By Aragon Garcia: Heavyweight contender Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz (30-1, 26 KOs) has been looking really sharp in his workouts this week ahead of his fight this Saturday night against Christian Hammer (24-5, 14 KOs) on SHOWTIME at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The Cuban southpaw Ortiz is in top form, ready to beat Hammer, and earn another title shot.
In the workouts this week, Ortiz is showing serious punching power, and he has a look on his face like he’s not going to let Hammer hang around too long this Saturday night. Ortiz says he needs an explosive knockout victory to increase his chances of getting a title shot against one of the champions. That’s bad news potentially for Hammer if he’s not ready for a war on Saturday night.
Ortiz says he wants Anthony Joshua or Deontay Wilder in his next fight after he defeats Hammer on Saturday night. Ortiz came very close to beating Wilder last year in March. Rather than be discouraged by the 10th round knockout loss to Wilder, Ortiz is more motivated than ever to come back and beat him or defeat Joshua. Ortiz has a chance of fighting Joshua next than he does Wilder, because the WBC champion has a mandatory defense due against Dominic Breazeale.
Ortiz will be fighting Hammer, 31, as the chief support on the junior middleweight clash between WBA ‘regular’ champion Brian Castaño and former WBA champion Erislandy Lara on Premier Boxing Champions on SHOWTIME.
“This is a big fight for me to prove that I deserve another shot at the title. In my heart I still believe I had that fight against Deontay Wilder in my hands. It was mine to win. Hopefully he will step up and face me again.
Ortiz won his last fight in beating Travis Kauffman by a 10th round knockout last December. Ortiz toyed with Kauffman, knocking him down 3 times with big shots. Ortiz probably could have stopped Kauffman in the sixth after knocking him down down for the first time in the bout, but he showed no sense of urgency to get him out of there.
The top contenders have avoided the 39-year-old Ortiz, using his age and his lack of popularity as an excuse not to fight him. However, Ortiz has the hand speed and the talent to beat a lot of the top guys. Only Wilder has beaten him. That fight could have gone the other way if there wasn’t a delay in the start of the eighth round. Ortiz hurt Wilder in the seventh round, and had him close to being stopped as the round ended. The New York State Athletic Commission wanted to check Wilder out before they let him come out for the eighth round.
Wilder slightly staggered off his stool and walked over to the side of the ropes to be checked out by the Commission. By the time they finished looking Wilder over, he had recovered from being hurt, and he was able to retake control over the fight and stop Ortiz in the 10th.
“I don’t know how I’m going to win on Saturday, but I’ll leave with my hand raised. I don’t know how, but I’m going to do everything to make it happen,” Ortiz said.
The German heavyweight Hammer is sturdy fighter with a good chin, and average punching power. It’s not going to be easy for Ortiz to knock him out. Tyson Fury stopped Hammer four years ago in hurting him with uppercuts to stop him in the 8th round in 2015. Alexander Povetkin couldn’t hurt Hammer, and he had to be content with beating him by a 12 round unanimous decision in 2017 in a one-sided fight. Hammer’s ability to take the best shots from Povetkin for 12 rounds has Ortiz unsure if he’ll be able to knock him out or not.
“Christian Hammer says that he’s coming to win so he better come with a lot of energy,” Ortiz said. I’m ready for him and anyone else who steps up to the challenge.”