By Keith Idec
With Deontay Wilder seated several feet away, Luis Ortiz sent the unbeaten WBC heavyweight champion a message Friday night.
Ortiz obliterated overmatched Daniel Martz and then poked his head through the ropes to challenge Wilder, who was part of FS1’s broadcast team at Hialeah Park Racing & Casino in Hialeah, Florida. Wilder smiled as Ortiz talked trash and eventually got in the ring to promise Ortiz that he would again sign to fight him, despite that their November 4 fight was canceled due to Ortiz’s failure to disclose he was taking medication for high blood pressure.
Moments earlier, the 38-year-old Ortiz dropped Martz twice before referee Sam Burgos stopped their scheduled 10-round fight in the second round.
Ortiz (28-0, 24 KOs, 2 NC) drilled Martz with a straight left hand that left him face-first on the canvas 38 seconds into the second round. Burgos immediately stopped the fight once Martz went down for the second time.
A left hand to the body dumped Martz to his gloves and knees with 40 seconds to go in the first round. Martz made it to his feet and finished the round, yet didn’t last much longer.
The 27-year-old Martz (16-6-1, 13 KOs), of Clarksburg, West Virginia, has been knocked out in four of his past six bouts, including losses to WBO champion Joseph Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) and contender Bryant Jennings (20-2, 11 KOs).
Prior to his easy victory Friday night, Ortiz hadn’t fought since last December 10. The Miami resident stopped England’s David Allen (12-3-1, 9 KOs) that night in Manchester, England.
Ortiz was scheduled to challenge Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs) for his WBC heavyweight title November 4 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, but the WBC wouldn’t sanction the fight once Ortiz tested positive for two diuretics as part of the sanctioning organization’s “Clean Boxing Program.”
The unbeaten Ortiz’s handlers contended the positive tests were caused by prescribed medication for high blood pressure. Ortiz failed to disclose on a pre-test form that he was taking that medication, which was a violation of the WBC program administered by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association.
WBC-approved doctors later determined that Ortiz indeed has high blood pressure and needs to take medication. The WBC thus left him in its heavyweight rankings.
The WBA wasn’t as forgiving. That sanctioning body suspended Ortiz for a year and removed him from its rankings.
Ortiz tested positive for an anabolic steroid after he knocked out Lateef Kayode in the first round to win the WBA’s interim heavyweight title in September 2014.
In the televised bout before Ortiz’s victory, hard-hitting welterweight Bryant Perrella dropped Alex Martin in the first round and maintained control for much of their eight-round bout to win a unanimous decision.
Perrella (15-1, 13 KOs), a southpaw from Fort Myers, Florida, won by scores of 79-72, 79-72 and 77-74. Martin (13-3, 5 KOs), a southpaw from Harvey, Illinois, lost a third straight fight by decision.
Perrella put Martin on the defensive after flooring him with a short right hook toward the end of the first round. Martin got up and finished the round, but was reluctant to engage after suffering that knockdown.
The 28-year-old Perrella halted a 14-month layoff Friday night. A fourth-round technical knockout loss to Yordenis Ugas in September 2016 and a serious thigh injury caused Perrella’s long layoff.
Martin, also 28, previously lost back-to-back 10-round decisions to Miguel Cruz (17-0, 11 KOs), who their first fight by split decision and their rematch by unanimous decision.
In the first fight FS1 televised Friday night, Stephen Fulton defeated Adam Lopez in an eight-round battle between unbeaten super bantamweight prospects.
Philadelphia’s Fulton (12-0, 5 KOs) mostly fought from a comfortable distance, consistently connected with his jab and bloodied Lopez’s nose on his way to winning a majority decision (78-74, 77-75, 76-76). Lopez (8-1, 3 KOs), of Glendale, California, too often failed to cut off the ring, which allowed Fulton to move around and out-box him.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.