On Saturday, undefeated Cuban heavyweight Luis Ortiz will face Malik Scott in Monte Carlo. HBO is broadcasting this bout, which will make for a nice afternoon of boxing in advance of a PBC card on Saturday night. The fact that HBO is broadcasting this bout says a lot more about how they view Ortiz than it does about the importance of this particular bout.
For anybody who has been paying attention to the heavyweight division over the past year, Ortiz is a potential superstar. “The Real King Kong” is a very big and athletic fighter, with a pedigree from the elite Cuban amateur program. He has a stunning 84″ reach, and can box with the best in weight class from the outside. But he also has the speed to close distance and throws some of the best uppercuts in the business on the inside.
Ortiz is listed as 37 and looks older. I am always skeptical of ages for Cuban fighters and baseball players. Regardless, he has the guile and power to hold his own against the division’s younger men.
He proved that last December, when he faced Bryant Jennings at the Turning Stone Casino, in Verona, New York. I was lucky enough to watch that fight from the press section. Some of the best known fight writers in the business made sure to show up for this one, and nobody left unimpressed by Ortiz.
Jennings was the first true contender who had the guts to face Ortiz. I was on media calls with both of them, and Jennings was confident that he would keep rolling with him. He fought a tough bout, but was simply out-gunned. Ortiz finished him in seven.
With Cuban-American relations warming over the past few years, Ortiz has the potential to be a transformative boxing champion. I have asked him about this in interviews and it is very much in his mind that he would like to headline major cards in his home nation.
First he has to find title-holders with the guts to face him.