By Keith Idec
Luis Ortiz’s manager revealed Tuesday that the heavyweight contender has been tested seven times for performance-enhancing drugs over the past five weeks by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association and the New York State Athletic Commission.
Ortiz has been heavily scrutinized as his heavyweight title fight against Deontay Wilder approaches because of what happened prior to their ill-fated fight November 4 and Ortiz’s previous PED ordeal.
“He’s talking about PEDs,” Jay Jimenez said during a conference call Tuesday, referring to Wilder. “Luis has taken seven tests in a month and a week. Seven blood and urine tests from VADA and the New York commission.”
Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs) mocked Jimenez’s statement by clapping loudly. The defending WBC heavyweight champion admitted, though, that he doesn’t expect Ortiz (28-0, 24 KOs, 2 NC) to test positive for PEDs now that their March 3 fight at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center is so close.
“That could happen,” Wilder said, before acknowledging that he expects their rescheduled fight to take place. “That’s a possibility. We always say … once a cheat, always a cheat and that’ll always carry with him. But that’s gonna be up to Luis Ortiz. I think Luis Ortiz is a smart guy and I think he’s gonna do the right thing up until this point. If he don’t, like I said, it’ll be shame on him to put people through so much stress, so much pain, like it was the first time. It’s ridiculous that we still have to be talking about this still, at this point in time, with drugs and cheating and stuff.
“But I think he’s gonna do the right thing. With that being said, I’m not worried about it. I’m confident in him, that he’s gonna turn up clean and he’s gonna give a great performance on the night of that fight, and we’re all gonna be winners at the end of the night.”
Wilder wasn’t as optimistic about Ortiz remaining clean during an interview with BoxingScene.com last month (https://www.boxingscene.com/deontay-wilder-luis-ortiz-works-march-3-barclays-center--123590).
Showtime will broadcast Wilder-Ortiz as the main event of a three-bout broadcast a week from Saturday night.
About six weeks before Wilder and Ortiz were supposed to fight last fall, the 38-year-old Ortiz tested positive for two diuretics he and his team claim came from prescribed medication for high blood pressure. The Cuban southpaw’s failure to disclose that he was taking that medication before he was tested violated VADA’s rules.
VADA administers PED tests for the WBC as part of the sanctioning organization’s “Clean Boxing Program.”
The WBC wouldn’t sanction Wilder-Ortiz as a fight for its heavyweight title once Ortiz tested positive. The 32-year-old Wilder, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, instead knocked out mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne in the first round of their rematch November 4.
The WBC later determined Ortiz requires medication for high blood pressure and kept the former WBA interim champion in its rankings.
The third-rated Ortiz previously tested positive for an anabolic steroid after knocking out Lateef Kayode in the first round of their September 2014 bout for the WBA’s interim championship. The WBA stripped Ortiz of that title and suspended him for a year.
The WBA also removed Ortiz from its rankings once his fight with Wilder was canceled. Ortiz had been the mandatory challenger for WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.