Jackie Kallen: Heavyweight dreams this weekend
By Jackie Kallen
Now that the Klitschkos no longer control the heavyweight division, there are more and more fighters with dreams of being the king of all kings—The Unified Heavyweight Champion of the World. Add to that list, Cuban-born Luis Ortiz.
Fighting out of Miami, this southpaw is undefeated with a dazzling 24-0 record. 21 of those have come by way of KO, which is an 81% percentage. Pretty impressive. On Saturday night at the DC Armory, he will take on 40-6 Tony Thompson. The fight will be on HBO.
No one is expecting this to be much of a challenge for Ortiz. Tony the Tiger is 44 years old and has been around the block a few times. Also a southpaw, he has been stopped by Klitschko twice and has also lost four other times. He has lost three out of his five fights. As far as an “activity fight”, Thompson will fill the bill. But he’s hardly a threat.
For that reason, the WBA decided not to sanction this as a title fight. They do not consider Thompson a viable contender, since he is not rated in the Top 15 anywhere. The WBA is having a tournament which will have Ortiz face Alexander Ustinov by June 19th if he beats Thompson. If Thompson should somehow win—he will not be included in this tournament.
The other participants would include the winner of Fury-Klitschko II and the Ruslan Chagaev-Lucas Browne winner (who will have to immediately face Fres Oquendo). Eventually we would have one heavyweight champion. At least according to the WBA.
For Thompson, this is surely just a payday and a chance to reach for that golden ring one last time. But no one is mortgaging their home to bet on him. He’s never beaten an elite heavyweight and is on the downside of his career. But hope springs eternal and everyone has a puncher’s chance.
Boxing fans are whispering about an Ortiz/Wilder fight. They are both undefeated and fans would love to see a matchup like that. However, that fight is most likely not going to happen any time soon. The boxing fans I’ve spoken to are split on who they feel would win. They are both good punchers who go in for the kill, although Wilder is the bigger man at 6’7”.
It’s great to see the heavyweight division buzzing again. We got spoiled by the likes of Ali, Holmes, and then Tyson. Fans would once again love a long-reigning American heavyweight champion.