By Lem Satterfield
Cuban southpaw Luis Ortiz likes drawing comparisons between some of his more impressive results and those of others, even though he's fully aware that styles make fights in boxing.
In July, for example, the 6-foot-4, 240-plus-pound “King Kong” Ortiz (29-1, 25 KOs) flattened Razvan Cajanu in the second round to rebound from a three-knockdown, 10th-round stoppage loss in March to 6-foot-7 WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs), whom Ortiz had badly hurt and nearly out on his feet in the seventh round.
Cajanu had lost his previous fight in May 2017 by unanimous decision to then-unbeaten WBO titlist Joseph Parker, loser of his WBO crown in March by unanimous decision to 6-foot-6 IBF/IBO/WBA champion Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) in England.
“Joshua is one of the best or he wouldn’t have a belt," said Ortiz, 39. "But not stopping Parker didn't look so good for him."
In December 2015, Ortiz battered and dropped Bryant Jennings, face-first, during a seventh-round TKO directly after Jennings had lost an April 2015 unanimous decision to then-unified champion Wladimir Klitschko..
Ortiz remains the only man to have stopped Jennings (24-2, 14 KOs), a winner of five straight (three KOs) entering a January 18 fight with Oscar Rivas (24-0, 17 KOs).
“I think it just says I pack more power than Klitschko,” said Ortiz of the 6-foot-6 “Dr Steelhammer,” who ultimately lost his final two career bouts at ages 39 and 41.
In November 2015, 6-foot-9 Tyson Fury earned a unanimous decision over Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs), a feat that ended the Ukrainian’s dominance at 22-0 (15 KOs) and 11 ½ years and made Fury the IBF/WBA/WBO/IBO champion.
Then in April 2017, IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO counterpart Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) stopped Klitschko by 11th-round TKO, rising from the canvas in the sixth and scoring knockdowns in the fifth and last rounds of his third defense.
"When they stopped Joshua’s fight with Klitschko in the 10th, it wasn’t even close to the beating I was giving Wilder. [Carlos] Takam gave Joshua some trouble,” said Ortiz, referring to Joshua’s 10th-round TKO of Takam in October 2017.
“I’m not saying they should have stopped my fight with Wilder, but I’m just saying that if they had let Klitschko go on, who knows what Joshua had left in the tank?”
Ortiz has stopped 13 opponents in his past 14 victories with 10 of those knockouts coming in four or less rounds and five being in the first round entering Saturday's clash with 6-foot-3, 242 ½-pound Kauffman (32-2, 23 KOs) at The Staples Center in Los Angeles on Showtime Pay-Per-View (9 p.m ET/ 6 p. ET).
Ortiz-Kauffman's on the undercard of Wilder pursuing his eighth straight knockout in as many defenses against 6-foot-9 lineal champion Tyson Fury (27-0, 19 KOs).
“As far as Kauffman, who knows? It might be one round,” said Ortiz, who trains under Herman Caicedo in Miami. “That depends how I’m feeling: I might be a angry, or I might wanna box that night.”
Ortiz TKO’d David Allen in the seventh-round on the December 2016 undercard of Joshua’s third-round knockout of Eric Molina in Manchester, England. According to Ortiz’s manager, Jay Jiminez, “King Kong” fought Allen with the understanding that he would next face Joshua in accordance with an agreement with Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn.
“I haven’t thought about Joshua since he avoided me a while back, but it’s a fight where you would see me enjoy beating the piss out of him for several rounds,” Ortiz, during an earlier interview with Premiere Boxing Champions.
“I see myself breaking down Joshua to the body and ripping his head off with right hooks and straight left hands over the course of eight rounds. But at least Wilder put his money where his mouth is, stepped up and fought me. I’ve got zero respect for Joshua, who, at this point, is a complete punk hiding behind his puppeteer promoter [Eddie Hearn]”
Among Ortiz’s sparring partners have been 6-foot-2 Tyrone Spong (12-0, 12 KOs) and 6-foot-6 Carlos Negron (20-1, 16 KOs). Spong is coming off a 74-second KO Santander Silgado in August, and Negron is after his eighth consecutive stoppage against 6-foot-7 Dominic Breazeale (19-1, 17 KOs) on December 22 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Retirement? Ortiz isn’t thinking about it.
“I could be 50 and still beat these guys. They ain’t [better than me,]” said Ortiz. “As long as I’m healthy and God permits me to, I’ll keep doing this. It’s what makes me feel young and puts a smile on my face each morning.”