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Luis Ortiz to fight on December 10

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By Scott Gilfoid: Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn plans on matching unbeaten highly ranked heavyweight contender Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz (26-0, 22 KOs) against a good heavyweight that comes to win on December 10 on the undercard of the Anthony Joshua vs. Eric Molina heavyweight clash at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.

With only a month to go before Ortiz’s fight on December 10, it’s not too likely that Hearn is going to be able to find a good heavyweight that is willing to take the fight against Ortiz on short notice.

Hearn says he wants someone that will try and win, but what are his options with less than a month to go? You’re probably not going to get a good heavyweight that is willing to travel to the UK, and fight an A-side fighter like Ortiz. I doubt that some of the UK heavyweights will want to take the fight with so little time to prepare.

This comes after Ortiz’s poor performance against Malik Scott last Saturday night in Monte Carlo. Ortiz, 37, showed slow foot speed in that fight, as he plodded around the ring, showing no ability to cut off the ring against a mobile heavyweight. Ortiz won the fight by a 12 round unanimous decision by the scores 120-105, 120-106 and 119-106. Ortiz knocked Scott down three times in the fight. Still, Ortiz did not look good. He was slow, plodding and not particularly energetic looking.

This was the first time that Ortiz had fought a heavyweight with mobility since he turned pro six years ago in 2010, and he looked awful. Ortiz may have been quick on his feet a decade ago when he was an amateur star in his native Cuba, but he sure didn’t look fast on his feet last Saturday. Ortiz plodded around the ring like someone carrying a full load of groceries on his back. I got the impression that Ortiz was fearful of gassing out if he moved at a quicker pace in trying to force that action.

Ortiz had the look of a fighter that was afraid to gas out. That’s not good news for Hearn, because he recently signed the aging heavyweight to his Matchroom Stable, and he’s hoping to turn him into a star in British boxing. Hearn doesn’t have much time to accomplish that task before Ortiz ages further and is not even the slow guy we saw last Saturday.

Hearn was blaming Malik Scott for Ortiz’s lackluster performance last Saturday night in Monaco instead of getting to the root of the problem by admitting that his newly signed fighter has slow feet and is unable to cut off the ring like the more nimble-footed heavyweights in the division.

Hearn said this to skysports.com about Ortiz’s performance against Scott:

“In my opinion, he was afraid from round one,” said Hearn about Malik Scott. “I think Luis Ortiz should have forced the pace a little bit more to try and get him out of there, but he was frustrated himself. He’s got to learn from that 12 rounds. Disappointing from Malik Scott. These guys have got to come to win and we will find someone on December 10 who will come to win, and then you will see the best of Luis Ortiz.”

So in other words, because Malik Scott didn’t fight Ortiz’s fight by standing and slugging it out like a good opponent, he was a bad opponent. Hearn and Ortiz are going to need to understand that the top fighters are not going to fight Ortiz’s fight by standing stationary so that he can slug it out with them. When they realize that Ortiz’s game is built on slugging, it makes no sense at all for them to fight the way that he needs them to fight for him to win.

If all Hearn is going to do is match Ortiz against sluggers, then he’s going to give a false impression of how good he actually is. You can argue that Ortiz has been matched against weak, stationary fighters his entire career, and that’s the major reason why he’s still unbeaten. At some point, you’ve got to put Ortiz in with fighters that aren’t going to fight his fight.

It’s better that Ortiz fight guys that try different game plans on him now rather than him having to deal with it when he gets in with someone really good. Can you imagine what would have happened to Ortiz if he had been inside the ring with a mobile heavyweight like Deontay Wilder last Saturday night? Wilder would likely have jabbed Ortiz’s head off, and taken advantage of his glacial way of moving around the ring at a snail’s pace.

I wouldn’t be so sure that Hearn will “see the best of Luis Ortiz” if he puts him in with someone that comes to win. Yeah, if Hearn picks a poor heavyweight for Ortiz to beat, he’ll show his best stuff in blowing out the poor sap like we’ve seen in the past with his wins over guys that were mostly horrible fighters to begin with, but I don’t think we’re going to see the best of Ortiz if he gets matched tough. At this point, I can’t see Ortiz beating even Dillian Whyte.

I hope Hearn doesn’t make the mistake of matching Ortiz with Whyte BEFORE he puts him in with Joshua, because I think Whyte will spoil the party by defeating him. Once Ortiz loses to someone like Whyte, then I don’t know what Hearn will be able to do with him. Hearn signed Ortiz, and I guess he’ll have to figure out a place to take him. There would be no sense in trying to arrange a heavyweight title fight for Ortiz if he gets beaten by Whyte or someone else. Hearn would need to put Ortiz in a rebuilding phase.

Hearn did a good job of getting one of his fighters super featherweight Stephen Smith another quick title shot last Saturday night against WBA 130lb champion Jason Sosa after Smith was beaten earlier this year by IBF champion Jose Pedraza. In other words, it might not matter how many times Ortiz gets beaten, Hearn could pull the strings to get him title shots anyway like he did with Stephen Smith and with super middleweight Martin Murray, who has fought for world titles on four occasions and come up empty each time.

Maybe it won’t matter if Ortiz gets beaten by Whyte or someone like David Price. Never the less, I don’t think Hearn is going to match Ortiz against someone good enough to beat him on December 10. Even if Hearn could find someone really good to face him on short notice, I doubt he’d do it. Trying to sell a fight between Ortiz and Joshua to the British public on Sky Box Office pay-per-view might be difficult for Hearn if Ortiz gets beaten by someone before that. The boxing fans will obviously be more enamored of a fight between Joshua and Ortiz if the Cuban fighter is still undefeated.

“Malik was running around the ring and made it hard to come and fight,” said Ortiz to skysports.com about Malik’s mobility last Saturday. “Everybody comes to see a show. They want to see people fight and brawl, and it made it difficult for me. I would have liked to knock him out, but him running around made it hard,” said Ortiz.

It’s always sad when a heavyweight gets exposed for the first time. Whether Hearn wants to admit it or not, Ortiz was exposed by Malik Scott last Saturday night. Scott exposed the slow feet of Ortiz, and showed that he can’t cut off the ring at all. Malik showed the blueprint in how to beat Ortiz by using movement, fast punches, and presenting a stationary target for him. Unfortunately there’s not much you can do for fighters with slow feet. The best thing Hearn can do is match Ortiz carefully until he eventually puts him with Joshua for a PPV fight to sell to the British public. I suspect Ortiz will be destroyed in that fight. I’m not sure what Hearn will do with Ortiz after that.


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