Given the sensational performances by Roman Gonzalez and Gennady Golovkin on last weekend’s pay-per-view at Madision Square Garden, it’s no surprise that heavyweight Luis Ortiz’s Round 3 KO of Matias Vidondo has been largely overlooked. Ortiz dropped his Argentine opponent in Round 2 and then knocked him cold just 17 seconds into Round 3.
It was an explosive knockout. Vidondo went down like he’d been shot, landing on his face. Fortunately, the big man appeared to recover with relative quickness and gamely smiled and winked at the concerned ringside physician who immediately checked on him.
It gave the undefeated Luis Ortiz 20 KOs in 23 fights. Unfortunately, Vidondo was merely the latest in a line of obscure no-hopers Ortiz has defeated. Don’t get me wrong. Vidondo is a big, tough bruiser who came into the fight with a 20-1-1 record. But at 38, he was fighting outside of Argentina for the first time in his life. Luis Ortiz will gain little cache for beating such an opponent.
The Cuban southpaw is very much a forgotten man in the heavyweight division, which is a contemptible shame. He could help provide some much-needed excitement, if given the proper chance.
Luis Ortiz has the total package you would look for if you were trying to assemble a heavyweight contender. At 6’4″ and 240 pounds, he’s got a massive frame. His 84″ reach is even more impressive. He’s explosively athletic, with lightening quick hands. It’s easy to see how he earned the nickname King Kong. And those physical gifts come with a first-rate amateur pedigree. Luis Ortiz won Cuban and Pan-American championships before turning pro.
But he’s struggled to get meaningful fights, which is hardly a surprise. There’s a lot of risk in fighting a big, well-schooled southpaw with knockout power, and given Ortiz’s inability to build name recognition so far, the rewards for beating him aren’t substantial enough to entice many takers for such a daunting task.
At 36, Luis Ortiz doesn’t exactly have years of time left. To really position himself for a title shot, he’s going to need to make a big fight sometime in the next year. Given his quality of opposition, it’s tough to truly gauge his worth. But just based on what he’s done against lower-level competition, I’d give him a real chance to handle many of the fighters in the top 10.
I’m at least curious enough to want to see him get his shot.