An intriguing matchup was in the works on Oct. 17 on the Gennady Golovkin – David Lemieux undercard between heavyweights Luis Ortiz and Bryant Jennings, but that fight was nixed after Jennings wasn’t happy with the amount of money he was offered.
However, it could end up being a good thing. Ortiz and former WBC heavyweight champion Bermane Stiverne have agreed in principle to fight instead from the Madison Square Garden on October 17th.
It’s been a tumultuous year for Stiverne. After losing his WBC title in his first defense to Deontay Wilder in January – merged with a two-day hospital stint for severe dehydration – Stiverne was supposed to fight on a PBC card in July, but that never came to fruition.
Any delay for a boxer is rough. At 36 years of age, Stiverne doesn’t have the advantages like an Anthony Joshua (13-0, 13 KO’s) has. Joshua could very well lose to Dillian Whyte in December and still make a comeback to win a world title.
If Stiverne takes a loss from now on, his chances of reclaiming his glory are over. However, that’s not the only problem the Haitian is facing – this fight may not happen at all – and that is once again a classic issue of promotional disputes.
Ortiz is signed with Golden Boy Promotions, and Stiverne is signed with Don King. Ortiz has signed the contract to fight and for whatever reason, King appears to be intentionally holding up the fight.
Stiverne’s manager Camille Estephan vented his frustration to ESPN.
“King agreed to everything. He will make money and doesn’t have to do a thing. We all want this fight and he agreed and then all of a sudden he stopped responding. Just no response,” Estephan said.
“I’m so disappointed with this behavior. Bermane has been training his ass off and needs to get back in the ring. We had a deal, and we can’t move forward until King signs the contract he agreed to. This is a great fight and one that Bermane wants and that we all want. But where is King? It’s really uncalled-for behavior.”
This seems like typical boxing business to me, folks. This is why the fans complain that we need to see more good quality fights on a consistent basis. The politics and the nonsense get in the way, and then we get mismatches.
This is a good matchup, a tough assignment for Stiverne after losing convincingly in January, but if the 6’2” Stiverne focuses on fundamentals and brings the fight to the 6’4” Ortiz, their height differentials will mean nothing on Oct. 17.