After over a year of carefully picked bouts following a loss to Marcos Maidana, it looks like Golden Boy Promotions is ready to move Victor Ortiz back up the ladder. FanHouse's Lem Satterfield reports that Andriy Kotelnik is being discussed as a December opponent for Ortiz.
The fight would be a co-feature for the December 11 HBO fight between Amir Khan and Maidana. Khan and Maidana have also fought Kotelnik, with Maidana losing a narrow decision in a good fight, and Khan dominating Kotelink. Most recently, Kotelnik turned some heads with a very good performance in a disputed loss to Devon Alexander on August 7, which cemented his status as one of the best fighters at 140 pounds.
Richard Schaefer says it could be a statement fight for Ortiz, and he's right. Since losing to Maidana, Golden Boy has been very careful with Ortiz. They've matched him against three fighters who are either clearly shot or well past their peak in Antonio Diaz, Nate Campbell and Vivian Harris, and he also had a Fight Night Club bout with tomato can Hector Alatorre earlier this year. He has made some changes in his approach, boxing more than he used to and notably trying to avoid pure firefights, which is what got him into trouble against the powerful Maidana. With Harris on September 18, Ortiz started very tentatively in the first round, but quickly found out that the veteran from Guyana doesn't take a punch well anymore, and turned into the old Victor Ortiz, blowing Harris out of the water with ease. The old Victor Ortiz -- which Schaefer also says he saw in the Harris fight -- used to beat up on overmatched opponents, and that's what he did with Harris.
A potential win over Kotelnik would absolutely be the best of Ortiz's career, and not easily attained. Kotelink isn't very powerful, but he's a smart fighter, takes a great punch, and is very fundamentally sound. Kotelnik doesn't allow guys to capitalize on mistakes, because he doesn't make a whole lot of them. The one bad loss of his career was to Khan, whose height and hand speed made his safety-first approach one that clearly frustrated and neutralized Kotelnik.
And the fight has some danger. Part of me wonders if this is the "right" fight for Ortiz, but it's sink or swim time for him. We're well-aware of what he can do with second-rate and old fighters. Kotelnik isn't worn out or shot and has been competing at the world level, and competing pretty well. Ortiz has no more to learn from fighting easy opposition. He has to prove if he has it or if he doesn't, and Kotelnik is definitely the toughest available option for December.