Here’s What Luis Ortiz Should Do – His name is Luis “the Real King Kong” Ortiz. He was born in Cuba, reportedly in late March of 1979, and is currently 25-0 (22) as a professional boxer. Ortiz is the WBA interim heavyweight champ, a title he held once before but had it stripped from him because he tested positive for anabolic steroids. In his last two bouts he scored impressive stoppage wins over Bryant Jennings and Tony Thompson – two fighters who fared much better against Wladimir Klitschko when they challenged Klitschko for the universally recognized title. And there’s the problem, Ortiz is too good for his own good and has been and will continue to be avoided by the emerging heavyweights like the Zika virus. Ortiz has a better chance of fighting Floyd Mayweather in a catch-weight bout than he does of securing a title shot this year versus any of the current heavyweight belt holders.
It’s been a long time coming, but the heavyweight division is waking up. For the first time since the Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis and Riddick Bowe era circa 1986-1999, there are some compelling match ups in the offing involving IBF title holder Anthony Joshua 17-0 (17), WBC title holder Deontay Wilder 37-0 (36) and the lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury 25-0 (18)….assuming that Fury successfully retains his title against Wladimir Klitschko 64-4 (53) in their upcoming rematch scheduled for November 28th. Perhaps former cruiserweight and WBA heavyweight title holder David Haye’s name could be thrown into the mix as well, but he has even more reason than the others to avoid Ortiz. So it’s a pretty safe bet that unless Ortiz owns a piece of hardware that Haye wants, we’ll never see them in the same building at the same time unless they are introduced while attending the same event.
For Luis Ortiz there are a multitude of hurdles in his path in regards to him getting a title shot. Making matters worse for him is his birth certificate. Ortiz turned 37 this past March and may even be slightly older than what he claims. Therefore, the current title holders can wait him out because time is on their side.
Ortiz was a decorated amateur amassing a 343-19 record as a member of Team Cuba. Today he lives and trains in Miami, Florida. Ortiz is a southpaw, and at 6-4 weighing in between 240-245, he’s got a tremendous physique and a functional boxer’s body. He’s very smooth and graceful for a fighter of his proportion. Ortiz is a sound boxer who can punch, and he’s consistent in delivering his power which makes him dangerous. In his 25 professional bouts only Bryant Jennings caught him with anything of consequence, but Ortiz didn’t seem all that fazed, so it’s probably not a reach in assuming he owns a reliable chin as a last line of defense. Now couple all of that with the fact that Luis is unknown outside of boxing circles, doesn’t speak English and isn’t very colorful outside the ring, and the question becomes what can he do to call attention to himself in order to get the media and public to take more notice of him and force the hand of one of the reigning title holders?
Ortiz was scheduled to fight Alexander Ustinov 33-1 (24) on Sept 17th on the Canelo-Smith undercard in Dallas. This would’ve exposed him to many fans who have never seen him. Ustinov is a big guy who would’ve been made to order for Ortiz to clobber and stop. However, according to multiple sources, Ortiz is refusing to honor his agreement to fight Ustinov because he’s looking to terminate his contract with Golden Boy Promotions. If that’s true it’s obvious Ortiz has become very frustrated that he’s not been moved along better by Golden Boy and HBO. But pulling out of the bout is a big mistake, unless something went on behind the scenes that we don’t know about, at least not yet.
Ortiz is in a position similar to super bantamweight title holder Guillermo Rigondeaux, only worse. Rigondeaux has the option to keep moving up in weight until someone has the stones to fight him. With Ortiz being a heavyweight, no such option exists. It’s easy to grasp why Ortiz is becoming disillusioned with his situation. He’s defeated two contenders more decisively than any other heavyweight, but you don’t even hear his backers screaming for a shot at one of the big three title holders (Joshua, Wilder, and Fury). And at age 37, Luis knows that time isn’t on his side. However, his panic attack move pulling out of the Ustinov bout clearly shows that he doesn’t understand the business of professional boxing.
If I were advising Ortiz, I’d strongly stress that he goes through with the fight and destroys Ustinov. In the meantime I’d tell him to work on his English. I’d also encourage him to call out and shame one of the big three at center ring after the fight. No, he’s not going to be able to emulate Tyson Fury getting into Deontay Wilder’s face after Wilder successfully defended his title against Artur Szpilka – but I’d come up with something along that line. If at all possible, I’d have him try to implement Clubber Lang’s tactics before the first of his two fights with Rocky Balboa in Rocky III.
In phase two of my strategy, I’d troll Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury and leave Anthony Joshua alone. Joshua is too easy-going and would just laugh at Ortiz or anyone else trying to humiliate and shame him into a fight. So I’d leave him alone. As for Wilder and Fury, they’d respond in public to someone getting in their face and calling them a paper tiger or a gutless champ. Soon after that Deontay and Tyson would start being asked more and more about fighting Ortiz. At first they might try and turn a deaf ear to it, but eventually boxing fans would start demanding the fight, and that just might do it.
Other than that, Ortiz is really in a catch-22. Right now he’s probably the most formidable heavyweight fighter in boxing. But boxing is more than just being a good fighter. If you’re not well-connected or your management isn’t getting it done, you have to do something to shake things up, provided you haven’t already been tied in knots by your manager and promoter.
As a lifelong boxing aficionado…I want to know who the baddest heavyweight in the sport is. If Luis Ortiz doesn’t get a shot at one of the current title holders, then the picture is incomplete. Sadly, I’m probably in the minority because not many so-called fans know enough about Ortiz to care about seeing him get his hands on Joshua, Wilder or Fury….and he just may be good enough to knock all three of them out!
I’d certainly love to find out.
Here’s What Luis Ortiz Should Do – Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com
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