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Bermane Stiverne not interested in Luis Ortiz fight

Image: Bermane Stiverne not interested in Luis Ortiz fight

By Jeff Aranow: #1 WBC Bermane Stiverne (25-2-1 21 KOs) has turned up his nose at the idea of him sharing the ring with #2 WBC heavyweight contender Luis “King Kong” Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs) in what would be a World Boxing Council eliminator bout.

Stiverne, 38, says he has other options on the agenda for his near future. He’s not interested in fighting the soon to be 38-year-old Ortiz. It’s unclear what big fight Stiverne has on his plate. He’s not fought in over a year since beating Derric Rossy by a 10 round unanimous decision on November 14, 2015. Stiverne lost his WBC title to Deontay Wilder in January 2015 in a 12 round decision loss. Since that defeat, Stiverne has rarely fought.

“Just to clear up the rumors and lies, a fight between Ortiz and I isn’t happening. We got bigger fish to fry,” said Stiverne on his social media site.

Unless the WBC is going to give Stiverne the mandatory position without him having to fight, he’s going to have to fight someone good to earn that spot. Wilder isn’t likely going to fight Stiverne in a voluntary defense, because that’s not been his style since he won the WBC belt two years ago.

Wilder has focused more on fighting fringe level contenders ranked 10 and below when defending his title in voluntary defenses. Why would Wilder break that pattern to fight someone with the kind of power that Stiverne has? That’s why it’s important that Stiverne face a good contender so that he can earn the mandatory position. It’s too bad Stiverne isn’t interested in facing Ortiz, because that would be the fastest way for him to earn the mandatory position to get a rematch with Wilder.

Ortiz doesn’t need the Stiverne fight for him to get a title shot. He’s promoted by Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn, who also promotes IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. Ortiz is ranked #1 with the World Boxing Association, and he’s going to be given a shot at the winner of the April 29 fight between Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko.

Ortiz doesn’t need face Stiverne for him to earn a title shot. He’ll get one anyway and a much bigger payday against the winner of the Joshua-Klitschko fight. Hearn is the decider when Ortiz will be allowed to fight Joshua if he gets past Klitschko. If he wants the fight to take place in 2017, then that’s what will happen. The fact that Ortiz was interested in facing Stiverne suggests that Hearn might push the Joshua-Ortiz fight to 2018 in order to let the fight marinate for the boxing fans.

Ortiz still isn’t a big name in the UK, because he’s only been with Matchroom Sport a short period of time. All the fights that Ortiz has had since joining Hearn’s stable have been mismatches against Malik Scott and David Allen. Ortiz needs at least one or two wins over quality heavyweights to help build up a big money fight against Joshua.

Stiverne would have been perfect for Ortiz to pick up a victory over a well-known fighter from the boxing world. Ortiz is not the type of fighter that the top heavyweights are rushing to fight right now. If Hearn is going to get someone to agree to fight Ortiz, he might need to make a big offer by overpaying. Why would a top fighter take a dangerous fight against Ortiz when the chances of them winning are so low?

What Hearn could do if he wanted was to match Ortiz against Dillian Whyte. That would help create interest in the winner of the fight facing Joshua. However, Ortiz isn’t the youngest heavyweight, and he might not be able to get past Whyte in what would surely be a grueling battle.

Ortiz would need to show a lot more energy than he’s displayed in his last couple of fights if he wanted to get past Whyte. It’s unclear whether Ortiz can fight that kind of fight for 12 rounds without him gassing out like he used to do when he was in the amateur ranks for his big fights.

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