Bloody Luiz Ortiz wins 10-round decision over Christian Hammer
By John J. Raspanti
Expected to brutalize over matched Christian Hammer, highly ranked contender Luis Ortiz had to settle for a wide 10-round decision at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York Saturday night.
Scores were 99-91 (twice) and 100-90.
In the opening stanza, the lighter than usual Ortiz, a southpaw, fired his jab. As usual he was looking to set up his powerful left. Hammer connected with a right but ate a couple of solid combinations.
Hammer landed a big left hook that buckled Ortiz’s knees in round two. The big Cuban fought back with shots to the body. With a minute left in the heat, Ortiz (31-1-2, 26 KOs) appeared to stun Hammer with a good left. Another body shot had to hurt.
In rounds three and four, Ortiz went back to boxing. He circled to his right. Hammer (24-6, 14 KOs) looked a little gassed, but still connected with another right. Ortiz fired back with heavy blows to the head. Hammer was hanging in, but Ortiz appeared to be wearing him down. Ortiz forced Hammer into the ropes, but two solids to the face kept him honest.
The big heavyweights exchanged hard punches in round five. Ortiz had the edge, but the Romanian-born, Germany-based Hammer was showing real durability. A long right connected. Ortiz, bleeding from the nose, cracked Hammer with a hard left. Ortiz landed a sweeping left in round six. He worked downstairs and up. Hammer still had his right cocked and ready. He fired the blow a number of times.
Ortiz was in full stalk mode in round seven. He jabbed and jabbed. And jabbed some more. Hammer kept looking to let his right go. The pace slowed down in round eight. Hammer fought back hard in the last minute of the round to win it. Ortiz connected with a solid left that would have knocked out other heavyweights. Ortiz was still busier, but Hammer showed real moxie throughout the 10 rounder.
"The fight wasn’t what I was expecting," Ortiz said in the ring. "It was a hard fight and my corner really had to work with me. After I got the rhythm, I heated up a little bit. Every heavyweight out there should know that I still have it at 40-years-old. Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, I’m ready."
True words but at times Ortiz looked vulnerable—especially to right hands. You can bet your last buck that other top-rated heavyweights noticed.