The man in the champion’s corner breaks down their first encounter with Luis Ortiz and what will be different in their anticipated rematch Saturday, November 23, live on FOX Sports PPV.
He’s the man who knows Deontay Wilder better than anyone, and after taking the Alabama heavyweight on a wild and eventful professional journey, trainer and manager, Jay Deas, is hopeful of a few more memorable stops.
On Saturday, November 23, Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) will put his WBC world heavyweight title on the line against dangerous Cuban southpaw Luis Ortiz in an anticipated rematch at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, live on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
Deas was in Wilder’s corner during the first encounter with Ortiz, a see-saw affair in March 2018 where Wilder rebounded from a calamitous seventh-round to put Ortiz away in the 10th. Now, as camp winds down for the rematch, Deas opens up about that first bout, what he expects in the rematch and what’s in Wilder’s short-term future.
Do you consider the first Wilder-Ortiz fight the most challenging of Deontay’s career?
“In a word, yes, because Deontay had to overcome so much in that fight, and also so much outside of the ring because he was dealing with illness and he wasn’t well at all in the build-up to that fight. There almost came a time in camp when things weren’t looking so good and I was like, “Deontay, let’s just pull out of this fight and we can go again when you feel better.” Deontay is a fighter and he convinced me he was well to fight, and I was happy with what I seen in the end.
He had to overcome a rough round where Ortiz landed some good shots and with what had gone in camp with him feeling unwell, I was worried that his body may let him down because it wasn’t a training camp that ran smoothly. Being in the ring probably not 100% and surviving a crisis like he did takes great courage and he came through it like a true champion.”
What was it like being in the corner when it appeared that Ortiz was only one shot away from ending Wilder’s incredible run?
“I had to be calm. The corner is a place of work for me and it’s a job that I take great pride in and I always have to be professional. I wasn’t really that worried or concerned because I’m a big believer in Deontay’s conditioning and if you watch the fight back, he was really smart with how spoiled Ortiz’ work.
It’s so easy to look at Deontay’s record and his list of knockouts, but he’s a smart fighter also and you can see that when he was hurt against Ortiz. He takes these steps really close to him, so Ortiz has no leverage to land another big shot. It was a moment he had to get through, but once his head was cleared and he had survived, it was back down to work and Deontay doing what he does better than anyone in the heavyweight division and that’s closing the show.”
“ A few years after Deontay leaves this sport, people are going to respect him and wish he was still around. ” Trainer - Jay Deas
What can people expect in the rematch?
“It’s going to explode a lot quicker, I think. Look at Deontay’s rematch with Bermane Stiverne. He used the first fight to properly analyze what was in front of him and when he knew what to expect the second time around, the fight was over in seconds. It could be like that again.
The first fight had a feeling out process to it and took a few rounds for the fighters to fully engage. I don’t think that will be the case this time around. Once the first fight sparked into life last year it was a brilliant fight that had people on their feet. I think you can expect the same this time around, but with Deontay getting the win much earlier.”
Deontay has spent the bulk of last two years in exciting fights against Ortiz, Tyson Fury, and Dominic Breazeale. How do you see the next two years panning out for him?
“I’ll answer that with my trainer’s hat on first and that involves me telling you that the focus is purely on Ortiz on November 23rd and making sure we’re in a position to look ahead. With my manager’s hat on, we want Tyson Fury in 2020 and then the winner of the Andy Ruiz Jr.-Anthony Joshua rematch. If we can put something in place to map out Deontay’s future with fights of that magnitude to fully prove that he’s the best heavyweight on the planet without doubt, then let’s bring it on.
We’ve proven over the last 18 or so months that we want the biggest fights so we have no problem continuing to make them moving forward, but remember like I said earlier, Deontay can only think about Ortiz. He can leave it to me to think about everything else.”
Do you think Deontay gets the credit he deserves?
“No way. I’m glad you mentioned the last two years of Deontay’s career earlier in our interview because that highlights just how much he’s willing to put it all on the line. No other heavyweight is doing that. You can look at him and label him a puncher if you want, but he doesn’t just go in there and throw punches hoping to land a lucky shot. You simply can’t do that at the highest level and Deontay has been at the highest level for a very long time now. He picks his shots well, he sets his shots up, he exposes his opponents and punishes every single mistake.
To do that requires a very special skillset and Deontay has that. He also has explosive power to go with it and that combination has put him right up there for me. A few years after Deontay leaves this sport, people are going to respect him and wish he was still around. I promise you that.”
For a closer look at Wilder vs Ortiz 2, check out our fight night page.