The intriguing heavyweight match-up of Luis Ortiz-Alexander Ustinov will now go to purse bids, as no deal has been reached by the two parties. Ortiz of Cuba, the WBA interim champion, must fight Russia’s Ustinov next as part of the WBA’s plans to see just one man crowned as their heavyweight king. The purse bids have been called for for May 19th.
At one point in time, it looked like Ortiz would face Ustinov on Saturday’s big Canelo Alvarez-Amir Khan bill in Las Vegas, but the two fighters’ teams were not able to make a deal. It will be interesting to see if Golden Boy, who look after Ortiz, 25-0(22) can win the purse bids and if so, where they will stage the mandated fight. A big enough fight to stand on its own, fans might get lucky and see the heavyweight rumble featured on another card featuring other big fights.
Ustinov, 33-1(24) is no spring chicken at age 39, but neither is Ortiz at 37. The Russian, beaten only by Kubrat Pulev in an 11 year pro career, has height (6’7”) and the physical dimensions to perhaps give Ortiz a tough night’s work. Ortiz though, really does look a dangerous fighter right now – perhaps too dangerous for his own good when it comes to getting himself the big fights he and his team both want and deserve. Recently, Ortiz threw his name into the mix as far as fighters wanting a piece of new IBF heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua, but that fight, hardly likely at any stage, will have to wait until Ortiz-Ustinov has been settled.
Not too many heavyweights are calling out Ortiz, that’s for sure. Be it Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder or Joshua talking, neither champ is heard calling out the Cuban’s name. Of course, all three fighters have upcoming fights to come through first – Fury against Klitschko in their rematch, Joshua against the unbeaten Dominic Breazeale in his maiden defence, and Wilder against Alexander Povetkin out in Russia – but if Ortiz keeps winning, he will have get a big fight or fights soon. An Ortiz-Fury clash would be very interesting and if both big men keep their versions of the WBA belt, it will happen (although Fury still insists he will retire after July 9th).
First though will be Ustinov and this could, maybe, prove to be a tricky night for southpaw Ortiz. Ustinov is durable, he has power and he can move quite well for a big guy. Still, it’s hard to pick anything other than another Ortiz win. He may have to go the distance here though, something Ortiz has not had to do since way back in 2010. Another quick (ish) KO would certainly impress – and at the same time give the avoided champion’s rivals even less desire to fight him.