Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino; Hollywood, Florida:
After he improved his record at the venue to 7-0 with 6 knockouts; Luis Ortiz is once again on the verge of a title shot. Or is he? Just how viable is Ortiz? Right now the Cuban silver medalist is 42-years old, and winning the IBF title eliminator against Charles Martin plants him in the middle of the conversation. The only problem is there’s a bottle neck at the top.
While age isn’t the only factor at play against him; remember George Foreman won the WBA title at 45, then Bernard Hopkins won straps at 46, 48, and 49-years old, it’s a factor. Now-a-days fighters fight once, maybe twice a year. The oddity is three-times. Oleksandr Usyk still has business with Anthony Joshua. Throw in Tyson Fury along with all everyone’s mandatories at it will be a while before King Kong gets his crack.
When the TKO finish came at 97-seconds into round-6, Charles Martin was ahead on the cards. Ortiz might still have a chin and pop in his hands, but the speed is a tad slower. The ability to finish someone is still there too. But until that final stretch; starting with an overhand left that put Martin on ice skates he looked older than 42 at times. He did set the pace early too and mixed things up well in the chess-match contest.
How Viable Is Ortiz?
Plus the messiest part of the sport, the politics of it all. While Ortiz versus Usyk looks fun (at least on paper right now); the Ukrainian knows how to frustrate fighters. And Ortiz can absolutely be frustrated. But Kong does have a hell of a chin on his side. The only people to put him on the mat were Deontay Wilder, and now Martin twice. Post fight Ortiz said:
“I told you it was going to be fireworks. He knocked me down twice, and in the end I finished him. I was never worried. I just kept working the jab. Southpaw against southpaw is a difficult fight, but at the end intelligence won it”.
Alexander Krassyuk, Usyk’s promoter doesn’t have the disgust for Al Haymon as some do (at least publicly). But the finances for a lot of other fights supersedes one with Ortiz. So what else can Ortiz do? He just came off of a 14-month layoff, and that’s just too long for him. So although he didn’t call anyone out this time, PBC could stay in-house by having him fight Andy Ruiz. Two other options could be Michael Hunter and former Haymon client Joe Joyce which could sell with a fun backstory.
The skillsets for all those in-line ahead of him are just so much greater. Ortiz is a solid fighter; more of a slugger than “pure boxer” at this point. But he’s going to need some serious pixie dust to capture a title from here on out.