Luis Ortiz (33-2) is out to destroy Andy Ruiz Jr and beat the odds in their eagerly-awaited heavyweight showdown in Los Angeles on Sunday night.
The 43-year-old Ortiz is still seen as one of the toughest opponents in a stacked heavyweight division right now, but he will start as a 3/1 underdog Sunday after fighting once since 2020. That was a stoppage of former world champion Charles Martin on New Year’s Day 2022, but Ortiz had to get off the floor twice to prevail.
Ruiz Jr (34-2), who held the IBF, WBA and WBO titles for six months in 2019 after handing Anthony Joshua a first professional defeat, will provide much stiffer opposition. Ortiz though believes he has the power to pull off a shock win.
Seek and destroy is Ortiz gameplan
“My goal is to destroy my opponent and win this fight in a convincing fashion,” he said at Thursday’s final press conference in Los Angeles.
“Either he knocks me out or I knock him out. A knockout in boxing is the best thing in sports. This is going to be an exciting fight, one of us is going down, and I’m making sure it’s Andy.
“The only thing I know how to do is box. Ever since I was a kid in Cuba and had to fight for my lunch money. I’m ready for this because this is all that I know.
“This is a fight everyone has wanted. It’s going to be two warriors in the ring and now it’s finally time to fight this Sunday.
WBC title hopes on the line
Sunday’s fight has been designated as an eliminator for the WBC title currently held by Tyson Fury. The winner is likely to face the winner of Deontay Wilder vs Robert Helenius (October 15 in New York) for the spot as mandatory challenger.
Ortiz is acutely aware of what is at stake, saying: “Every fight is important, but this is especially important because the winner will hopefully fight to become heavyweight champion of the world. It’s the most important fight for both of us right now.
“This is a very important fight for both of us. Whoever wins this fight is going to get a shot for a world title and right now, it doesn’t get any bigger than that.”
Odds don’t matter once the bell sounds
The underdog tag doesn’t worry Ortiz either – he believes any superiority Ruiz Jr may feel will disappear pretty quickly once the first bell sounds on Sunday night.
“I don’t pay attention to the odds. Boxing is such a great sport, because you come in with an idea of what you’re going to do, and it changes right away when you’re in the ring.
“I come from a school of boxing that’s about adapting to what my opponent does. I don’t take anything for granted in the ring. But no matter what he does, I’m going in there to look for the knockout, that’s the ultimate goal.
“I’m facing a popular Mexican fighter, but things can turn around in a second. I love the Mexican fans and I’m looking to get them on my side with a big victory.”