Luis Ortiz looking good, ready for Joshua or Wilder
By Aragon Garcia: Heavyweight knockout artist Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz (31-1, 26 KOs) looked impressive last Saturday night in beating Christian Hammer (24-6, 14 KOs) by a one-sided 10 round unanimous decision to make a case for him to now face world champions Anthony Joshua or Deontay Wilder next.
Hammer fought hard, but he was no match for the technical skills of King Kong Ortiz. It interesting how Ortiz was constantly switching styles to show different looks to Hammer to keep him guessing. Everything Ortiz did worked for him. It was like watching a scientist inside the ring.
Hammer did better in the championship rounds after Ortiz gassed a little. It was still all Ortiz in the fight for the entire contest, but Hammer looked marginally better in the last three rounds compared to in the first nine rounds. Ortiz showed against Hammer and Wilder that he has stamina problems that impact his performances in the last quarter of his fights. The thing is, it’s not easy to make it to the championship rounds against the hard hitting southpaw Ortiz.
Although Ortiz is getting up there in age at 39, he’s fighting better than most of the top heavyweights in the division. Ortiz’s left hand is the equalizer. We saw that with how Ortiz was able to hurt the defensive-minded Hammer several times in their fight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Ortiz might be too scary for Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn to let Joshua fight him. It would be a big risk for AJ, and it wouldn’t be a big reward as far as the money involved. The way that Hearn and Joshua have been dragging their feet when it comes to fighting Deontay Wilder, Ortiz is too dangerous for him. Hearn seems to risk averse when it comes to Joshua. He appears to be saving Joshua for the big money fight with Oleksander Usyk when he’s ready to face him either late 2019 or early 2020.
“The fight wasn’t what I was expecting,” said Ortiz. “It was a hard fight and my corner really had to work with me. After I got the rhythm, I heated up a little bit. Every heavyweight out there should know that I still have it at 40-years-old. Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, I’m ready.”
The wide scores showed how much of a dominating performance it was for Ortiz with him winning by the scores 99-91, 100-90 and 99-91. Hammer was out of his league fighting a talented heavyweight like Ortiz.
Luis Ortiz criticized by boxing fans
Despite the one-sided win for Ortiz, he was dumped on by a lot of fans and the media alike just because he didn’t knockout a fighter that came to survive in Hammer. It’s not fair you can argue. If this was another heavyweight, the fans would have been pleased with seeing them win in a one-sided manner but for Ortiz, it wasn’t enough to just give Hammer a boxing lesson for 12 rounds. Ortiz has spoiled the fans and the media with his knockouts
It was predicted going into the bout last Saturday night that ‘King Kong’ Ortiz would make easy work of the 257 pound Hammer by knocking him out without any problems, just as Tyson Fury had done in 2015 in stopping him in the 8th. That different situation. Hammer came to fight against the weaker punching Fury, and he got caught with some big uppercuts and hurt. Against Ortiz, Hammer fought like he was afraid, not mixing it up, and fighting like he wanted to survive. Ortiz didn’t get the knockout, but he stayed in the running for a title shot against Wilder and Joshua. That’s the important thing. As the saying goes, ‘Just win, baby.’
The Ortiz that we saw against Hammer last Saturday would give Anthony Joshua a lot of things to think about, especially the straight lefts that King Kong was continually landing. Hammer took those big left hand shots from Ortiz, but Joshua might be a different story. Joshua is aggressive, and he would put himself in the firing line for one of Ortiz’s left hand shots. It could be game over if Ortiz connects with a left hand as Joshua’s trying to throwing one of his right hands.
Ortiz has already sized Joshua up, and he knows he’s someone that he could do a number on if given the chance. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn had the chance to match him against Ortiz when he briefly promoted him several years ago, but he didn’t want to do it. If Hearn decides to finally let Joshua fight Ortiz now, it’s likely because he believes he’s lost something from his game.
Whatever Ortiz has lost, it might not be enough to guarantee a win for Joshua. Wilder and Tyson Fury are the main targets for Joshua for his next fight after his June 1 title defense against American Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller. Wilder probably won’t agree to the low ball offers from Hearn for the Joshua fight, and Top Rank and ESPN likely won’t want to let Fury fight AJ either. Fury just signed a five-fight deal with Top Rank, and most boxing fans think that they’re going to match him against only weak opposition until the fifth fight of the contract or until after they re-sign him to another five-fight deal. They’re trying to turn Fury into a star in the U.S, and that’s going to take a while. With Wilder and Fury not an option for Joshua, Ortiz is the ideal opponent apart from Dillian Whyte. Getting him to agree to the money they’re offering him at Matchroom might not be possible either. Again, it’s Ortiz that is looking like the best option for Joshua’s next fight after Big Baby Miller.
Joshua just finished beating Alexander Povetkin, who is a good fighter. But Povetkin isn’t the same guy he was in 2016. His power disappeared overnight, and he’s no longer knocking guys out. The way that Ortiz fought last Saturday night, he’d wipe the deck with Povetkin without any problems, and beat him easier than Joshua did, which wasn’t easy for him at all.