When Anthony Joshua was left without an opponent for his upcoming fight on June 1, his handlers turned to Luis Ortiz.
The Cuban and former WBA interim heavyweight champion was considered the most high-profile replacement after Jarrell Miller was denied a boxing licence for failing three drug tests last week.
Yesterday, Ortiz's management team King Kong Boxing announced that talks had broken down and the 40-year-old will not be fighting Joshua.
"We just received news from [the] promoter that it's a no-go and it was all a gimmick and Hearn's low-ball offers will not be accepted," they declared in a statement on Instagram.
However, it has now emerged, as per Boxing Scene, that negotiations hit a stumbling block when Ortiz's entourage turned down Eddie Hearn's offer of $5 million and instead demanded twice the amount.
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His team's request for $10 million is noticeably higher than the $6.5 million Miller was set to receive, prompting speculation that they are keen to exploit the last minute panic and publicity likely to surround Joshua's first fight in the US.
Ortiz, who failed a drug test himself for diuretics chlorothaizide and hydrochlorothiazide in September 2017, has won 31 out of his 34 fights to date.
He emerged as first choice for Miller's replacement due to the fact that Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury are contracted to fights against Dominic Breazeale on May 18 and Tom Schwarz on June 15 respectively.
Joshua's promoter Hearn also suggested that they might have turned down the fight because their priority is the prospect of a rematch against Wilder, the only fighter to have defeated Ortiz.
Al Haymon, who advises both boxers, has claimed that such a fight could take place as early as September.
Hearn stated that "preparations were continuing" for Joshua's next fight and that eight boxers were being considered as potential opponents, including Ortiz, Adam Kownacki and Michael Hunter.
Reports have suggested that he is likely to make a counter offer to Ortiz's team, but Hunter remains firm favourite.
With just five weeks until the fight, the emphasis will be on confirming a name sooner rather than later.News Now - Sport News