By Jake Donovan
Verona, NY – A massive changing of the guard is taking place at the heavyweight division, with Luis “The Real King Kong” Ortiz the latest to enter the mix. The unbeaten southpaw from Miami by way of Cuba arrived on stage in grand style, dominating top heavyweight contender Bryant Jennings in a one-sided 7th round knockout Saturday evening at Turning Stone Resort & Casino.
Ortiz was a ball of fire from the opening bell, twice rocking Jennings in the opening round and again at varying points in the fight before emphatically closing the show in round seven. It was a remarkable performance considering the level of opposition, even more so considering his physical state leading into the fight.
“He didn’t want to say anything before the fight, but he had the flu for the past two weeks,” Eric Gomez, vice president of Golden Boy Promotions told ringside media members after the fight, which aired live on HBO’s Boxing After Dark. “He’s still feeling it now, but he wanted to go through with the fight, so he just rode it out.”
It became more apparent during his post-fight interview with HBO’s Max Kellerman and later when seated with ringside press. Still, with the fight at least two months in the making it was going to take more than a wintertime ailment to keep him out of the ring.
“I would never (pull out of the fight),” Ortiz insisted afterward. “But the whole week I was vomiting. I had a fever, but I kept training.”
The win marked Ortiz’ third straight knockout since returning to the ring this past June following a nine-month suspension after testing positive for a banned substance. Voluntary Anti-Doping (VADA) random drug testing protocol was in place for Saturday’s heavyweight fight, with no reports of failed drug tests as this goes to publish.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox