- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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NEW YORK -- Former welterweight titlist Victor Ortiz is in town for Saturday’s heavyweight championship card headlined by Wladimir Klitschko defending against Bryant Jennings. The reason Ortiz is here is because his pal, welterweight Francisco Santana, faces Sadam Ali in the HBO-televised opener (10 p.m. ET/PT) at Madison Square Garden.
While Ortiz will be a spectator, he has designs on getting back into the ring as soon as he can. He last fought in December, knocking out Manuel Perez in the third round on the Amir Khan-Devon Alexander undercard at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. But on the final punch of the fight, Ortiz, as he explained, “shattered” his left hand, really more his wrist.
He had surgery about two months ago and it was put back together with pins. It’s still disfigured, discolored and has a nasty scar.
“It snapped two weeks before the fight but on the last punch of the fight, it completely shattered,” Ortiz said outside of MSG before Friday’s weigh-in. “At least it didn’t happen on the first punch. It happened on the last.”
Ortiz said he is back in the gym training but only using his right hand. He said his doctor advised him that he won’t be able to really do anything strenuous with his left hand until around mid-July.
“I want to get back in there and fight but as long as I’m out of commission I’ve been doing other things,” said Ortiz, whose win against Perez ended a three-fight losing streak, knockouts to Luis Collazo, Josesito Lopez and Floyd Mayweather.
Ortiz said he recently shot a sitcom with comedian George Wallace and filmed roles in two upcoming movies, “Wishful Thinking” and “Southpaw,” a boxing movie.
“But I’m not done with boxing,” he said. “I was given a gift and there are still things I want to do. I love doing movies but they are secondary. I’m doing these while I am out of commission.”
If Ortiz has his way, he would fight Lopez in a rematch first. That was a fight in which Ortiz was upset when he retired after the ninth round with a badly broken jaw that kept him out of action for 19 months. Then he would like a rematch with Marcos Maidana, against whom he fought a wild shootout in 2009 before quitting in the sixth round.
“I want Maidana but I want to start with Lopez,” Ortiz said. “And I’d like a rematch with Collazo also, but let’s not do it on anyone’s home turf. No Los Angeles and not (New York).”
Ortiz added that he was not interested in giving a rematch to Andre Berto, from whom he took the belt by decision in a great fight in 2011.
“I have nothing to prove to Berto,” he said. “Besides we were going to do a rematch and then he was on steroids so why should I fight him against?”
Their rematch was canceled weeks ahead of time after Berto tested positive for a steroid in a random drug test during training camp. Ortiz then added that he would fight Berto again “if it makes sense.”
Asked if he meant for a big payday, Ortiz said, “Yeah, it makes sense, let’s do it.”
Victor Ortiz has a busy movie career now, but the former welterweight titlist hasn't given up on boxing yet.