Two heavyweights, both of whom claim (with some justification) that they have been avoided by the the other contenders, going up against each other in an IBF elimination bout – what’s not to like? Filip Hrgovic Versus Luis Ortiz, in a fight that would see the unbeaten Croatian squaring off with the Cuban southpaw. Hrgovic has already made it clear he is willing to accept the fight the IBF has invited both heavyweights to take, with a three-day deadline having been put out for the final eliminator.
Now, will Ortiz also agree? It’s a very solid match-up between two men who feel it is their destiny to become world champion so long as they are given the opportunity. The winner of a Hrgovic-Ortiz fight would likely have the full backing of the fans, who would agree that a title shot is more than fair. But again, will Ortiz, coming off that at times wobbly but ultimately winning performance against “Prince” Charles Martin, take what is no doubt a very risky fight?
Hrgovic, 14-0(12) was close to fighting an IBF final elimination bout before, before Michael Hunter opted out of the fight, preferring to go in another direction. Hrgovic has been left frustrated ever since, being forced to take on lesser foes. Ortiz, 33-2(28) is (officially) 13 years older than Hrgovic and the Cuban did look shaky on January 1st, being sent to the canvas twice before getting the KO win. Hrgovic has already stated how he will retire Ortiz by beating him up if the fight happens. It seems the ball is very much in Ortiz’ court. But if Ortiz doesn’t agree to this fight, where will he go instead – and what will the fans think of Ortiz if he doesn’t agree?
If Hrgovic and Ortiz do get it on, the winner will be (in theory) one fight away from a shot at a world title. Who wins if these two do collide? Hrgovic may well have too much of everything on his side here: youth, height, reach, speed. But of course, Ortiz, as he showed against Martin, has that turnaround punching power. Let’s hope this very interesting heavyweight match-up gets done.