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Luis Ortiz: ‘Christian Hammer won’t go the distance with me’


By Jeff Aranow: Former heavyweight world title challenger Luis Ortiz says he’s not going to let Christian Hammer go the 10 round distance with him this Saturday night on March 2 in their fight on SHOWTIME at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

(Photo credit: Stephanie Trapp/SHOWTIME)

Ortiz, 39, wants an explosive performance in beating Hammer (24-5, 19 KOs) so that he can get another world title shot against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, who he came close to beating last year in March 2018. Ortiz needs to go after Hammer from the opening round if he wants to knock him out.

In Ortiz’s last fight against Travis Kauffman, he knocked him down in the sixth, eighth and the tenth rounds. Kauffman was durable in that he lasted until the 10th round before the referee stopped it while he was still on his feet. Ortiz has to be a lot quicker in knocking out Hammer on Saturday night, because he looked tired and lethargic at times against Kauffman. That’s not the type of performance that is going to get the attention of the boxing world.

IBF/WBA/WBO champion Anthony Joshua mentioned wanting to fight Ortiz (30-1, 26 KOs) later this year if he can’t land a fight against Wilder or Tyson Fury. Just how serious Joshua is about wanting to fight Ortiz is the magic question.

Hammer, 31, was able to go the full 12 rounds against Alexander Povetkin in December 2017 by just looking to survive rather than than trying to win the fight. Ortiz can’t afford to let that happen to him He’s need an impressive performance in the worst way to help increase his chances of getting a rematch with Wilder or a title shot against Joshua.

“I have a very strong and durable opponent. I know he can go 12 rounds with a top fighter like he did with Alexander Povetkin, so we’re not taking any chances,” Ortiz said. “I’m not Povetkin though. So he’s not going the distance with me,” Ortiz said.

The southpaw Ortiz is going to have to take the fight to Hammer, because the German fighter is going to be playing it safe the way he did against Povetkin. Hammer didn’t even try to win the fight.

Wilder was out on his feet in the 7th round after Ortiz stunned with a left hand. Ortiz punched himself out, and ended up getting stopped in the 10th.

“I want to be world champion. I’m going to go in there on Saturday and put on a performance that gets me another shot at the title,” Ortiz said. I’ve been preparing to be explosive on Saturday night.”

Ortiz is too good, and he’s a southpaw. That makes him someone to avoid by the top guys. The only significant name that has been willing to fight Ortiz during his pro career is Wilder. Joshua, Dillian Whyte and Tyson Fury aren’t interested in fighting ‘King Kong’ Ortiz, and probably won’t be until he stops being a threat.

Hammer has won seven out of his last eight fights, including his last two against Tornike Puritchamiashvili and Michael Wallisch. The biggest victory on Hammer’s 11-year pro career is his seventh round stoppage win over David Price in February 2017. Even in that fight, Hammer failed to impress. Price dropped Hammer in the fifth, but then gassed out trying to finish him off. Hammer has a lot of wins, but he’s compiled them against a whole bunch of lesser opposition.

Hammer then took over the fight and knocked Price out two rounds later in the seventh. A good fighter would have finished off Hammer if they had him in the same position that the 6’8″ Price did in round 5. Ortiz has stamina problems as well, but he’s someone that is still going to be more than dangerous enough to finish Hammer off if he gets him hurt on Saturday night. Even when Ortiz is tired, he remains dangerous with his left hand. Hammer is going to have a hard time tanking Ortiz’s power round after round in this fight.

“When the knockout comes, blast him through the ring,” Ortiz said. “Whoever they put in front of me, I’m going to go in there and try to knock them out.”

This is a fight that Ortiz cannot afford to lose on Saturday If he loses to Hammer, it could be game over for him. Ortiz wont get the title shot against either world champion if he loses to Hammer.

Ortiz vs. Hammer is the co-feature bout on the Erislandy Lara vs. Brian Castano card on SHOWTIME Championship Boxing. If Ortiz was matched against a better opponent than Hammer, he’d likely be the guy in the main event instead of fighting in the co-feature bout. Ortiz’s management will need to do their best to fin him someone good to fight after Hammer. Since Deontay Wilder is unlikely to give Ortiz the rematch that he wants, he’ll need to fight the best possible opponent willing to share the ring with him. Wilder is likely going to defend against his WBC mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale next. After that, he’ll want to fight Tyson Fury or Joshua. Wilder isn’t going to pick out a guy that almost beat him in Ortiz.

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