When news broke that Cuban Heavyweight Luis Ortiz signed with Al Haymon last week, it provided us with the evidence to determine if Al Haymon is a miracle worker, because it will take nothing short of a miracle for Ortiz to get the big fights he feels he deserves.
Though Ortiz is considered to be the best Heavyweight nobody wants to fight and Haymon has made it a part of his personal agenda to revitalize the Heavyweight division in the United States, this is not a match that is going to yield any fruit in any capacity. Ortiz is old, 38 to be exact, and has squandered plenty of momentum in his late start to the professional ranks by twice testing positive for banned substances and playing hopscotch from one promoter to the next in hopes that he’ll land a title shot.
Last year, Ortiz fought three times with two different promoters in dreadful bouts with Tony Thompson, one the worst fights ever with Malik Scott and rounded it out with a stoppage win over some guy named David Allen. Ortiz started the year with Golden Boy, but upon the realization that Golden Boy has no idea what they are doing he thought he’d do the smart thing and sign with Eddie Hearn in hopes of getting involved in the much bigger and better Heavyweight scene in the UK.
Ortiz was hoping to land a fight with Anthony Joshua, Wladimir Klitschko or David Haye, but matters of mandatory defenses ensured the Joshua/Kiltschko winner would be tied up for the immediate future and Haye’s loss to Tony Bellew sealed the deal. Not to mention that Ortiz’s performances were not going to fan the flames of a big fight any time soon.
Instead, Ortiz will be making his debut with Premier Boxing Champions against journeyman Derric Rossy and that leads to what, exactly?
The obvious choice would be that Ortiz faces Haymon’s creation, WBC Champion Deontay Wilder, in a fight that would be five steps too big for Wilder. Wilder has failed to reignite the Heavyweight division in America with his pitter pat defenses of his title and soft touches en route to becoming champion, but the brain trusts at PBC know that Ortiz would not only slaughter American’s only Heavyweight champion, but also a proven draw despite his criticisms.
Wilder already made it clear that he would not fight Ortiz under any circumstance by saying that he will never fight an opponent who tested positive for banned substances and it is unlikely that Wilder will change his mind even if Ortiz is under the same banner as he is. So as Wilder continues to fall behind the pack as far as the division goes, where does that leave Ortiz?
There are plenty of expendable opponents for him to fight, which has been the status quo for his career. Artur Szpilka, Amir Mansour, Antonio Tarver, Fred Kassi and Izuagbe Ugonoh are all fights Ortiz can find himself in, but none of those are going to get him towards a title fight against Wilder or anybody else for that matter.
Unless Wilder is stripped for not making a mandatory defense against already-conquered for Bermane Stiverne in a rematch, Ortiz is going to be the best of the rest with no belt to show for his efforts. With so little time remaining before his natural skills begin to erode, his shot might come way too late.
Then again, if Haymon could make a reliable draw of fellow Cuban Erislandy Lara and his persistently boring fights, there is the possibility that Ortiz will be fast tracked to a meaningful fight. If money talks it might be against Wilder or Haymon’s working relationship with Hearn might make the Joshua fight happen after all.
Ultimately, Ortiz is a man running against the clock right now, and it doesn’t look like he’s going to have anything to show for it once it hits midnight.