The last time the two met was in April of 2006, when Ortiz edged out a narrow split-decision, thanks largely to takedowns and ground control. It was Griffin's first real test since winning the inaugural season of
But the victory over Griffin is the last significant win for Ortiz. He's since beaten a hapless
That's why Griffin makes perfect sense as a replacement opponent on Nov. 21. While Ortiz-Coleman would have only proved which man was further from his athletic glory days, Ortiz-Griffin offers a shot at redemption. And boy, they could both use it right now.
Griffin is still smarting from the one-sided thrashing he received from
In Ortiz, he gets an opponent with a similarly plodding approach, as well as one who isn't known as a knockout artist on the feet. Ortiz claims his recent back surgery and time off from the sport have rejuvenated him and, even in his mid-30s, he insists he's still a title threat. He may genuinely believe that, but it may just be his typical pre-fight chatter. The distinction between the two is a tough one to make.
The only sure bet with Ortiz is that he needs this win just as badly as Griffin. The winner may not jump to the front of the light heavyweight contender line, but the loser will likely find himself staring at an increasingly bleak future. If Griffin has his mind together and his focus fully restored, he'll have the perfect opportunity to show how far he's come in the last few years. But as Ortiz's career longevity has proved, he doesn't go away easily.