By Keith Idec
LOS ANGELES – Luis Ortiz literally laughed out loud Thursday when he was asked if Anthony Joshua willingly would fight him.
The Cuban heavyweight contender’s laughter expressed all he needed to say about possibly getting a shot at Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs), the British superstar who owns the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO titles.
“He doesn’t think so,” Herman Caicedo, Ortiz’s trainer, told BoxingScene.com following a press conference Thursday at The Conga Room. “He thinks they’re all chicken overseas. [Promoter Eddie] Hearn won’t do it. Joshua wants no part of it. Hearn knows he’ll dismantle Joshua in eight rounds and knock him out. Why would Hearn do that?”
The 39-year-old Ortiz remains one of boxing’s top heavyweights, but he isn’t ranked among the top 15 contenders in that division by the IBF, WBA or WBO. Ortiz is the IBO’s No. 5 heavyweight contender in its computerized rankings.
Regardless, unless Joshua is forced to make a mandatory defense against Ortiz, the strong southpaw and his handlers just don’t think there’s any chance that fight would take place.
“[Joshua] can talk all the crap he wants to talk, but it’s never gonna happen,” Caicedo said. “Unless, like [Ortiz] has said in the past, unless [Ortiz] gets on Medicare and has a walking stalk, maybe then they’ll fight him.”
Ortiz (28-1, 24 KOs, 2 NC) will fight for the first time Saturday night since Deontay Wilder stopped him in the 10th round of their back-and-forth fight for Wilder’s WBC heavyweight title March 3 in Brooklyn. Miami’s Ortiz and Romania’s Razvan Cojanu are scheduled to meet in a 10-round bout Showtime will televise as part of the Mikey Garcia-Robert Easter Jr. undercard from Staples Center (10 p.m. ET).
The 6-feet-4, 240-pound Ortiz hurt Wilder badly during the seventh round of their fight and nearly finished the Alabama-based knockout artist. Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) recovered and came back to knock down Ortiz twice in the 10th round of their scheduled 12-rounder at Barclays Center.
The 6-feet-7½, 275-pound Cojanu (16-3, 9 KOs) hasn’t fought since he lost a 12-round unanimous decision to former WBO champion Joseph Parker (24-1, 18 KOs) in May 2017.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.