WASHINGTON -- Heavyweight Luis Ortiz is one of the most feared punchers in the division, and he showed why yet again.
"The Real King Kong" once again displayed crushing power in his left hand to devastating effect, knocking Tony Thompson down with it three times en route to an utterly one-sided sixth-round knockout victory before 4,585 on Saturday night at the DC Armory.
The 6-foot-4, 242-pound Miami-based Ortiz, a Cuban defector, looked tremendous when he drilled contender Bryant Jennings in sensational fashion in a seventh-round TKO on Dec. 19 to retain his interim belt for the first time. He looked equally as dangerous against Thompson, although the belt was not at stake. Regardless, few top heavyweights are anxious to fight Ortiz.
"You still haven't seen the best of me; you have not seen the best of 'King Kong,'" Ortiz said through a translator. "I am ready for anyone in the ring any time."
Asked about the fact that he is 36 and not looking to stretch out his road to the top, Ortiz (25-0, 22 KOs) said his age makes no difference.
"It doesn't matter. Age doesn't matter. Look what Bernard Hopkins did," Ortiz said, pointing to the future Hall of Famer and HBO commentator, who is 51 and still fighting at a high level. "I have the qualities. Whoever wants it. Doesn't matter. I have quality."
Ortiz, a southpaw, took command immediately, landing a chopping left hand to Thompson's head to drop him in the first round. Thompson barely beat the count. He took some hard shots through the rest of the round, including a body shot that bounced him into the ropes.
Thompson, a longtime contender who has seen better days, was smiling at Ortiz, but it did not look like a laughing matter as Ortiz sized him up and fired accurate punches while Thompson barely landed anything.
Ortiz knocked the 6-5, 264-pound Thompson down for the second time when he landed virtually the exact same overhand left to his head as the bell sounded to end the third round. Thompson, who got knocked out by Wladimir Klitschko twice in world title fights, beat the count but walked to his corner with a look of resignation on his face.
In the sixth round, Ortiz cranked up the overhand left again and slammed it into Thompson's head as he went down for the third time, coming to rest with his head against the bottom ring rope. He made an effort to get to his feet, but referee Malik Waleed counted him out at 2 minutes, 29 seconds, sending Ortiz climbing up the ring post, where he beat his chest like King Kong does in the films.
According to CompuBox punch statistics, Ortiz landed 88 of 250 punches (35 percent) while Thompson connected on 43 of 221 punches (19 percent).
Thompson, who has loads of experience against top fighters, was impressed by Ortiz.
"He is strong as advertised," Thompson said. "It's sad that my hometown got to see me at the end of my career versus at the peak of my career. I just think it would have been a much better fight with prime Tony Thompson that's all, but the guy is as strong as a monster. But, again, three weeks of training and that's the best I have for three weeks."
Ortiz said that he was not concerned that Thompson hung around as long as he did despite Ortiz's dominance, although one judge stunningly gave Thompson two rounds.
"He's a fighter who has lots of experience," Ortiz said. "My professor [trainer Herman Caicedo] also told me not to worry, that everything would come in time. I boxed a little, I punched a little bit. 'King Kong' is here and knows how to get the job done."
Thompson (40-7, 27 KOs), a 44-year-old southpaw, looked every bit his age. A pro for 17 years and fighting in his hometown for the first time, he showed very little.
He was slow -- he has a bad knee -- and did not look to be in top condition, which came as no surprise considering he took the fight on about three weeks' notice because so many others had turned down the fight, and then Russian Alexander Dimitrenko backed out after agreeing.
For Ortiz, it was a way to stay busy and keep showing the public that he is a big man to be reckoned with.
"The ring is full of blood and it's not my blood," Ortiz said.
Ortiz has a mandatory defense of his interim belt due by June 19 against Russian Alexander Ustinov (33-1, 24 KOs), and Golden Boy Promotions vice president Eric Gomez said they will attempt to make a deal with Ustinov promoter Frank Warren to place the fight on the Canelo Alvarez-Amir Khan HBO PPV undercard on May 7 in Las Vegas.
"You still haven't seen the best of me, you have not seen the best of 'King Kong.' I am ready for anyone in the ring any time." Luis Ortiz
"We'll talk and see if we can get it done," Gomez said. "We'll talk to Frank Warren, and if he's reasonable we'll get the fight done."
But getting Ustinov or any other fighter in the ring with Ortiz is going to be difficult, which Ortiz and his team know. Ortiz was confident, though, that he would get a big fight eventually.
"They're going to have to fight me," he said. "I have [Golden Boy CEO] Oscar De La Hoya, Golden Boy, HBO and the WBA behind me. They'll make it happen. I am grateful to them.
"I'm back in the gym on Monday. This is my job. It's what I do."
Gomez, like some, believes Ortiz is the best heavyweight in the world.
"He's the most exciting. He has the speed, the power, the charisma," Gomez said. "With the help of HBO we're going to continue to pound him and pound him and pound him until somebody opens the door. We want the best fights. We will work with any promoter. He wants the best fights. He deserves it."