Luis Ortiz: Nearly-Man, Or Soon To Be THE Man?

11/22/2019 - By James Slater - Comments

Not too long to go now until the all-but guaranteed heavyweight explosion that is Deontay Wilder Vs. Luis Ortiz II: The Rematch. Fans everywhere are expecting a violent affair, perhaps the violence coming equally from both pairs of fists, for a while at least. The thinking is Wilder will get the win at some point, even if he has to work extremely hard for it just like the last time these two powerful big men collided.

Fans of heavyweight slugfests from yesteryear might recall the almost upset that took place on November 23rd, back in 1991; when Evander Holyfield, like Wilder, came this close to being upset by Bert Cooper, who, like Ortiz, came so tantalizingly close to pulling off the big, big win. Cooper rocked Holyfield in a torrid third-round, knocking the defending heavyweight king down and then having him rocking and reeling for an alarming number of seconds.

Ortiz rocked Wilder in the seventh-round of their March 2018 fight, and though the Cuban didn’t have the satisfaction Cooper had of at least seeing the boss on the floor, he certainly managed to have the WBC champ reeling all over the place for what must have seemed like an eternity to Wilder and his corner-men and his fans.

Cooper never got what Ortiz will get tomorrow night: a second chance. Cooper, always a nearly man if one of the most respected variety, campaigned long and hard for a second go at “The Real Deal.” The 1991 fight, like Wilder-Ortiz fight-one, had a controversial element; with Cooper and his team saying Holyfield had a long count in that third-round. We all know how Ortiz has complained about the way the doctor halted proceedings, briefly, to look at Wilder, this just after he had been so severely buzzed in that seventh-round last March.

So is Ortiz (who, interestingly, fought Cooper quite early on in his pro career, stopping a faded “Smokin’ Bert” quickly) desitined to be remembered as a nearly man like Cooper? Did Ortiz, like Cooper against Holyfield, allow his one great moment to slip through his gloved fingers?

We’ll soon find out. And if tomorrow night’s action is as thrilling as the stuff the late Bert Cooper and the only four-time heavyweight champ gave us almost 30 years ago, we fans will be more than happy.