March 3 fight at Barclays Center featured multiple knockdowns, Wilder on the verge of his first loss—and a concussive conclusion.
WBC heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder was on the brink of defeat, perhaps just one more punch away from losing his perfect record.
But just when it looked as if Wilder would fail the biggest test of his career, “The Bronze Bomber” roared back with his most violent answer—his powerful right hand.
“‘King Kong’ ain’t got nothing on me!’ A true champion always finds a way to come back and that’s what I did tonight,” proclaimed Wilder, who barely survived a vicious seventh-round onslaught by Luis Ortiz to stop the Cuban contender in the 10th round of their March 3 title fight in front of 14,069 fans at Barclays Center.
“When he leaves tonight Ortiz can hold his head high. He gave the fans a hell of a fight. We knew we had to wear him down. I showed everyone I can take a punch.”
Indeed, Wilder did.
Ortiz, who was looking to become the first Cuban heavyweight champion, landed a straight left to Wilder’s chin in the seventh that badly wobbled him and forced him to hang on until the bell sounded. All three judges scored the round 10-8 in Ortiz’s favor.
“Wilder was definitely saved by the bell. I thought I had him out on his feet,” said Ortiz, who was knocked down for the first time in his career in the fifth. “But you have to give him credit, he weathered the storm.”
The all-action bout in Brooklyn—which beat out other Fight-of-the-Year contenders like Erislandy Lara vs Jarrett Hurd, Caleb Truax vs James DeGale, Adrien Broner vs Jessie Vargas, Leo Santa Cruz vs Abner Mares 2 and Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury—earned our annual honor with its dramatic twists and turns as Wilder was in trouble, then Ortiz, then Wilder, and finally the concussive conclusion by the self-proclaimed “baddest man on the plant.”
For all of the year-end honors, visit our Best of PBC 2018 page.