Is Luis Ortiz the most feared Heavyweight in the World?
by Hector Franco
In 2015 the heavyweight division got a facelift. No longer did Wladimir Klitschko run it. By the end of the year the top ten of the division looked vastly different with the likes of Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder and Alexander Povetkin at the top. Another heavyweight has emerged out of 2015 and he may be the most feared heavyweight of them all. This heavyweight is none other than Luis 'King Kong' Ortiz. Ortiz isn’t a young fighter, but for the heavyweight division he is right in line with most of the other heavyweights sans Wilder and Fury. Luis Ortiz may be the most decorated heavyweight currently as only Alexander Povetkin rivals his amateur background. Ortiz amassed an over 350 fights as an amateur including multiple medals and a gold medal at the Pan-American games in 2005. Ortiz as a professional has only 24 fights, but his amateur background gives him an advantage that most heavyweights don’t have in this era.
This week it was reported that Ortiz’s promoter Golden Boy Promotions was having trouble securing a bout for Ortiz in March. It seems that the issue was not a monetary one, but one of facing Ortiz. Ortiz has been put into a WBA heavyweight tournament where his first opponent was supposed to be Alexander Ustinov. Ustinov wanted more time to train for the bout stating he would not be ready to fight by March 5th. Ortiz and his team had to settle for anyone who would take the fight. The opponent for March 5th is now Alexander Dimitrenko. He has won six fights in a row, but he is best known for being stopped by Kubrat Pulev. It's not an opponent that fans may have wanted, but Ortiz had to fight somebody.
The promotional divide in the sport have made Ortiz the out man out in the heavyweight division. It is unlikely that Deontay Wilder or Charles Martin will ever step in the ring with him. For other heavyweights like Tyson Fury and Alexander Povetkin that are not with Al Haymon it would be a risk to take on Ortiz. It would possibly jeopardize future match ups with Wilder and Martin.
Ortiz has many issues going against him at this point. As a Cuban heavyweight that hasn’t been very active over the last few years he hasn’t amassed any sort of fans base besides hardcore boxing fans. Ortiz is also one of the strongest punchers in the sport that is clearly exemplified on his record of 24 wins with 21 knockouts. Going along with his punching power is his technique and poise in the ring. Ortiz has the ability to make fighters do things that they normally wouldn’t to create openings to attack. Ortiz’s last performance showed his vast array of skill. He counter punched, out boxed and ultimately knocked out Bryant Jennings out in the seventh round. It was a performance that put the entire division on notice. It may have also damaged Ortiz in a sense as it may have scared the rest of the division from stepping in the ring with him. Ortiz also has a lingering issue of being dismissed by other heavyweights due to past drug test failures. Negotiations for Ortiz will be up to him to decide if he wants to be treated as the B-side against the top tier in the division. Ortiz can demonstrate himself as a clean fighter by using programs such as VADA for all of his bouts.
With the heavyweight division being as hot as it has ever been it is imperative that Ortiz and Golden Boy give him the best fights available. For now, it looks like Ortiz will have to take some cuts in money or put in a performance where he looks more ordinary than extraordinary in order to lure opponents into the ring. The heavyweight division has a new boogeyman and his name is Luis Ortiz.