Wilder vs Ortiz: How 'King Kong' Luis Ortiz was rebuilt for WBC title rematch
"That first fight with Wilder was a good performance in parts, but it was at the crucial moment where Luis couldn't take advantage. That won't happen again"
By Chris Walker
Last Updated: 21/11/19 2:49pm
Larry Wade is no stranger to preparing boxing’s most elite fighters.
A former high-level track athlete, Wade's reputation these days is soaring in boxing and after assisting in the rise of Badou Jack, Shawn Porter and Caleb Plant, Wade has been trusted with the task of bringing Luis Ortiz to the peak of his powers and the monstrous Cuban seeks revenge against Deontay Wilder this Saturday night in Las Vegas, live on Sky Sports, at 2am Sunday morning.
Their first meeting, a stunning encounter where Wilder survived a hellacious seventh session, was ultimately decided by the Alabamian's well-documented power, but there were several key moments that Ortiz couldn't capitalise on. With Wilder essentially out on his feet, Ortiz was incapable of finding that one shot and when that seventh-round ended, so did Ortiz's big chance. Wilder took two rounds to reaffirm his dominance and then ended matters brutally in the 10th stanza.
In that round, I was talking to myself and was very clear on what was going on. I was buzzed, highly buzzed, but I had my consciousness and was coaching myself. 'Keep punching, Deontay, stay close'. I knew if I smothered him, he couldn't release his punches or get enough steam to hit me flush. When I survived the seventh round and came out for the eighth, Ortiz charged me. I made sure to come back with two punches, not to hurt him, but to let him know that 'I'm still here'.
"I'm here to give Luis Ortiz what he was perhaps lacking in that first fight," reveals Wade to Sky Sports just days away from the intriguing heavyweight encounter. Watching the first fight from a fan's perspective, Wade was mightily impressed with he witnessed from an entertainment spectacle, but now on board with Ortiz, he fully believes that his latest charge will exploit Wilder once again, but this time be better prepared to close the show.
"When you're dealing with a heavyweight with the skill-set of Luis Ortiz you can take pleasure in the fact that you're working with an excellent fighter. Everything about him is first class and he's such a well-drilled fighter that you don't really want to change that much about him. That first fight with Wilder was a good performance in parts, but it was at the crucial moment where Luis couldn't take advantage. That won't happen again. He's done everything I've asked of him and you'll see an improved version when he takes on Deontay Wilder."
Working with Ortiz has been an enjoyable experience so far for Wade. Universally respected in his field of expertise, Wade's background in improving athletes goes back a lengthy period and Ortiz is the latest to benefit. At 40 years of age, the man they call "King Kong" is unlikely to add many more layers to his make-up, but Wade insists that the subtle advancements made by Ortiz are similar to what he has seen from other fighters he's worked with.
Luis Ortiz on his training camp
I feel really good going into this fight. All the hard work is finally coming to an end and now it’s time to get the proper rest to be at my best on fight night. As a team we worked smart during this training camp. We did things a little different with my diet and I believe that will make me perform at a high level on fight night. My weight is right where I want it. All in all, it’s been a very productive training camp.
Luis Ortiz on Deontay Wilder
As I’ve said before, Wilder is the best heavyweight of this decade and until someone beats him, he will remain the top dog. We have a different strategy in place that I believe will be the difference in this rematch. I have plans to end this fight before the final bell, but if we need to go the distance, I’m well prepared to take it all the way.
Luis Ortiz on sacrifice and legacy
I have to say it’s been really hard being away from my family during training camp, but I know coming out to Las Vegas was the right move. If I’m going to become the heavyweight champion of the world, I must make these types of sacrifices. Everything I do in the ring is for my family. To become the first Cuban heavyweight champion in boxing history would be a dream come true, not only for me, but for my countrymen back home. I’m going to leave every ounce of blood, sweat and tears in the ring come November 23.
"Listen, a lot is made of Luis' age and at this stage of his career you might be expecting him to slow down, but that's not the case. I'm working with a hungry fighter with a real appetite to get better and we're paying no attention to how old he is. The stuff I have him doing is what has worked well for the likes of Shawn Porter and Badou Jack, and Luis is doing just as well, if not better, than guys who are younger than him and who are 147lbs. Believe me, you're looking at one determined fighter and he's performing at a level that I'm certain will bring him success."
Wilder vs Ortiz is on Sunday morning at 2am, live on Sky Sports, after Callum Smith vs John Ryder on Saturday night.