Showtime boxing analyst, Al Bernstein, has been ringside for the biggest events in boxing history, including the super fight Mayweather vs. Pacquiao and this past year’s Mayweather vs. McGregor event. Outside of Mayweather events, Showtime has a chance to make another mega event, this one in the heavyweight division if both Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua face each other next year, a fight Al Bernstein will likely be commentating on.
In part 2 of my “On The Ropes” boxing radio interview with Al Bernstein, I discuss with him likely bout next year between Deontay Wilder and Luis Ortiz. Al also talks about a potential super fight between Wilder and IBO heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua. Additionally, Bernstein talks about the year boxing had in 2017 and looks forward to the fight big fights of 2018. Here is what Al Bernstein had to say.
Jenna J: Al, it looks as like a Deontay Wilder vs. Luis Ortiz bout will happen next year, what do you think of this fight coming back together?
Al Bernstein: The oddity of this is that the Ortiz fight was scheduled last year and we were all excited about it, and then he tests positive, then very soon afterwards he’s allowed to fight again. The suspension is practically nonexistent. Ortiz fights, and now we are all talking about the fight again. Many people will look at that in a very suspicious way, obviously.
On the other hand, you want Ortiz to be able to fight Wilder because Deontay Wilder needs opponents. Anthony Joshua is not there for him yet. Joseph Parker looks like hes going to fight Anthony Joshua in a title unification match. It would make perfect sense for Wilder to fight Ortiz and then for the winners of those two fights to fight later in the year.
Jenna J: If the fight actually happens this time, do you believe that Luis Ortiz is the best opponent of Wilder’s career?
Al Bernstein: That’s probably true. Ortiz is himself sometimes and underachiever but you would have to think that he would be considered the best. We don’t even know what Ortiz’ real age is, he could be an AARP member for all we know, but there’s no question that he gives up speed and size. Does he give up power? We don’t know, Ortiz can punch and Wilder has been rocked a couple of times, like any heavyweight can. But he probably would be the best one that Wilder has fought.
Jenna J: If Wilder beats Ortiz and Joshua wins his fight against Parker, who would win the undisputed championship of the world between Wilder and Joshua?
Al Bernstein: I probably won’t pick it because I’m probably going to end up announcing it, I hope so. I will say that the way that this is going for both fighters, it starts to feel like it’s whoever gets to who first. Although, we’ve seen Anthony Joshua in trouble and come back from it, we haven’t seen Wilder in that kind of difficulty come back.
I think Wilder’s best chance in that fight is to get him out in the first three or four rounds. I believe if the fight goes on, Joshua’s strength could be an impact, but we’ll see. Joshua is probably technically a better fighter than Wilder. Wilder is quicker, has better movement, is more difficult to figure out because he’s so unorthodox and unconventional sometimes.
Both fighters have certain things that they can bring into this fight as a plus. Boxing has had a great year in 2017, and heading into 2018, it’s looking like all great matches are being made for this coming year as well. The Wilder-Joshua fight would go along way toward putting boxing right back on a path it should be and it would help build on 2017, which was really special.
Jenna J: Showtime already has announced some events for 2018 that they will be doing. On January 12th, Claressa Shields will be defending both her IBF and WBC belts against Tori Nelson. On January 20th, we have Errol Spence vs. Lamont Peterson. What do you think of both of those fights?
Al Bernstein: Claressa Shields is carving out quite a name for herself in the pro ranks. There are a couple of fights out there for her that could be very interesting. In this one she will be facing an undefeated contender. Shields is an amazing fighter, but the depth in woman’s boxing at the higher weights is not as great as it is at the lower weights, so her issue is finding opponents that make sense and that she can shine against. She has been very dedicated about her pro career and she has a lot of fans up there in Michigan where the fight will be.
Lamont Peterson is one of those fighters that fights everybody, never turns down a tough opponent, and except for the Matthysse fight — which he lost early — has never been in a dull or non competitive fight. Errol Spence is really good, we found that out against Kell Brook, that was a big test for him. Spence hadn’t fought that level of competition and he went to England and the first six rounds of the fight were dead even, great give and taken, and then Errol Spence took over the fight.
Spence is a thunderous body puncher. He’s an aggressive fighter who doesn’t get hit as much as you would think he would. Lamont Peterson is a master boxer/puncher who also likes to get into the trenches — probably more than he should — so I think it will be a very entertaining fight. Errol Spence is clearly the favorite in that fight, but I expect Lamont Peterson to make it very entertaining.