By Ben Jacobs
Top heavyweight contender Luis Ortíz makes his debut for Matchroom Boxing next Saturday in Monte Carlo against experienced campaigner Malik Scott. The Cuban is also scheduled to fight on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s clash with Eric Molina on December 10 in Manchester. ‘King Kong’s manager Juan Jiménez told BoxingScene.com that his charge is looking forward to making his mark as the first non-UK fighter signed by Eddie Hearn.
“Eddie has belief in him and he knows a lot about boxing whereas a lot of people don’t, he took a chance,” he said.
There are some in the sport who are of the opinion that Ortíz is currently the best heavyweight in the world, despite Tyson Fury’s win over Wladimir Klitschko, Deontay Wilder holding the WBC title and Anthony Joshua’s meteoric rise as the IBF champion. Jiménez, however, sees things from a more pragmatic standpoint.
“As a realist I think he’s great, he has all the tools but we’re not going to know until they fight. Those guys like Joshua, Wilder, Klitschko, I think they’re still the best out there. At this level they all have to fight. One may be more polished but in this era heavyweight boxing is at an all time great level when you have three or four guys who are that good and hit so hard. Luis is a great boxer, he has great power but we won’t know who is the guy until they fight. It will be a big day for all of us if he fights Joshua,” Jiminez said to BoxingScene.com.
Before any name for December 10 is finalised, Ortíz will have to negotiate through the tricky Malik Scott who has shown in the past that he has the ability to frustrate his more favoured opponent.
“Malik is a great boxer, but he’s never really been in the ring with a guy like Luis, none of those guys have. Malik has got more heart than a lot of guys who say they will take the fight, then we send them contracts and they won’t sign, they ask for outrageous money as a cop out. They say it’s not worth it for the money. But hopefully now being with Eddie, in the limelight and fighting on the Joshua card makes things interesting. Either these guys fight the best or they get out of boxing.”
After competing only once so far this year, that being a stoppage of Tony Thompson back in March, Ortíz will now be out twice in the space of one month.
“Luis is really excited to be fighting regularly,” Jiménez continued.
“As a fighter that motivates him more than anything, he’s after being the people’s champ. He’s not motivated by money like so many of these boxers. He’s looking to prove himself and he’s excited they are giving him a chance to showcase his talents.
“Some of the most exciting guys are in England right now and Luis wants to get in the mix.”