Just how good is unbeaten Cuban heavyweight Luis Ortiz? We don’t know, and why? – because the hard-hitting and skilled southpaw just cannot seem to get himself a fight. This far in his pro career, the reigning WBA titlist has looked good, maybe even very good; and he could perhaps have the stuff inside him needed to become a great. But the clock is ticking on the man who is on the wrong side of 35 and the big, testing fights continue to elude him.
Next up for Ortiz, supposedly, is (or was) a mandatory defence against Alexander Ustinov. This fight has been in the works for months now (it seems longer) and the last we heard was the fight would likely go ahead on the under-card of the Canelo-Smith card of September 17th. However, according to Eric Gomez of Golden Boy, who spoke with RingTV.com, the ongoing talks have “hit a snag.” The fight, part of the WBA’s tournament to crown just one fighter as the organisation’s heavyweight ruler, has to happen, but Gomez says it’s not looking good.
“Not good, not good,” Gomez told the website of The Bible of Boxing. “We hit a snag. It’s still in the works but it’s not good right now. So many [issues]. It’s not just one thing. There’s a couple of issues that came up so we’ll see what happens.”
Ustinov is getting on in years himself at age 39 and you would think he would want to get a move on and get the fight on as soon as possible. Maybe the “issues” Gomez speaks of are not down to Ustinov, maybe it’s Ortiz being difficult, but I doubt it, don’t you? Ortiz, 25-0(22) and coming off a dominant stoppage win over another veteran in Tony Thompson in March, wants the big fights; he and Golden Boy have made this clear for some time.
Maybe, if the Ustinov fight does collapse for whatever reason, Ortiz will look elsewhere and try and find a big name willing to fight him. It might mean Ortiz would lose the claim he has on the WBA belt – and which big name would suddenly want to risk facing the danger man when they have previously given him a wide berth – but Ortiz and his team have to do something and soon. If Ustinov won’t cooperate, Ortiz will have no choice but to continue calling out the division’s stars. But when do you ever hear the likes of Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko as much as mention Ortiz’ name?