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CUBAN heavyweight Luis Ortiz maintains he is the president of the Who Needs Him Club but remains hopeful a world heavyweight title shot will fall in his lap at some point in 2019.
Fresh from a 10-round decision win against Christian Hammer, the 39-year-old southpaw, aware he has little time to waste, is on the prowl for title opportunities and more than happy to face either Deontay Wilder, a man with whom he has history, or Anthony Joshua, a Brit looking to crack America.
Wilder boasts a 10th round stoppage of Ortiz and is expected to defend his WBC world heavyweight title again on May 18. Ortiz, still irked by his inability to finish Wilder last March, when he had the champion hurt more than once, says he is ready to make himself available for a rematch
“I can be ready to fight Wilder next week if the call comes,” he told BoxingTalk.
“My team handles all that. I haven’t heard anything yet, but anytime I get an opportunity to fight for a heavyweight title then that’s what I’m going to do.”
As for Joshua, the WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight champion is set to face undefeated American Jarrell Miller on June 1 in New York. If that fight proves as routine as many expect, Ortiz hopes the triple-champion will then be on the lookout for sterner test later in the year.
“I’m willing to fight either guy,” Ortiz said. “I want a shot at the title, but I would probably choose Wilder even though I feel Joshua is the easier fight.
“With Wilder, I had a fight that I feel I should have won, so it’s like a thorn in my side I want to remove. I think Joshua is too basic and I put him to sleep. I don’t think he’d last more than three rounds with me. He’s robotic and slow. I’d put him sleep.”
A fight between Roy Jones Jr and Vitor Belfort sounds as inevitable as it is tragic, I’m afraid.
The two combat sports icons – one a boxer, the other a mixed martial artist – are both now well past their respective primes but, for some reason, are showing a desire to fight each other in 2019.
Belfort, a former UFC champion, has just signed a promotional deal with ONE Championship in Asia, while Jones Jr announced his official retirement from boxing in February last year.
Such minor details, however, won’t stop Jones obliging Belfort if the Brazilian is serious about tempting him out of retirement.
“One fight I’d really love is me against Roy Jones Jr,” said the 41-year-old Belfort. “Roy, wherever you are, I want to come challenge you for a boxing match, but with this condition: I’m going to be able to dirty box with you.”
For those unaware, ‘dirty boxing’ is a form of in-fighting that primarily takes place in the clinch. Whereas in boxing, fighters might be separated when getting too close, or when things get a little untidy, this kind of behaviour is instead encouraged in a mixed martial arts cage and known, you guessed it, as ‘dirty boxing’.
Anyway, according to TMZ, Jones, despite being 50 years of age, can see value in accepting Belfort’s challenge and has stipulated one condition of his own: he wants six – ideally, eight – weeks to prepare for it.
“This is what I do for a living,” said the great American. “Y’all must’ve forgot. That’s who I am. I love a battle. I love a challenge. So, if that’s what you want, that’s what you get. Ain’t like you’ve got to ask me twice.
“I would like eight weeks [to prepare], because I like to get right. I need two extra weeks just to make sure I can showboat. But, in six weeks, I can whip you.”
When asked for his thoughts on his potential next opponent, Roy, as is his custom, was respectful, full of praise, and then talked some more about himself.
“I got nothing but the utmost respect for you [Belfort],” he said. “You were a hell of an MMA fighter. You are one of the best of all time. But, when it comes to boxing, this is what I do. I’m the ruler. I’m the king of this thing.
“Since Muhammad Ali is not on Earth anymore, I don’t think there’s nothing on this Earth as bad as I am with these hands.”
While Jones says “I am”, others would suggest “I was” might be more applicable. Either way, let’s hope he doesn’t feel the need to prove anything to anyone at 50 years of age.