By Thomas Gerbasi
New York City, Madison Square Garden - Two fights removed from his controversial bout with Lateef Kayode in 2014 that saw him win the interim WBA heavyweight crown and then get stripped of it for failing a post-fight drug test, Cuba's Luis Ortiz picked up that title a second time, knocking out Argentina's Matias Ariel Vidondo in three rounds.
After getting his rhythm during an uneventful first round, Ortiz began opening up his attack in the second, and with less than 30 seconds remaining, he fired off a three-punch combination that sent Vidondo reeling into the ropes. As he bounced back toward Ortiz, the Cuban landed a right that put the Argentine on the canvas.
That was the beginning of the end, as Ortiz closed the show with a right-left early in the third that put Vidondo down and prompted an immediate stoppage by referee Shada Murdaugh at the :17 mark.
With the win, Ortiz, who now makes his home in Miami, Florida, moves to 23-0 with 20 KOs and 1 NC; Rosario, Santa Fe's Vidondo falls to 20-2-1.
The WBA's "regular" champion Ruslan Chagaev and his mandatory challenger right now is Lucas Browne. The WBA's super champion at the weight is heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko, who next month takes on Tyson Fury.