On September 22, HBO announced the final two undercard bouts for the Gennady Golovkin-David Lemieux pay-per-view card in October. Undefeated Cuban heavyweight Luis Ortiz (22-0, 19 KOs) will face once-beaten Matias Ariel Vidondo (20-1-1, 18 KOs) and middleweight contender Tureano Johnson (18-1, 13 KOs) will meet Eamonn O’Kane (14-1-1, 5 KOs).
With WBA champion GGG facing the hard-slugging IBF titlist Lemieux in a middleweight unification fight and undefeated, three-division world champion Roman Gonzalez facing tough veteran Brian Viloria, this was already a loaded card. But a great program gets even better with these additions.
The fight between Ortiz and Vidondo is being billed as for the “Interim WBA world title.” That is absurd, of course. The WBA already has a world heavyweight champion: Wladimir Klitschko. Of course, the WBA calls Wladi a “super” champion and recognizes Ruslan Chagaev as their “regular” world champion at heavyweight. With one more champion than makes any sense already on the roster, I’m not sure why the WBA thinks it is credible to call the winner of the Ortiz-Vidondo fight anything other than a ranked contender.
But that’s just typical alphabet soup shenanigans. It deserves to be mocked and derided, but it shouldn’t take away from a good heavyweight matchup. These are a couple of big men who can slug. Ortiz is the more conditioned, classical boxer, but both fighters are on the latter half of their 30s, so the clock is ticking and opportunities like this are rare. This should be a good fight.
I’m pleased to see Johnson getting a high-profile fight like this. Johnson is a very rugged middleweight who applies smart pressure. The only fight he has lost was against former Golovkin victim Curtis Stevens, in April 2014. Johnson was winning that fight by wide margins when he lost on a very quick stoppage with less than a minute left in the fight. Stevens hits like a truck, so ultimately, I won’t second guess the stoppage. But I will Johnson looked like a guy who could potentially challenge for a world title in that fight, so it’s nice to see him getting a spotlight on a card with two of the division’s belt holders.
O’Kane is an Irishman with a good amateur record. As a professional, he has recorded solid wins over fighters like Kerry Hope and Lewis Taylor, but with just five knockouts, I expect he might have trouble matching Johnson’s power.