- Referee Mike Ortega: An advantage for Tyson Fury during trilogy fight with Deontay Wilder?
Referee Mike Ortega: An advantage for Tyson Fury during trilogy fight with Deontay Wilder?
While most believe the competent, veteran ringside scorers, Tim Cheatham, Dave Moretti, and Patricia Morse Jarman, should prove to have an easy night at the office, many feel referee Mike Ortega will have his hands full, policing the action between the two giant, physical heavyweights.
The 25-year fight veteran has worked four events total in Nevada throughout 2021, including two Top Rank cards, a single PBC event, and one Matchroom Sport fight card.
His most recent heavyweight title assignment featured former WBO champion Joseph Parker against Razvan Cojanu in May of 2017 in New Zealand. Mr. Ortega has been recognized for his efforts in the ring by the Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame, and has been praised for his liberal style of officiating.
In other words, Ortega customarily lets both men fight and will often allow the two combatants to work themselves out of a clinch.
As shown in this all-action heavyweight contest between Byrant Jennings and Artur Szpilka in January of 2014, Referee Ortega often forced both men to police themselves in the ring, allowing them to regularly work in close quarters.
This could be a huge advantage for Tyson Fury, should the Gypsy King utilize the same strategy he implemented in his rematch with Wilder in February of 2020.
After scaling in at a massive 173 pounds for the highly anticipated rematch, the title challenger used his weight to tire the 230-pound champion by leaning on him whenever the action moved into close quarters.
Veteran referee Kenny Bayless elected to regularly separate the two heavyweights throughout seven hard rounds of action, and eventually deducted a point from Tyson Fury for excessive holding in the fifth stanza. The deduction and officious activity was no surprise to most ringside observers who had grown accustomed to the tendencies and active style of referee Kenny Bayless.
By choosing to forcefully create distance between the two heavyweights often throughout every three minute stanza, Bayless' officious style seemed to be an advantage for the fighter most deficient on the inside...in this case, Deontay Wilder. Creating separation between the two combatants ultimately gave Wilder more opportunities to time Fury as he was coming in with a straight right hand down the middle.
Although the incumbent champ was never able to find a home for his right hand missle, most experts at ringside viewed the officious activity from the third man in the ring as a clear advantage for the "Bronze Bomber".
More separations from the referee in charge equals more opportunities to land something big as your opponent attempts to close the distance.
Despite receiving the fortuitous "Bayless advantage" for most of the fight, Deontay Wilder heavily scrutinized the 71 year old referee post-fight for calling a halt to the action midway through the seventh round, immediately after seeing former trainer Mark Breland throw a towel into the ring, suggesting a stoppage.
Will referee Mike Ortega be forced to make a similar decision in the trilogy match on July 24? Should the match-up become another rough, inside affair, will the 25 year professional start deducting points to the fighter instigating the clinch?
If history repeats itself, fans shouldn't be surprised if the Connecticut-based ref allows the high-stakes championship fight to play out to its natural conclusion.
Will Referee Mike Ortega prove to be an advantage for Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder on July 24?
Fans should hope they see very little of referee Mike Ortega in the squared circle on fight night.