2022 is just a day away, and boxing is just about to start getting back into the swing of things following pretty much a dead week in the holiday season. As such, the staff predictions also return.
Last “season,” as it were, Patrick L. Stumberg walked away with the championship, for which he has received absolutely nothing and the world moves on just like most things in our lives. This year, we’re adding John Hansen to the mix, so we’re back to four strong.
First up on tap this year will be Premier Boxing Champions’ notso-hotso pay-per-view offering on Saturday night, a card most of us agree has good matchmaking, but belongs on FOX instead of FOX PPV.
Headlining the show will be Luis Ortiz and Charles Martin in a 12-round heavyweight clash of veterans who have mostly been on the fringes in recent years, Ortiz a former two-time title challenger and Martin a former — if brief — titleholder.
Who wins? How will they win? Let’s get down to it.
After his fluky title reign ended in beatdown fashion after three months way back in 2016, Charles Martin hasn’t done much of not eat all. He fought and lost to Adam Kownacki in 2018, a competitive fight, but we’ve also since seen Kownacki get beaten up pretty bad by a taller guy, and that doesn’t speak so well to Martin’s boxing instincts and style, perhaps. But that, too, was quite a while ago now. Luis Ortiz, on the other hand, has only losses to Deontay Wilder as anything of particular note on his resume. What’s his best win? Bryant Jennings? An ancient Tony Thompson?
Martin is 35 and has been spinning his wheels for years, Ortiz is 42 or so and hasn’t had a real fight since Nov. 2019, because I’m not giving him much credit for the 45 seconds he was in the ring in a comical FOX mismatch main event against Alexander Flores over a year ago. Ortiz seems the safer bet still, because he’s the better boxer and rather clearly so. Even with rust and age you expect that to remain the case. Martin can crack, though, and while it’s taken quite a bit — Deontay Wilder’s massive punching power, to be specific — to do damage to Ortiz, he’s certainly not invincible. Personally, I hate learning lessons and am determined to “go big or go home,” so to hell with it. Martin TKO-10
Charles Martin is a better fighter than I’d given him credit for in the past, I’ll admit as much, and I think he’s actually shown improvement since looking way out of his league in his lone title defense against Anthony Joshua a few years back. Against Luis Ortiz, however, he’s going to be up against a better technical boxer than he’s ever faced in his career and he’s going to have to show real IQ and grit to get through this fight.
With that being said, Ortiz is at a point in his professional boxing career that I think the floor can fall right from under him at basically any point. Who knows how old this man really is and Father Time remains undefeated, so the question for me is how much Ortiz has fallen off and whether or not he’ll be slow on the trigger. I don’t mean that as any real disrespect to Martin, but I think Ortiz is the better fighter of the two with all things being equal. Things won’t be equal, of course, but I’m going with Ortiz to pull out a second half stoppage while showing clear signs of slippage. Ortiz TKO-9
I’d like to start by saying that it’s nice to be here, even if it’s only so Scott can ensure he doesn’t finish last again this year.
The surest thing about this fight is that it’s ending early. Ortiz and Martin have fought a combined 67 times, with only seven of those fights going the full distance. Beyond that, both of these guys are tall, both of them are left-handed, both of them are fighters of advanced age, to one degree or another. The official birthdate on Ortiz has him turning 43 in March. But, he’s also Cuban, a sporting culture that takes the concept of “40 is the new 25” to an absurdly literal extreme. Martin is 35, which is categorically old for a boxer. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that Ortiz is actually old enough to be his father.
In the interest of brevity, I’ll get on with it and say I’m picking Ortiz to win. One of the other guys might make a very sound, reasoned case for Charles Martin here. But, I’ve never seen Martin give a performance as significant as what Ortiz did against Deontay Wilder, twice. Yes, Ortiz is old, but he was already old back then. He’s proven he can be old and look good against a top level heavyweight. Martin is no Deontay Wilder, so I’ll trust my gut and assume that Father Time, Ortiz’s old fraternity brother, won’t cause any problems for Ortiz that we haven’t seen him manage already.
For the youngest in our audience, a bit of life wisdom: As you grow into adulthood, you’ll get a shock the first time a star athlete is younger than you. That’s just a warm up for the depression you’ll feel in middle age, once ALL the athletes are younger than you. I never cared much for Tom Brady until he became one of the dwindling few keeping me out of that inevitable reality. Fingers crossed for me and all the other early-stage antiques out there that Ortiz, however old he may really be, keeps himself viable in those ranks as well. Ortiz KO-5
Patrick L. Stumberg
Luis Ortiz at his best mauls Chales Martin without much issue. Better overall boxing craft, fewer defensive lapses, better body attack. It’s just anyone’s guess whether that Ortiz will show up, as he’s spent just 45 seconds of the past two years inside the ring. That could be an issue for a guy whose first fight contracts were written in cuneiform, especially since Martin’s proven his ability to hold his own in the later rounds.
Not sure Martin’s actually good enough to exploit that hypothetical rust, though. Even a decrepit Ortiz is more likely to land a killer straight left on him than vice-versa, and the aforementioned body punches figure to even things out soon enough. “The Real King Kong” gives Father Time another middle finger with a mid-round finish. Ortiz TKO-6