Ortiz connects with a couple of left hooks and Wilder pounds his chest in defiance. Wilder is content to paw away with the jab, probing for an opening. Wilder is letting his hands go a bit toward the end of the round, landing a crisp jab and a straight right. But it’s not enough to win the round. Four rounds to none for the challenger.
Guardian’s unofficial score: Wilder 9-10 Ortiz (Wilder 36-40 Ortiz)
Ortiz connects with a lunging left hand early on. He’s picking up his work rate a bit. Wilder now doubling up the jab a bit, showing a change of pace, but he’s been overly patient so far. Not much action in this round either but Ortiz does enough to take it. The slow pace clearly favors the older challenger.
Guardian’s unofficial score: Wilder 9-10 Ortiz (Wilder 27-30 Ortiz)
Another feeling-out round. Ortiz continues to have a hard time getting inside but he’s the only one landing any punches of significance as Wilder appears to be sitting back waiting back for the home run shot.
Guardian’s unofficial score: Wilder 9-10 Ortiz (Wilder 18-20 Ortiz)
The fighters meet in the center of the ring and circle one another. Wilder is pawing away with his left to keep Ortiz at distance as the challenger looks to negotiate a way inside. A very measured, calculated opening minute. Ortiz lands a looping left hand flush on Wilder’s jaw midway through the round but the champion takes it well. Wilder responds with a combination. Ortiz appears to be bleeding from a cut over his right eye, way up by his hairline. It appears to have been caused by a clash of heads after that big left hand by Ortiz. A very slow round to start but the specter of menace looms.
Guardian’s unofficial score: Wilder 9-10 Ortiz (Wilder 9-10 Ortiz)
It’s time! The fighters have been announced, the referee has given the final instructions and the seconds are out. We’ll pick it up with round-by-round updates from here.
The fighters are making their entrances! First comes Ortiz, wearing a white robe with silver trim and white trunks. And then follows Wilder wearing a gaudy studded costume. The man sure knows how to make an entrance. Meanwhile the MGM Grand sports book has closed with Wilder as a minus-400 favorite and Ortiz a plus-330 underdog – suggesting a lot of late action on the challenger.
Leo Santa Cruz has won a dreadfully dull unanimous decision over Miguel Flores to capture the WBA super featherweight title. Ringside judge Tim Cheatham scored it 115-112 while Glenn Feldman and Julie Lederman had it 117-110 (as did the Guardian). Santa Cruz becomes the fifth Mexican boxer to win titles in four weight classes, then calls out Gary Russell Jr and Gervonta Davis.
Welcome to the MGM Grand for tonight’s heavyweight title fight between Deontay Wilder and Luis Ortiz. The undefeated Wilder returns to action on the Las Vegas strip tonight for his 10th defense of the WBC championship that he’s owned for nearly five years. His opponent is the hard-hitting 40-year-old Ortiz in a rematch of their 2018 thriller, which saw Wilder survive his most difficult moments as a professional before roaring back with a 10th-round knockout.
Wilder is a 7-1 favorite to retain his belt and stay on course for a scheduled 23 Feburary rematch with Tyson Fury. But the American will need to tread carefully against Ortiz, who had him out on his feet in the seventh round when they first met but couldn’t close the show.
We’re midway through the final preliminary fight between Leo Santa Cruz and Miguel Flores – where Santa Cruz appears to be pitching a shutout – meaning the ring entrances for the main event should happen at the top of the hour.