself to think of that as a possibility?
Yes, that could happen, that’s a possibility, we always say, once a cheat, always a cheat and that will always carry with him but that’s going to be up to Luis Ortiz. I think Luis Ortiz is a smart guy and I think he’s going to do the right thing up to this point.
If he doesn’t, like I said, it’ll be shame on him to put people through so much pain and it’s ridiculous that we have to be talking about this still at this point in time with drugs and cheating and stuff but I think he’s going to do the right thing and so with that being said, I’m not worried about it.
I have confidence in him that he’s going to turn-up clean and he’s going to give a great performance on the night of that fight and we’re all going to be winners at the end of the night.
How hard is it to have the birth of a child take place so close to the fight?
Well, boxing comes first. This is my life. This is my career that we’re talking about. This is how I can afford to feed my family so nothing come above this so when coming into that involvement, I made it perfectly clear that boxing was first and boxing was last. Now we have some in the middle that we can fill but then we can do so.
They were very cooperative of what I requested and what I wanted to happen and they fulfilled their obligations with me and I did so with them. My focus is solid on Luis Ortiz. I don’t want people to mistake me doing reality show for not caring about this fight.
When Deontay Wilder’s mind is set on something, when he’s focused, nothing is going to stop me.
Deontay how do you prepare for fights mentally and how do you think that helps or hurts you?
I think boxing for me is 90% mental during the duress or even 96 percent. it’s a majority mental for me more than physical. That’s why I’m able to speak and say what I’m going to do and actually deliver that because I believe in myself, I believe what I say, I believe in what I say I’m going to do.
I don’t play around. That’s the thing about it and it all comes from my mental standpoint, my mental game, mentally, emotionally, physically I am ready for this fight.
Like I said, I fought this fight 100 times and the thing about it – about this fight – out of the 100 times I done fought this fight, most days were similar but the only thing that was different out of the 100 times I done fought this fight, the ending it ended in different ways, different knockouts because I will knock him out.
It ain’t going to be a matter of time. A win is going to be a matter of time or when it lands and the fashion I do it in so mental plays a big part in what I do. That’s why I’m able to boldly speak how I speak because a lot of guys they aren’t confident in themselves.
They won’t dare speak how I speak, they won’t dare to do it because they don’t know what the outcome’s going to be on that night of that fight but with me, I know what it’s going to be because it’s up to me.
It’s not up to the crowd, it’s not up to my trainers, it’s not up to nobody but myself in that ring and we all know what when Deontay Wilder get under those lights, those cameras, I perform my best. I’m an entertainer so I can’t wait.
Luis how do you feel when people say they want to see Joshua vs. Wilder?
I have no feelings there, that fight isn’t going to happen. That fight is not going to happen.
Everybody that talks as much as Deontay loses. Brandon Rios just the other day was talking and talking and talking and talking against Danny Garcia and look what happened. None of this talk bothers me. He can talk all he wants. Deontay is trying to convince himself.
Deontay you said that it feels like I’m better off not being in this sport as being in it, I don’t understand it when it comes to all the failed drug tests your opponents have had in the past couple of fights. Do you still feel that way?
So sometimes I still feel that way, but also I have to face reality as well too that these guys are going to do it. They’re going to do it and these organization makes it worse because they allow them to do it because they bring them back in without suffering any really no type of consequences behind their actions.
Makes you wonder what they doing when they taking these PEDs. Everybody wants to come-up, I understand.
Everybody want to feed their family; I understand but how can you say you a man when you take PEDs? When you cheat, when you try to do things to give you that advantage to try to get on top of the game, it doesn’t work that way.
So many champions have done it as well. We don’t know how many times these guys do it we just know the number of times that they got caught. The intention is to do it without getting caught. We try to be as smart as we can not to get caught and that’s a problem.
It’s like I can’t even be a man, I couldn’t even be a man and sit up here and allow nobody to put something in my mouth or stick needles in my arm or in my ass or wherever it goes. I couldn’t be a man and say that and I win a title and something and say I did it because no, you didn’t. You didn’t do nothing.
