On Saturday night from the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Deontay Wilder will once again defend the WBC heavyweight title against Luis Ortiz.
Wilder and Ortiz provided one of the best fights of the year in March 2018. After a back-and-forth battle that saw Wilder knock down Ortiz in the fifth round, Ortiz came back to nearly end Wilder's reign. Ortiz almost had the "Bronze Bomber" out on his feet in the seventh round, but the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist put Ortiz away to win by 10th-round stoppage.
It appeared Wilder and Ortiz would go their separate ways afterward. But this past September it was announced they would face off again, and Wilder leaned on two reasons for the choice.
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"One, he is one of the best in the world," Wilder told DAZN during a recent media session to promote the fight. "No one has dared to give Ortiz the opportunity even after I defeated him the first time. Most of the times, when you win, especially when you knock him out, other guys are willing to fight him. They see weaknesses. They see kinks in his armor. But Ortiz's situation, in this case, none of these guys still, they didn't want to fight him then, and they don't want to fight him now. So I wanted to give him an opportunity again to prove all doubt about our first fight that we had."
Wilder said the second reason is that both he and Ortiz have daughters who have battled through medical conditions since their births. Wilder's daughter was born with spina bifida, which is a hereditary disease that affects the spinal cord and surrounding membranes during early development in pregnancy and usually causes lifelong disability. Ortiz's daughter has a rare skin condition called epidermolysis bullosa. Because she couldn't receive sufficient care in Cuba, Ortiz brought her to the United States when she was 4 years old to help get her the best treatment possible.
The special bond rarely shared between opponents, with knowing the costs that entail getting top-notch care, meant Wilder wanted to do what was right not only for Ortiz and his family but also the boxing fans who enjoyed the first fight.
'"I grew a great bond with Ortiz the first time with his child and my child, as she was born with a disorder as well," Wilder said. "So I know personally how hard it is and how much it takes to take care of a child with a disorder. It takes a lot of money, and it takes a lot of care, and I grew a great bond with him. So I have seen him as one of the top guys in the heavyweight division, and I want to bless him. You need money to support them, and I wanted to bless him again for not only for him being a great warrior, one of the best in the world but also for his family. I wanted to bless his family and put him on pay-per-view."
"(Ortiz) already got some these sweet potatoes, and now he's coming back for seconds," Wilder added. "And I'm ready to fill his mouth full with it."