Luis Ortiz vs. Tony Thompson won’t have interim WBA title on line
By Jeff Aranow: This Saturday’s fight between interim WBA heavyweight champion Luis “The Real King Kong” Ortiz (24-0, 21 KOs) and Tony Thompson (40-6, 27 KOs) will not have Ortiz’s interim WBA title on the line, according to Fight News. The Ortiz vs. Thompson fight will be televised on HBO Boxing.
The reasons are because the 44-year-old Thompson isn’t ranked in the top 15 by the World Boxing Association at this time. Further, Thompson was recently beaten by Malik Scott in October of last year in his last fight. Thompson was also beaten by Carlos Takam and Kubrat Pulev in the last three years.
All total, Thompson has lost three out of his last five fights. The only wins Thompson has since 2014 were both against an out of shape Odlanier Solis. The WBA also wanted Golden Boy Promotions to put together a fight between Ortiz and #5 WBA Alexander Ustinov, and that has failed to happen unfortunately.
So instead of the Ortiz vs. Thompson fight having Ortiz’s interim WBA heavyweight title on the line, it’s just a regular fight in the heavyweight division. If Thompson wins the fight, he won’t be the new interim WBA champion. You have to wonder whether Thompson was told by Golden Boy during the negotiations that it’s just a regular fight without him having a chance to win the interim WBA title.
If the only reason that Thompson agreed to the fight was because he thought he would have a chance to become the new interim WBA champion if he won, then it probably isn’t going to make him too happy to learn that he won’t have a chance to win the belt. It’s still a good fight that helps Thompson’s career if he wins. It’ll push him higher in the heavyweight rankings and increase the chance that he eventually gets another world title shot. Thompson has twice fought former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2008 and 2012 and was knocked out in both fights.
If HBO only agreed to the Ortiz-Thompson fight because they thought that it would be a title fight, they might not be too excited. There’s a big difference between having Ortiz fight Thompson in a headliner fight with a title on the line then if there isn’t a title up for grabs. HBO usually has title fights in their main events on their cards unless they have someone that is so popular that a title isn’t needed. But the Ortiz-Thompson fight isn’t a fight that’s involving big names. It’s a couple of aging heavyweights going at it. Ortiz is 36, and Thompson 44.
Ortiz wants to get a world title fight against WBA champion Ruslan Chagaev. However, it’s unclear when that fight will eventually happen. Chagaev faces “Big Daddy” Browne this Saturday night in a tough title defense in Grozny. Chagaev could lose that fight.
Ortiz has the talent to win a world title and hold it down for a while. He just needs a chance to capture a belt. None of the other champions have expressed interest in facing the 6’4″ Ortiz, and you can’t blame them. Ortiz would be a difficult out for anyone in the division. He doesn’t bring much to the table in terms of popularity, and that obviously hurts his chances of getting a fight against one of them.