After Jarrell Miller was forced out of the fight with Anthony Joshua on June 1 following three failed drug tests, promoter Eddie Hearn has since been frantically looking around for another opponent to replace the disgraced ‘Big Baby’.
Hearn confirmed there were discussions with Luis Ortiz but then said he was fed up with the lies surrounding Anthony Joshua and promised to expose the Cuban and his team after the announcement for AJ’s next opponent has been made for the way they handled the negotiations.
Multiple sources have reported that Ortiz’s representatives turned down Hearn’s $5 million offer to step in on five weeks notice to face the WBA ‘Super’, IBF and WBO world heavyweight champion.
They asked for $10 million, $3.5 million more than what would’ve been Miller’s package for the fight had the besmirched Brooklyn boxer not tested positive for multiple performance-enhancing drugs late in March.
Luis Ortiz, who has also failed doping tests in the past, responded: “No contract even ever got sent so sorry to all the loyal fans. Luis really wanted this title shot.”
Instead, Ortiz believes that Matchroom Boxing have strung him along and the offer made was more of a ‘gimmick’ than a genuine attempt to secure his signature.
Hearn is still expected to make a counter-offer to Ortiz before finalising a deal for Miller’s replacement.
He hasn’t ruled out the Cuban and is perhaps the reason why he hasn’t revealed what went on with his team and why the offers were rejected.
All the Brit promoter has said is that he will expose them all after the announcement, stating that he phoned his trainer immediately after receiving his counter-offer and incredulously asked him: “Are you serious?!”
The 40-year-old Ortiz occupies a strong negotiating position because Hearn and DAZN need a credible replacement that will still fill Madison Square Garden on June 1.
The other candidates considered most recently to replace Miller are Americans Andy Ruiz (32-1, 21 KOs) and Michael Hunter (16-1, 11 KOs).
Both are willing and in good shape to be ready at the short notice given.
Ruiz has dropped just a 12-round, majority decision to former WBO champ Joseph Parker (25-2, 19 KOs) in December 2016 and Hunter’s lone loss was a 12-round, unanimous-decision defeat to former undisputed cruiserweight champ Oleksandr Usyk (16-0, 12 KOs) in April 2017.