Happy New Year to all. There was some action last Saturday night, and the main event produced a couple of interesting moments on the Pay-Per-View card. Being the elder statesmen at the (reported) age of 42, 🇨🇺Luis “King Kong” Ortiz (33-2-0, 28KO) survived a scare in his Heavyweight bout against 🇺🇸“Prince” Charles Martin (28-3-1, 25KO), and Ortiz hit the canvas twice – the first time from a right hand to the forehead over the cross-armed defense in the 1st round, and getting dropped with a touch jab in the 4th round. The Cuban’s age began to show drastically, but he had the grit and tenacity to stick in there to change his fortune around.
The most jarring early image of the year came in the 6th round when Ortiz landed a damaging overhand left cross to the cheek/temple area of Martin, which literally short-circuited the giant upon impact. Out on his feet, with his head turned and staring to the rafters, Martin didn’t know where he was in the moment, and King Kong unleashed an all-out assault with the left hand, and Martin slumped down with his back turned to the Cuban, and went down for the knockdown.
A strange moment occurred as Martin’s left glove got tangled up in the twist of the two top ropes. Referee Frank Santore Jr. helped to unfree the glove, and the weirdness of the situation made him forget to finish his count, but completely understandable considering the circumstances in the moment.
Martin wasn’t aware of his faculties and argued, but the Referee administered his checks, and cleared him to continue. Ortiz continued to press forth, and belt him repeatedly until Charles collapsed down to the mat again in the same round. Looking the worse for wear as he got up, Santore stopped his count mid-way and waived it off, thus Ortiz getting the TKO win, in an outing where he found himself in a bit of peril throughout.
Ortiz still has aspirations of becoming a Heavyweight world titlist one day, however Father time continues to creep in further, while the division is getting better with overall talent, and the two current Heavyweight world titlists are as talented, or more talented than any Heavyweight in the last 20 years, so his outlook seems highly unlikely for the Cuban…but he’s giving it one last shot.
The IBF sanctioning body it looks like will set up a Heavyweight title eliminator bout between Ortiz, and unbeaten Croatian Olympic Bronze-Medalist 🇭🇷Filip Hrgovic. That should, and would produce a very interesting fight in the Heavyweight division, and it would be the crossroads fight needed that will determine the rest of the future – of course in Ortiz case, whether he can still perform at the level of a top contender, or whether Hrgovic is ready for the assignment to prove his staying power as a blossoming Heavyweight world contender.