If reports are true of his heavyweight title challenge versus Deontay Wilder taking place on March 3 in Brooklyn, it's certainly news to Luis Ortiz.
That's not to say the unbeaten contender won't be prepared for the moment.
"The media is saying it's March 3, so I guess that's when we will become heavyweight champion," Ortiz told FightNights.com when asked about his showdown with Wilder.
News of the bout taking place on that date at Barclays Center—with Showtime to televise—was first reported by RingTV.com senior writer Mike Coppinger, citing unnamed but reliable sources. FightNights.com's own group of sideline whisperers have also strongly suggested the date and venue to be true, although members of both Wilder and Ortiz's camps have chosen to be coy, either not of the know or just playing dumb until an official announcement is made by Showtime and Premier Boxing Champions.
Such notification is expected to come down shortly after the new year, only adding to what is already an active first quarter for Showtime.
The pairing comes as a second-time around effort, with the two unbeaten heavyweights previously due to collide at the very same venue on November 4. Ortiz lost out on that opportunity when random drug testing results in late September showed an adverse finding of banned substances which he attributed to prescribed blood pressure medication that his handlers failed to disclose to Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) representatives during pre-test screening.
Wilder (39-0, 38KOs) was able to keep the date, instead facing Bermane Stiverne whom he slaughtered in the 1st round of their rematch which drew strong ratings despite being surrounded by harsh criticism. The win was the 6th consecutive title defense and stoppage for Wilder since winning the title from Stiverne in Jan. '15 via decision, the lone time in his career in which the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist has been forced to go to the scorecards.
Ortiz was initially handed a suspension by the World Boxing Association (WBA), whom recognized the Miami-based Cuban southpaw as its mandatory challenger. The sanctioning body's best efforts to swing its proverbial dick around went largely unnoticed in the grand scheme of things, as the World Boxing Council (WBC)—whose heavyweight title Wilder has owned for nearly three years—instead handed Ortiz a stiff fine and a probation period in which he is to submit to year-round random drug testing.
It barely caused a ripple in his career progress, as he was able to secure a spot on the December 8 edition of PBC on FS1, where he drilled miserably overmatched Daniel Martz inside of two rounds. The bout played second fiddle to the post-fight aftermath, beginning with Ortiz leaning through the ropes immediately after his knockout win, standing over Martz' near-unconscious body as he screamed at Wilder who sat ringside as a guest commentator.
The matter quickly devolved into a WWE-style taunting match between the two heavyweights during a post-fight interview conducted by PBC's Jordan Hardy.
From there, it was no longer a matter of if but when the bout would be rescheduled. We now have that information, even if an official announcement is still forthcoming.
None of that has prevented Ortiz from hitting the ground running in his attempt to become Cuba's first-ever pro heavyweight champion.
"Look, whether it's March 3 or January 3, I'm going to be ready," insists Ortiz. "I'm in the gym just about every day of the year. We took a little time off after my last fight, just to enjoy the holidays but I always stay in shape and get in some form of gym activity even when not in full training.
"Whenever the date (is), I'll be ready to take Deontay Wilder's world title. He's keeping it warm for me, but that title is coming home with me whenever our fight takes place."