Deontay Wilder entering the biggest test of his career on Saturday, the WBC heavyweight champion had the most violent answer of all.
In a career-defining performance against the most avoided fighter in the division, Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) rallied from the brink of defeat to finish fellow unbeaten Luis "King Kong" Ortiz in a dramatic, all-action fight in Brooklyn.
Oritz looked like he would dethrone Wilder in the seventh round, countering with a strong right hand that hurt the WBC heavyweight champion. Ortiz unleashed a barrage of punches against a stunned Wilder, who somehow managed to stay on his feet to close the round before being saved by the bell. Ortiz continued his assault on Wilder into the eighth round, who again managed to make it through the round.
In the ninth round, Wilder began to rebound as he knocked Ortiz off-balance with a straight right hand. America’s only reigning heavyweight champion was firmly back in the fight as he landed a strong combination on Ortiz to close the round, completely changing the momentum of the fight.
Both fighters came out strong at the start of the tenth round, landing simultaneous blows that made each fighter temporarily wobbly. But it was Wilder who capitalized on the moment, as the Alabama-native pounced on Ortiz, sending his opponent to the canvas for the second time of the night with a flurry of overhand right hands. A dazed Ortiz returned to his feet, but was unable to withstand a follow-up assault from a confident Wilder, who landed an uppercut that sent Ortiz to the canvas for the third and final time.
“ 'King Kong' ain't got nothing on me!" Wilder screamed after the victory. "A true champion always finds a way to come back and that's what I did tonight. If you speak it and believe it, you will receive it, baby. The mind is very powerful."
"The heavyweight champion is a man's man; he has some huge cojones," Wilder promoter Lou DiBella said.
"He walked through the fire and he knocked the guy out. That's what the f--- it's all about. "His punching power is ungodly. It allows him to make mistakes that other people can't get away with."
WATCH THE FULL FIGHT HERE