Father Times is supposedly undefeated and for several rounds, on New Year’s day, it looked like it was going to stay that way. Until 42-year old King Kong may have handed father time a stunning loss. The former world title challenger from Camaguey, Cuba twice got up off the canvas to stop former IBF heavyweight world titleholder Charles Martin in the sixth round of their highly entertaining scrap at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. To move his record to 33-2 (28) put himself in a position to fight in an eliminator for the IBF title, reestablish and confirm himself as a top 10 heavyweight and capture our fighter of the week award.
The New Year did not get off to a great start for Ortiz who was dropped by Charles Martin. A solid left hand from Martin put the Cuban down early in the opening stanza. In round 4, Ortiz walked blindly into a staff right job from the former world champ that again dropped him. Ortiz got up and finished the round while he wasn’t being outclassed the two knockdowns put him down on the cards. Ortiz really based in the fifth setting up big left hands and working well off the jab. While still clearly down on the cards, due to the knockdowns, Ortiz seemed to flip the script in the competitive fifth and gained momentum while Martin looked like he was fading. Early in the sixth Ortiz timed Martin and caught him with a left to the head put martin out on his feet. Martin dropped his hands and looked lost as Ortiz fired up power shots and dropped Martin whose left hand got caught in the ropes on his way to the canvas. He made it to his feet, but never really regained his legs or senses. Ortiz continued the onslaught, and Martin again went down again. The referee saw enough and stopped the fight giving Ortiz the 6th round TKO.
King Kong would much rather go down as the first Cuban heavyweight champion of the world than the best heavyweight of his era not to win a world title. However, at the age of 42 and with Cuban sensations Frank Sanchez and Lenier Pero shooting up the heavyweight rankings and getting within spitting distance of a heavyweight title shot themselves the odds are not looking great for Ortiz. The Cuban has turned down the opportunity to fight Filip Hrgovic in the IBF Eliminator. A fight that should he win would put him in a position to be the mandatory for Oleksandr Usyk. On the PBC side of the street, he will have lots of interesting fights that can bring him some decent money, such as Andy Ruiz, Jonathan Rice, or fellow Cubans Sanchez and Pero but none of them put him into a world title fight next.