You cheated and that’s bottom line. It’s a touchy subject because I’ve been a clean fighter all my life. I never even thought about even taking no drugs or put in my body to make my body do something that it’s not normally supposed to do. I’m a clean fighter. I’m a fair fighter. I bring what I bring and I give you results.
I say what I’m going to do and I deliver. I give you results. I’m very confident of what I say no matter what nobody may feel or what they may say. No. I don’t have to deal with none of that because it’s already there. I’ve showed you 39 times, 39 knockouts.
This is about to be my 40th fight with 39 KOs. Yes, we may have an amateur background but that’s amateur. This is the pros and in the pros I’m more experienced. I’m a knockout artist. That’s what I come to do and that’s what I will do. I promise you that. Promise. Promise. I promise.
First question for Luis, is Deontay the toughest fighter that you’ve faced and do you have a prediction for this fight?
Absolutely not. It’s going to be a hell of a fight and somebody’s going to hit the canvas. While he keeps hyping himself and hyping himself and trying to believe in himself, it’s going to be a bad night for him. He’s talking about PEDs. I’ve taken seven tests in a month and a week, seven blood and urine tests for VADA and the New York Commission.
Bryant Jennings was the toughest fight Luis ever had.
Oh lord, you can say that now because you ain’t faced me.
Well, you’re in for a hell of a problem March 3.
Deontay how have you improved since that Szpilka fight and are there any tactics you plan on using differently when facing a southpaw this time around?
No, my camp has been great. I’ve had a lot of great sparring partners. I’ve even had sparring partners that have whipped his sparring partners, so that explains a lot. It’s going to be a great fight.
Szpilka was a very awkward fighter, just like myself so when you get two awkward fighters in there, it turns-out to be like that. I adapt to every fighter. I feel every fighter out. No matter how long it takes, I’ll figure you out.
Szpilka was a very awkward fighter, just as myself so when you get two awkward fighters in there, it turns-out to be like that. I feel every fighter out. No matter how long it takes, I’ll figure you out.
It’s a 12-round fight. People got to understand, people want me to be so perfect. They want me to win all the rounds, they want me to look good doing it and they want the knockout. They expect so much of me but it’s okay, because I always deliver what I say I’m going to do.
That’s the thing about me, I’m a man of my word and I have a lot of credit for being a man of my word worldwide, not just the belief part isn’t it? So with this southpaw, I can’t wait. He’s not as awkward as you think, there’s a lot of things that he does wrong, there’s a lot of mistakes that he’s making in the ring and it’s due to his long amateur experience.
That’s going to be a bad thing for him when you’re coming in the professional rankings so the fight is going to be good as it lasts and I can’t wait. They never had nobody in front of them that won’t just knock his head off like I want to do. They never had a guy in there so vicious, so mean as me, and it’s so real.
There’s nothing that I have to pretend to be. I am who I am. I am the king.
What do you think of Ortiz’ level of opposition to this point?
I’ll let you be the judge of that. Ortiz has never faced nobody with my caliber. Ortiz ain’t never faced nobody with the intensity, with the mindset that I have or with the natural killer instinct that I have.
All that shit goes out the window when you get in the ring with a real one. I don’t care about all that. That ain’t nothing.
There is nothing that man’s going to do to touch me where he’s going to hurt me. I’m going to walk through all that. I’m telling you. That’s nothing. I’ve seen his style many, many, many times. I’ve fought it coming-up in the amateurs. I’ve got a lot of Cuban friends. I know their style. Trust me. And I can’t wait. That’s why I do my talking. I talk my talk so I can walk my walk.
Anybody else on the outside of the ring can’t talk the talk because they’re not going to be able to walk that green mile. His trainers, his promoters, his people around him are not going to be able to walk the green mile. Luis Ortiz is going to be the only person that’s going to be able to have to suffer the consequences and the more they talk, the more punishment that comes on him.
Everything intensifies my anticipation of knocking his head off. Keep talking.
Well guys, Deontay’s going to go do some talking in the ring. He’s got to go spar right now. Jay Jimenez thank you and Luis Ortiz for being on the call. Jay, Luis is going to get an opportunity to do all his talking on March 3rd. Thanks everybody for joining us. Thank you Jay, thank you Deontay.