Best Bets For The Deontay Wilder-Luis Ortiz Heavyweight Fight
Johnny Wilds
ESPN INSIDER

WBC heavyweight world titleholder Deontay "Bomb Squad" Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs) takes on WBC No. 1-ranked Luis "King Kong" Ortiz (28-0, 24 KOs) Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on Showtime Championship Boxing. This fight was originally scheduled for Nov. 17, but Ortiz tested positive for a banned substance. He was cleared to fight again in December.

What are the best bets for this exciting fight?

Here's a look at where the money is going from Vegas bookmakers, along with opinions from boxing experts, boxers' trainers and my prediction for the fight.

Line movement

At The Westgate, Las Vegas, I spoke to Jeff Sherman, race and sportsbook manager, who posted the fight last month and opened the bout with Wilder -310 and Ortiz +250. "Initial public support was on the favored Wilder moving the line to -330/+260," Sherman said.


He also posted a total on the fight of 9.5 rounds under -140 and over +120. Sherman took sharp action on the under and adjusted the total to under -150 over +130.

At William Hill US, senior trader Adam Pullen opened the fight with Wilder -330 and Ortiz +270. "We have almost 3-1 in tickets written on Ortiz, but 28-to-1 ratio of money on Wilder, so we adjusted to -360/+300", Pullen said. He posted the total at 9.5 rounds under -140 and over +120 but 100 percent of the money is on the under and he moved the total to under -160 and over +140.

Experts Weigh In

Evan Young (boxing sharp): "Ortiz looks to me like he will be vulnerable to Wilder's slicing, hatchet of a right hand, which comes quickly and with frightening leverage. I think the speed, relative youth and awkward angles of Wilder will carry the day. I'm looking for Wilder to poleaxe a tiring Ortiz between the sixth and the ninth round."

Stephen "Breadman" Edwards:(boxing trainer): "Wilder in six after getting off the canvas."

DaVarryl "Touch of Sleep" Williamson (former NABO heavyweight champion): "I like Ortiz, he's not going to be rattled. He will find himself in the pocket and be able to respond during the storm of Wilder. I think Ortiz wins."

John "Iceman" Scully (boxing trainer): "Ortiz is more experienced overall with that extensive amateur background and much more intelligent and technically sound, too. In his younger days he would be about to be a world champion, but in the heavyweight division and in the professional ranks, power often trumps all and in this matchup I think Deontay's ability to let his hands go with big power is going to overcome his technical deficiencies and he will win over the distance."

Marcos Figueroa (boxing sharp): "I'm still not sold on Wilder. I've seen MMA fighters with better boxing than him. If (and a big if) Ortiz is in shape, can evade his wide loopy punches, Ortiz should be able to outbox him and stop him late. Ortiz KO8."

Luke Chapman (boxing sharp): "This fight is a BIG deal and I see BIG value. Current odds suggest too much is being made of Wilder's KO ratio against poor opposition. I think we see Wilder box the fittest and focused Ortiz that we've seen so far. I'm backing Wilder by decision +500."

Colin Morrison (boxing sharp): "I think Wilder is going to box behind his jab like he did in the first [Bermane] Stiverne fight. Ortiz is dangerous, so the safety-first policy will serve Wilder well as he takes a wide unanimous decision on the scorecards."

Abraham Gonzalez (boxing sharp): "Godzilla vs. King Kong. This will truly be a big test to the champion Wilder as he is facing a tough opponent with really good boxing abilities. Look for the champ to take less risk early (contrary to previous fights) but landing big shots in pockets. Ortiz will box his butt off to avoid the clean shots. At the end, Wilder will do just enough to win on the scorecards. Wilder by majority decision."

John Gatling (boxing sharp): "Ortiz just might be as old as the "real" King Kong, and I expect him to get bomb squashed in about 3 or 4 rounds, to make headlines in London for Anthony Joshua to smirk at."

Shannon Torres (boxing sharp): "Not so passionate about Wilder, as to me he's overrated a bit as he has had great hype. In my book, Ortiz, the underdog, needs to show power, dominate and get a KO or I don't believe he wins on the judges' cards. I don't think Wilder is worried about a KO, so I'm going to say he takes it."

Wilder: Wilder, 32, fighting out of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, has an astonishing 97 percent KO average. He has knocked out more opponents in his first 40 fights than any fighter in heavyweight history, according to CompuBox. He has held the title since January 2015, when he beat Stiverne by unanimous decision. That is the only opponent to see the final bell in Wilder's career, and he fixed that in their rematch in November last year when Stiverne stepped in for Ortiz who, as aforementioned, tested positive for a banned substance. Wilder thrashed Stiverne by KO at 2:59 of the first round. This will be Wilder's seventh defense of his WBC title. Wilder isn't your typical boxer as his balance, wild punches and overall fighting style is, in some aspects, one of a kind. But, his power is ridiculous and he's learning to use his jab more often. One thing not in question is when Wilder has you hurt, it's usually time for bed as he knocks his opponents out. Wilder is ranked as the No. 2 heavyweight in the world and he's listed No. 10 in ESPN's pound-for-pound rankings.

Ortiz: Ortiz, 38, fighting out of Miami, will be seeking to become the first Cuban-born full (non-interim) heavyweight world titleholder. He is your typical Cuban boxer who brings in a great jab, footwork and combination power punching. He, like Wilder, has very good power and sports an 86 percent KO average. He did win the interim WBC heavyweight title in September 2014 with a first round KO over Lateef Kayode. The bout was later changed to a no-contest when Ortiz tested positive for a banned substance -- the first of two times he had tested positive in his career. Ortiz is ranked as the No. 4 heavyweight in the world by ESPN.

Betting the fight

The panel favors Wilder by an 8-2 margin to retain his title Saturday night. On paper this should be the toughest fight of Wilder's career. He has a man in front of him in Ortiz who has power in both hands and has shown to have a very good chin throughout his career. Ortiz will enter the ring in the best shape of his life as current photos of him have him looking much more trim and fit. I will make it 9-2 for Wilder as I do think his power will carry the day and he might even have to get up off the canvas to retain his belt.

Pick: Wilder -330 or better and under 9.5 rounds -150 or better.