Just days after it was announced that he would face Luis Ortiz on a March 5 HBO card, Alexander Dimitrenko has withdrawn from the fight, with Golden Boy saying that Dimitrenko asked for more money before signing the contract officially, referring to his actions as a "stick up."
Dimitrenko (38-2, 24 KO) was something of a surprise opponent in the first place, if only because he hasn't really been a relevant fighter at all in the last three years, since he was knocked out by Kubrat Pulev. The 33-year-old Russian has fought since then, going 6-0, but against very limited opposition, and well out of the spotlight.
But Dimitrenko was, essentially, the only guy willing to step up and face Ortiz (24-0, 21 KO), who is coming off of a seventh round TKO win over Bryant Jennings in December. Ortiz is the interim WBA titleholder -- though that won't last long, most likely, as the WBA is aggressively cutting down their number of unnecessary titles under a new regime -- and now has just a month to find someone else acceptable for an HBO main event.
Promoter Greg Cohen, who worked with Dimitrenko to make the deal, says that Golden Boy even structured a way to pay Dimitrenko more money to keep the fight, but Dimitrenko still didn't take the deal, which makes it sound like Dimitrenko flat-out realized he didn't want to fight Luis Ortiz after all. That's just the word of Cohen, but it certainly shines a poor light on Dimitrenko and his team.
Dan Rafael of ESPN.com also reports that Andy Ruiz, Andrey Fedosov, Carlos Takam, Alexander Ustinov, and Bermane Stiverne have passed on offers to fight Ortiz, so the list of available opponents is looking extremely thin. With the fight being held in Washington, DC, maybe Tony Thompson could step in. That's not really an attractive matchup, with Thompson 44 years old and coming off of a clear loss to Malik Scott, but it's hard to figure out anyone better that Ortiz can fight on March 5.