Victor Ortiz was on top of the world after winning a welterweight world title by decision from Andre Berto in a terrific fight in 2011. He had finally lived up to the vast potential he showed on the way up and seemed poised for a good run.
But Ortiz has not won a fight since. Instead, he has lost three in a row. Badly. By knockout.
In Ortiz’s first defense later in 2011, Floyd Mayweather Jr. knocked him out in the fourth round to take his belt, albeit somewhat controversially. Ortiz returned in June 2012 to face massive underdog Josesito Lopez and was stopped in the ninth round because of a badly broken jaw. A lengthy injury layoff followed (during which he was a contestant on “Dancing With the Stars” and also filmed a role in “The Expendables 3”), and he did not fight again until January.
That went as bad -- worse, even -- than the previous two fights, as former welterweight titlist Luis Collazo knocked him out in the second round. Many were critical of Ortiz’s apparent lack of effort in trying to beat the count.
At that point many thought Ortiz’s career was over, or at least that it should be. But guess who’s back? Yup. The 27-year-old Ortiz (29-5-2, 22 KOs) is giving it another go.
Ortiz will fight an opponent to be named -- and don’t expect anyone very good -- deep on the Devon Alexander-Amir Khan undercard on Dec. 13 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
On Wednesday in Los Angeles at the kickoff news conference for the card, Ortiz said he had no plans to quit boxing despite the terrible results in his past three fights.
"I've fallen a few times in my career, it happens,” Ortiz said. “I don't care what career you choose to do, you're going to fall. You get up and shake it off and move forward.”
Even after the brutal jaw injury to Lopez, Ortiz said he didn’t wallow in self-pity.
"Two years ago I broke my jaw in a fight, but I didn't sit around feeling sorry for myself,” he said. “I immediately took on ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ and six weeks in I was eliminated. From there I get a call from Sylvester Stallone to do ‘Expendables 3.’ Why not? I can't fight and my jaw is still shattered, so I went to Eastern Europe for three months.
"This is a fight that I'm taking very seriously. I can't afford to fall. I'm fortunate to have options, but right now my option is to be world champion. I've put two films aside to fight on Dec. 13. I could've trained and acted at the same time, but I knew that I had to focus completely on this fight. Not having an opponent doesn't affect my current training.”
Anyone would be skeptical of Ortiz regaining his stature in boxing. It seems awfully unlikely given the trajectory of his career.
"No one is forcing me to keep boxing, but I'm only 27 and I have a lot left in me. I'm in my prime and, at the end of the day, I'm back in the ring,” Ortiz said. “It's in me to fight, and I have a lot of unfinished business in the ring. I will, mark my words, be one of the greatest.”