It wasn't the thrilling and impressive performance most expected, but WBA interim heavyweight champion Luis "King Kong" Ortiz (25-0, 22 KOs) defeated Tony "The Tiger" Thompson (40-7) via sixth-round knockout Saturday night in Washington, D.C.
Ortiz dropped Thompson three times in the fight.
The first came in the opening round, the second at the end of the fourth and the final one in the sixth frame. Despite dropping his opponent multiple times, the 36-year-old Ortiz didn't deliver the scintillating performance most hoped to see.
The fight was slow-paced and short on action. In Ortiz's defense, the 44-year-old Thompson is the type of fighter whose style makes it difficult to put on a show. He's plodding, slick and a southpaw.
Laceup Boxing seemed to understand and agree:
When the bout was over, Ortiz was defensive in his interview as he was asked about the crowd reaction and needing almost six rounds to finish a journeyman heavyweight, per HBO Boxing:
There wasn't much visible blood, but CompuBox tweeted out these lopsided punch stats in the champion's favor:
The heavyweight division is on the rise, and Ortiz plans to be in the mix. He was supposed to face Alexander Ustinov for the title, as the WBA mandated that Ortiz defend his title against the Russian by June. However, instead of rushing into a bout, Ustinov and his team elected to give the fighter a full training camp, per Jake Donovan of Boxing Scene.
That fight isn't a marquee attraction, but it's likely the last bout Ortiz will need to win before getting a shot at some of the other champions in the division. IBF titleholder Charles Martin is set to defend his title against highly touted English fighter Anthony Joshua on April 9.
Ortiz would probably love to get a shot at the winner, but that's not his only option.
Lucas "Big Daddy" Browne won the regular WBA title earlier Saturday by stopping Ruslan Chagaev. The bout was part of the WBA heavyweight tournament designed to crown one heavyweight champion. When Ortiz faces Ustinov, that will be part of the tournament as well.
An Ortiz vs. Browne fight would almost certainly be a slugfest—for as long as it lasts. It could happen in the final round of the tournament.
With many meaningful fights happening in a short period of time, it shouldn't take long for Ortiz's next opponent to emerge. When he does, Ortiz will almost certainly be hoping to deliver a more crowd-pleasing performance.
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