Monday, January 30, 2012

Ortiz Has To Overcome Mayweather Loss To Be Considered The Best

By Rich Mancuso

Victor Ortiz still believes he did not lose to Floyd Mayweather Jr. The mental approach says that, yet his debut as a pay-per-view fighter was not classified as one that will be remembered. Those lasting images, Ortiz getting hit by a Mayweather punch in a ring, on HBO Pay-Per-View, have led to more questions.

Was the image of Ortiz tarnished? Is he classified as a legitimate championship fighter in an elite welterweight division? Time will tell in a few weeks when Ortiz opposes Andre Berto again, a 12-round bout televised on Showtime February 11th from the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.

“I still see myself as a world champion,” he says. “I will never bow down to not being a world champion because it wasn’t right what happened in my eyes.” He has had almost two months to contemplate what went wrong in losing the WBC welterweight title to Mayweather.

There have been meetings with his team, reviewing tape of the fight more than once, and courteous when answering questions to the media. The Berto camp feels his win over their fighter last April should have went their way. The judges scored it a unanimous decision for Ortiz, and both fighters were knocked down twice. Some classified this one as the 2011 Fight of the Year.

Ortiz would capitalize on his opportunity of winning the WBC Welterweight championship. The fight with Mayweather, though not as lucrative as would be for a champion, was supposed to lead to more. Major pay dates, exposure, and marketable, as this young champion who overcame adversity as a youngster. But one punch changed everything.

“I have a few chips on my shoulder from the first Berto fight,” he says. “It didn’t end the way I wanted it to end. And my last fight (Mayweather) wasn’t the greatest. So my roller coaster is re launching right now. I want to climax.”

It was written, and stated more than once. Victor Ortiz should not have been in the ring with Floyd Mayweather. He was outclassed, and most of all not a smart fighter who decided a head butt, in the corner, was a proper strategy. It was a defining moment of frustration and it was an approach, sadly remembered as a debacle.

Yes, it was not a climax against Mayweather. And there may not be another chance to fight him again. So, Ortiz realizes if there is any chance of a reunion with Mayweather, or meeting any of the other prominent fighters in the division, he must make a statement and defeat Berto a second time.

“Once again it comes back that I’m the underdog,” he says. “That’s the story of my life. At the same time, let’s not forget about this much. I was a 140-pounder in the first fight. Now I’m a natural 147.”

And before going into the Mayweather fight, Ortiz was a major underdog. He had many believing it could be pulled off, that Mayweather returning to the ring after 16- months would have that ring rust. The first few rounds, Ortiz was strong and aggressive and he had the skeptics fooled. The rest of the fight is history, a loss on the record of Ortiz that a fight fan will never forget.

To that, Ortiz says, “That part of my career is over. It is time to move on with Berto. Obviously people go through their ups and downs. But I’m having fun and enjoying going through my ups and downs. At the end of the day I’m just trying to be one of the greats.”

Golden Boy Promotions and Lou DiBella are co-promoters of the fight. Obviously they have an interest as to who will win. Berto is looking to restore his mark as a formidable welterweight, and Ortiz is seeking redemption to get back where he wants to be.

At first Berto was implicating Ortiz for using steroids as to a reason why he lost last April. Then he retracted his statement and said, “Ortiz was a better fighter that night.” Both have agreed to drug testing and that won’t be an issue. The focus will be who the better fighter will be and where they proceed.

This will be the first significant fight of the year and for Victor Ortiz, perhaps now more important than the Mayweather fight. He does not want to come off the Mayweather ending with further damage as to not living up to expectations. He intends to make a statement that the Mayweather chapter is over, and this meeting with Berto will be memorable.”

“He gave me a shot,” says Ortiz about his title opportunity a first time. But this one will be different because the winner will be in line for another title opportunity.

This post is sponsored in part by Bay Club Bayside & Garden City Homes For Sale

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