By Frank Lotierzo
Hearn-Ortiz Partnership – It’s been recently reported that heavyweight Luis “King Kong” Ortiz, who holds an interim world title and is perhaps the most feared heavyweight in the division, signed a promotional agreement with Eddie Hearn’s company Matchroom Boxing. What a great move for both Ortiz and Hearn. It’s been said in this space for the better part of a year that Ortiz didn’t quite fully understand the business of boxing…..well, it certainly looks like that has changed and someone sat Luis down and explained to him the facts of professional boxing from the business side.
Hearn now controls the most formidable heavyweight in the division, Luis Ortiz 25-0 (22) and its biggest star on the horizon, Anthony Joshua 17-0 (17). With perhaps the two biggest punchers in the division under his umbrella, Hearn doesn’t have to worry about them facing each other, at least for now.
“Luis Ortiz is one of the most exciting heavyweights in the world and I am delighted to be working with him,” Hearn said. “We plan to keep him very busy and let the fans enjoy his devastating power. Luis is an avoided fighter but we plan on giving him the profile that will make that impossible.”
And to that Hearn has come out of the gate fast, having already lined up a fight for Ortiz against American Malik Scott 38-2-1 (13) on November 12th in Monte Carlo, Monaco for the vacant WBA Inter-Continental title. The Ortiz-Scott bout will be part of the undercard which also features Jamie McDonnell, Stephen Smith and a high profile clash between Martin Murray and Arthur Abraham.
The southpaw Ortiz, 37, looks to be hitting his stride based on his showing in his last two bouts in which he stopped Americans Bryant Jennings and Tony Thompson – both in an impressive fashion. And I’ve read where some have inferred that Ortiz now will get a shot at Joshua, a star fighter on SKY Box office.
Not so fast!
Look for Hearn to use Ortiz as a carrot and gate-keeper for Joshua. Ortiz is at the point where getting paid and making money means just as much to him as it does fighting for a title. He realizes that the title doesn’t always insure making a fortune. Ortiz says he’s 37, but it’s possible he’s older than that. He doesn’t have a following and is running out of time. He needs exposure and money and Hearn has the means to provide both. So don’t expect Ortiz to get out of line and complain that he’s not getting to face Joshua.
Hearn will keep Ortiz busy by looking to put him in against the fighters that Eddie deems as being a little too dangerous to match against Joshua at this stage. In the interim if he can maneuver Ortiz to fight for one of the belts, he’ll do that (which will come a lot easier if Tyson Fury is stripped). And the great thing about having Ortiz in the fold is that none of the fighters seeking a bout with Joshua has a prayer to get by him. And that’s great for Hearn, because Joshua represents the future of the heavyweight division. It’s been a long time waiting for a heavyweight who can truly excite boxing fans like AJ is on the cusp of doing worldwide. Joshua has the look, physique, skill set and power, plus he’s personable and likable. You couldn’t ask for anymore from a potential superstar. The last thing the division needs is for Joshua to lock horns with Ortiz right now and Anthony getting stopped, which is totally plausible.
Hearn has reiterated that the problem with Ortiz is, he’s “bloody good and very dangerous but no one knows who he is outside of boxing.” That, and there’s no money fighting him. So it’s looks as if Hearn plans on trying to raise his profile. And that begins with him fighting Scott in Monaco, then perhaps on a Joshua undercard and possibly fighting him in the United States in February and by next summer he’ll be ready to go against Joshua, Fury, Haye or the WBO title holder. With his mindset being once there’s money in fighting Ortiz it won’t be hard to get him fights……And he couldn’t be more right.
However, don’t get too excited that he mentioned Joshua on his IFL TV interview. AJ is the last resort if Ortiz erases everybody else and only Joshua is left. And by the time that happens, if it does, Ortiz with be crowding 40 and most likely on the decline. But that’s kay because Luis will still be undefeated and no doubt will be viewed as AJ’s toughest test, and for a ton of PPV money. And like it was during the 1980’s and 90s with Don King, Hearn can’t lose.
For the first time in his career there’s a buzz around Luis Ortiz. That has to sit well with him. As for Hearn, he’s going to use Ortiz to hopefully open up some new markets and venues for him, while at the same time taking out of the mix the biggest threat to his golden child Anthony Joshua until Ortiz ages a little more and Anthony matures and develops a little more.
The partnership bringing heavyweight Luis Ortiz and promoter Eddie Hearn together is a win-win for both parties. Hearn is a sharp cookie for seizing Ortiz and gaining control of his career and Ortiz was smart to turn over the keys. Hopefully now we’ll get to see more of Luis and find out just how good he really is!
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com / Hearn-Ortiz Partnership