NEW YORK – He was finished. He looked finished. The bell sounded to end the seventh round and all the old criticisms of Deontay Wilder came roaring back.
Hasn’t fought anybody.
And then it happened. Deontay Wilder had his heavyweight champion moment.
Four rounds into the biggest fight of Wilder’s career and you could already see the narratives unfolding. Never should have taken this fight. It was a theme during the week. Wilder could have hopped a plane to the U.K., fought fringe contender Dillian Whyte and pocketed — at least according to Eddie Hearn — $4 million for doing it. Instead, he stayed stateside, rebooked a date with Luis Ortiz— dubbed the heavyweight boogeyman — and took home $2 million.
Crazy, right? Crazier four rounds in, with Ortiz putting on a boxing clinic, swatting away Wilder’s lazy jabs, scoring points with shots to the head and body. It seemed downright nuts in the seventh, when Ortiz unloaded on Wilder, hammering him with combinations, bullying him against the ropes. Wilder showed heart staying upright, but that round, that brutal, savage round, seemed to take his spirit.
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