The hard-hitting Cuban southpaw says he has every tool needed to come out on top of his heavyweight showdown versus Andy Ruiz Jr. this Sunday, September 4, in a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View from Los Angeles.
The few times I have been around Luis Ortiz he’s always been calm, cordial, polite, and seemingly unimpressed by the cameras and microphones. Always the professional, he answers one question after the other, in English and Spanish.
Throughout the process, Ortiz’s tone and the accompanying expression never changes. He stands 6-foot-4 but his demeanor makes him seem just as big as the biggest heavyweight. He rarely laughs and you never see him goofing around. Perhaps that’s why it was especially chilling when Ortiz leaned close to the mic and uttered, “Let’s see who comes out of the cave first.”
This Sunday, September 4, 2022, the heavy-handed Ortiz meets former unified world champion Andy "The Destroyer" Ruiz takes in an explosive, old-school heavyweight showdown at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, live on FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
Both will carry into the ring similar records and similar motivations. The fast-punching Ruiz (34-2, 22 KOs) wants to be champion again and he knows that he must win this fight to remain in the on-deck circle. Cuban southpaw Ortiz (33-2, 28 KOs) has not given up on his quest to be champion.
Ortiz has come close before. Like Earnie Shavers when he dropped Larry Holmes back in 1979, he came within punches of dethroning Deontay Wilder during their first fight in March 2018. Holmes—like Wilder—moved, held, ducked, and survived the heavy fire until the bell rang.
Shavers always joked that he was champ for eight seconds. Ortiz could say he was champ for a bit longer than that. Unfortunately for Ortiz, who held an interim belt in the past, Wilder hit about as hard as Shavers did but with better stamina. But, if Ortiz beats Ruiz, he will be one huge step closer to getting another chance.
While Ruiz has recently expressed an interest in fighting Wilder or going after the belts next, Ortiz’s mind is solely on September 4th.
“Ruiz is one of the few top heavyweights who has shown any interest in fighting me,” said Ortiz before adding, “But he already has his mind on other fighters.”
Ortiz was strikingly calm when I spoke with him. He sat on the ring apron with his arms stretched across the bottom rope and spoke with the casual confidence of a man who has been through it all. He fielded question after question about Ruiz.
He acknowledged Ruiz’ hand speed, possibly the quickest in the division. He shrugged his shoulders when told that Ruiz is having a great camp and that he looks slimmer than he has in the past.
When all the questions about activity, inactivity, layoffs, trainers, and knockdowns were done, Ortiz said that boxing, “Is all about mental strength.”
“ Come September 4, let’s see who is the first one to come out of the cave. ” Heavyweight Contender - Luis Ortiz
If anyone should doubt the mental strength and focus of Ortiz, remember how you felt the last time the bus was late. Then imagine trying to keep your cool while spending half a day floating on a raft from Cuba to Mexico, dealing with the delays due to rough waters and sharks. Then imagine making your way up north in a foreign country and, according to some sources, being forced to cross barefooted into the United States.
Think also about the restraint it took for Ortiz to avoid the trappings of success that overcomes most fighters the first time they taste fame. The trappings that caused his rival, Ruiz, to lose his belts.
In 2019, within a span of only a few months, Ruiz went from underdog to world champ in one of boxing’s greatest upsets and then, to ridiculed and disgraced former champ. After seeing photos of Ruiz throwing elaborate parties and purchasing expensive cars, actor Danny Trejo said, “I knew he was going to lose when I saw the Rolls.”
A Mexican newspaper cautioned him publicly and warned that Ruiz was going down the same path as did former Mexican greats like Rodolfo Casanova and Victor Rabanales. Before he had even fought for the title, Casanova had already fallen into the trappings of the so-called glamourous life. When he climbed into the ring to challenge for the title, the expensive clothes, beer, and dancing all did nothing to help him in the ring. Casanova’s best days were behind him before he even got his title shot.
Rabanales had made several six-figure pay days when he stared admiringly at the volcano which looked down on his city. He wondered why no one had built a home on that mountain, seemingly unaware that it was – like Yellowstone Park – government owned land. One day, he met a trio of lawyers with no scruples. They printed some fraudulent documents and got in a jeep and drove him to the top of the volcano, asking him where he would like to build his home.
Rabanales was hesitant, and on the way down, the lawyers kept lowering their price. Halfway down, they threw out a number that the champ liked and had him sign the useless papers. By the time he found out that he had been duped, the lawyers were long gone.
Ruiz, the newspaper wrote, still had a chance to turn around his fortunes. Unlike Casanova and Rabanales, he is a getting another chance.
Ortiz has never been seen squandering his money or living to impress. He dresses neat and stylish, but he puts his family first. He doesn’t trash talk though he was critical of Ruiz when it was announced a few months ago that Ruiz was going to next face a kickboxer in Mexico.
As wrapping up another training session, Ortiz fielded more questions on Ruiz. When it was all said and done, Ortiz leaned in closer to the mic and said, “Come September 4, let’s see who is the first one to come out of the cave.”
For a closer look at Luis Ortiz, check out his fighter page.