Luis “King Kong’ Ortiz reveals that he was never worried, even things were going badly for him last Saturday night in getting dropped twice by Charles Martin.
Ortiz (33-2, 28 KOs) kept his composure and didn’t stress after when things looked bad for him in the early going at the Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
In the first round, the 42-year-old Ortiz took a left-hand shot to the head that would have stunned anyone, but he wasn’t badly hurt. Of course, Ortiz went down, but he got right back up and wasn’t in trouble for the remainder of the round.
The 35-year-old former IBF heavyweight champion Martin looked surprisingly good, but it came down to him not having his guard up to prevent getting hit by Ortiz’s powerful left hand.
Had Martin stayed on his feet the entire fight, he likely would have won because he was getting the better of Ortiz through the first five rounds.
Martin knocked Ortiz down with a jab in the fourth, in which the former two-time world title challenger walked into the shots, causing him to lose his balance.
“I was very focused during this fight,” said Ortiz about his state of mind for the bout. “I was never worried. My trainer just told me to keep working the jab, and that’s what I was able to do,” said ‘King Kong’ Ortiz.
DOWN GOES MARTIN! 🤯
— FOX Sports: PBC (@PBConFOX) January 2, 2022
When Ortiz finally did get things together, he put the fight out of reach by landing a tremendous overhand left to the side of Martin’s head, freezing him on the spot.
For a brief moment, after that punch hit Martin, he stared at the audience and looked like he was having a conversation with one of them.
Martin, 35, obviously wasn’t communicating with anybody, but that strange situation showed how badly hurt he was.
His brain literally disconnected for several moments, and Ortiz took full advantage of it by tagging him at will with a storm of jackhammer left hands in close that eventually resulted in him falling into the ropes for a knockdown.
“It was very difficult going southpaw against southpaw,” said Ortiz on the difficulties he had with Martin’s lefty stance. “My intelligence won the fight.”
It wasn’t just Ortiz’s IQ that won him the fight. You can say that it was a combination of Luis’ strong chin, poise, dogged determination, and power. Although Ortiz’s legs weren’t there tonight, his power and punch resistance was still present.
Despite Ortiz not being at his best due to his 14 months out of the ring and his advanced age, he was able to stay in there long enough on Saturday night to land one of his big bombs to finish Martin eventually.
“I maintained faith the entire time,” said Ortiz. “I told everyone that this fight would be fireworks. He knocked me down, but then I finished him. I respect him a lot, and now I’m coming after every heavyweight in line for the title.”
It’s unclear what Ortiz is talking about in saying that he needs to go after the other heavyweights in line for a world title. Ortiz’s victory over Martin makes him the IBF mandatory challenger.
So with that designation, Ortiz doesn’t have to do anything other than sit and wait for the smoke to clear from the rematch between Anthony Joshua and IBF/WBA/WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk.
If the International Boxing Federation orders the winner of the Joshua vs. Usyk II rematch to fight Ortiz next, then they’ll do that or vacate the IBF belt.
Ortiz would prefer to fight Usyk or Joshua for the IBF title rather than winding up fighting one of the contenders for the vacated belt.
If Ortiz is going to fight someone while he waits for his mandatory title shot, he needs to face an easy mark because it’s too risky for him to face one of the top heavyweights.
I’m sure Ortiz would have no problems fighting a top-level guy if he had nothing to lose. But Ortiz has everything to lose now that he’s the IBF mandatory.