By: Sean Cross
I only spoke to Luis Ortiz once. That lead back to his 2015 fight against heavyweight contender Bryant Jennings. I asked the then-undefeated Cuban if he felt Jennings might have changed as a fighter after losing to (Wladimir) Klitschko. The answer and the tone with it took me back. “He thinks he’s nothing like Klitschko, so don’t compare them,” Ortiz’s interpreter said. That was it. I later wrote that Ortiz seemed “confused and defensive” by my question at the time. For now, however, Ortiz’s confusion is doubtful. He, if not all, of the boxing public know he needs to win when he faces former multi-title holder Andy Ruiz this coming Monday in Los Angeles.
Ortiz, at 43 years old, is not a child, after all. Moreover, he lost twice, both times to Deontay Wilder. Although Ortiz showed he could give the American problems with his impressive skill set, on both occasions WBC champion Wilder fell victim to the thunderous power. While Ruiz Wilder is not known for his power, the man can lie effectively. Just in the year Just ask Anthony Joshua, who stopped Ruiz in spectacular fashion in 2019 (Joshua defeated Ruiz in a rematch six months later). What’s more, Ruiz has quick hands, and when he’s at his best, he’s far from easy for any fighter.
In other words, a win over Ruiz next Sunday may be just what the doctor ordered for Ortiz. It shows that he can still compete effectively against a top-level opponent. It also shows that the man can earn himself another title shot. A loss to the talented Ruiz, however, could mean the beginning of the end for Ortiz’s career. If Ruiz, the per-view leader, wins next Sunday night, Ortiz could be a goaltender rather than a serious contender. And this is clearly not what the man known as “King Kong” wants.
From all accounts, Ruiz, who hasn’t always been a disciplined fighter, looks competent and determined heading into this fight. Ortiz will undoubtedly enter the ring next weekend in prime fighting shape. An Ortiz-Ruiz fight may not offer any world title belts, but it’s probably two established, powerful and talented fighters doing better. There’s a lot at stake here for both men. Nothing confusing about that.