FOR Dillian Whyte to receive a shot at WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, he must pass one (not so) simple test: defeat the skilful Cuban Luis Ortiz.
That’s the view of ‘The Bronze Bomber’ at least.
Wilder, set to fight Tyson Fury on December 1 in Los Angeles, has been harangued by White in recent months, yet says the excitable Englishman is lacking the one thing required to unlock his door. He’s lacking a big, eye-catching win.
“In my last two fights, I fought two former world champions, yet Wilder bleats that I have to fight Ortiz to be second placed mandatory,” Whyte told Sky Sports. “Who’s Ortiz’s best win? A dreadful points win over Malik Scott, who (Derek) Chisora knocked out?”
This doesn’t tell the whole story, of course.
For one, Luis Ortiz’s career-best win is probably a knockout of Bryant Jennings rather than a decision win over Malik Scott. More pertinent, for sure, is the fact Ortiz, in March, gave Wilder all he could handle, nearly stopped the WBC champion around the halfway mark, and has long been an avoided member of a heavyweight division that places greater value in hype and charisma than old-fashioned technique and talent.
Make no mistake, Ortiz, 29-1 (25), can fight and would be a serious test of Whyte’s credentials.
“I offered to fight Ortiz years ago, but he didn’t want to know,” said Whyte, 24-1 (17). “He didn’t even want to know this summer. He asked for silly money coming off his knockout loss to Wilder and made it clear he wouldn’t be ready for July 28, which was the date we had available. Funnily enough, it didn’t stop him fighting someone else that day.
“Wilder wants me to jump through more hoops that he dictates before I can fight him, yet he fought journeyman Jason Gavern immediately before he fought for the world title.”
Ultimately, comparing records won’t get you a world title shot. Big wins (especially against ageing but awkward Cubans) will.
Yesterday, following the WBC convention in Kiev, it appeared the route back to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez for Gennady Golovkin was going to be a tough and potentially long one.
There was talk of him having to fight WBC interim champion Jermall Charlo in order to decide a new number one contender for the Mexican’s full title, and there was a fear Golovin, even if successful, would rack up more miles on the clock by the time he got the chance to meet Alvarez for a third time.
Yet any such concerns have been allayed by the Kazakh’s promoter, Tom Loeffler, who says Canelo remains the immediate priority and that they are doing all they can to ensure that fight happens as soon as possible.
Speaking to the WBC’s James Blears, he said: “We’re just asking for GGG to get another opportunity to fight for his titles. We just think it’s the right thing to do. And, frankly, it’s the biggest fight for both guys.
“I’ve talked to Eric Gómez a couple of times. I think they’re very interested because these have been the two biggest paydays of Canelo’s career, and also for GGG.
“That’s what happens when you have not only the two best fighters in the sport but two of the most marketable fighters.
“So, they’re not opposed to having a third fight. It just depends on the time frame. They’re both taking some time off, so there a lot of things to work out.
“This makes all the sense in the world and, frankly, it’s the fight that the fans want to see.”
He’s right, of course. A Canelo vs. Golovkin trilogy match makes complete sense and should probably happen next. But, if it doesn’t (and this is boxing, remember), Golovkin fighting Charlo, one of America’s rising stars, isn’t exactly a shoddy alternative, is it?