The Big Question: Do you see Luis Ortiz as a future heavyweight king?

Boxing Monthly
19/10/2016 7:18am

With Luis Ortiz signing for Matchroom, we asked our online team whether they see the big Cuban as a future heavyweight king ...

Luis Ortiz reminds me slightly of someone like Lucian Bute in terms of hype. He has undoubtedly been avoided and looked superb at times in dispatching his foes. But, as of yet, his professional resume is populated with gatekeeper types, his best wins by far coming against a solid Bryant Jennings and a way past his best Tony Thompson. His next opponent Malik Scott is another fighter in a similar mould, although I’d say he is a step below Jennings.

The Cuban certainly passes the ‘eye test’ however. He has the tools. He has the experience, from a long and successful amateur career, and, now Fury has given up his belts, there should be plenty of 'titles' for him to challenge for, not least the WBA which, I assume, Ortiz will be put forward to fight for due to having twice owned this governing body's interim bauble. (But you know what they say about assumptions in boxing!)

As for if he can unify the division, who knows? I would, again, assume that his signing by Matchroom is to build up to a unification fight with Joshua. Right now, I’d pick Ortiz. A year or two down the road, I’m not sure. - James Oddy

'A' future heavyweight king?  Yes.

'The' future heavyweight king?  No.

The whole Ortiz story is very messy, especially of late and I doubt we've seen the last of the 'twists' in the story at all.  With new management it'll take some time to find the new path, and by seeming to have dumped the (albeit worthless) WBA Interim bauble he is 'starting again' in his quest for a title shot, whereas the trinket may have helped him force a shot.  37 is not old these days, but the longer it goes, the less time there is to shine ... and when push comes to shove, he's still built his whole top-flight reputation on one fight against Bryant Jennings, who seemed to have the career punched out of him by Wladimir Klitschko, one fight earlier.

Ortiz should thank Fury for opening up the title-picture - and I do think he'll grab one, but he won't reign for long and will soon disappear into the sunset of the free world with a bundle of cash in his bank account. - Colin Harris

At this present time there isn't a single heavyweight on the planet that I would pick to beat Ortiz but whether he can secure the fights to prove this is another matter entirely, especially with the division being an utter mess at the moment. Cuban professional boxers have long struggled to build any sort of fan base and have had a tendency to go off the rails and make daft business decisions which have prevented them from obtaining the fights and the wealth they so crave, so predicting the path of Ortiz is a tricky scenario.

Also feel free to call me a cynical old curmudgeon but signing the talented southpaw to keep him away from Joshua isn't the worst theory of all time. Keeping your friends close and your enemies closer is sometimes a smart thing to do and I understand Don King used this stratagy back in the day. - Marcus Bellinger

The phrasing of the question is interesting and since Tyson Fury became king without a throne, the path to being crowned 'a' heavyweight champion appears much less treacherous. Where John L Sullivan famously declared: "I can lick any sonofabitch in the house," the modern equivalent might tweet: "How about I fight number 11 for the 'regular' belt? Can it be PPV?"

Since Matchroom signed 'King Kong', the boxing scene speculated about motivations for a somewhat left-field signing, ranging from hedging bets should they make a Joshua bout (remember Don King arriving with the champ [Frazier] and leaving with the champ [Foreman]?), to taking control of Ortiz's career with a view to steering the dangerous Cuban away from the cash-cow IBF champion. 

Modern boxing history is cluttered with the bloated career scraps of outstanding amateurs-turned-underwhelming heavyweight professionals - notably Jorge Luis Gonzalez and Odlanier Solis - and in a sport which made sense, Ortiz's name would be added to the list following a positive steroid test just two years ago. He is, after all, 37 years old. This being boxing, though, just two fights later Ortiz was challenging - and regaining - the same ridiculous interim belt he'd cheated to 'win'.

That being said, Ortiz has shown enough in dominating Bryant Jennings and Tony Thompson to suggest he possesses plenty enough skill and power to sweep up one of the vacant 'world' straps on offer if and when he gets a title chance. My prediction is for this 'King Kong' to climb briefly to the boxing summit (such as it is) before being rather quickly shot down to earth. - Chris Williamson

Ortiz has talent, sure, but time and economics are not on his side. Signing for Matchroom will help him land some interesting fights and good pay days, but Anthony Joshua will remain Eddie Hearn's marquee name and the man who he is trying to steer towards the 'unified' heavyweight title. I also don't see a long queue of contenders willing to take on 'King Kong'. Given his high rating and standing with the organisation a possible shot at the WBA title is Luis' best route to success, but I can't see him unifying the titles before time, or a younger, fresher contender, such as Joshua, catches up with him. - Luke G. Williams