Victor Ortiz was successful in his San Antonio outing last night, defeating Gilberto Sanchez Leon by 8th round TKO and scoring knockdowns in the 1st and 3rd rounds. It was a solid effort on Ortiz’s behalf, although it wasn’t the tightest performance with all things considered.
Gilberto had been in the ring with some solid competition before he shared the ring with Ortiz, fighters like Wale Omotoso, Juan Carlos Burgos, Diego Magdaleno, and, of all people, Josesito Lopez—who defeated and broke the jaw of Ortiz, forcing him to quit in the 9th round. The problem is that the 34-year-old Gilberto lost every one of those fights which added to his 14 total losses throughout his career.
Of course, Ortiz shouldn’t be criticized for the opponent because, after all, he is on the “comeback trail” so to speak. It isn’t a normal comeback. A normal fighter on the comeback trail is trying to regain a lost supremacy or get back on a course that was leading to a position of dominance or at the very least a major fight.
In Ortiz’s case, he is already the star he set out to be with the commercial appeal that cements his boxing career, as lacking as it might be. He might not have the support of the boxing fans, you know, the one’s that pay to see fighters fight, but I guarantee his name on a bill across from another significant name will garner attention.
And therein lies the problem, Ortiz’s drive to compete is only based on his own desire to, well, compete. He will only test himself as much as he actually feels like it because is already in a place where he can capitalize off of his boxing career.
I’m not saying that Ortiz does not want to be the best fighter. I’m just saying that there is no way of knowing how deep his desire for real competition burns.
For example, Ortiz didn’t call out Shawn Porter or Keith Thurman, but instead, after his latest win Ortiz said he’d like the winner between Danny Garcia and Robert Guerrero. Those aren’t easy fights, but they certainly aren’t fighters with any real welterweight momentum, nor are they considered the most dangerous fighters in the division.
Garcia is still feeling out the division and he is growing into the best version of Danny the welterweight he could possibly be, but he still maintains the commercial appeal of Danny the junior welterweight. That is why we should have our suspicions of Ortiz because he could be calling out Danny based on all of the rewards weighed against the perceived lack of risk at this point in Danny’s welterweight run.
Guerrero has looked less than stellar as of late and yet he maintains the allure of a fighter that once shared the ring with Floyd Mayweather Jr. and earned that fight by defeating his most (and arguably only) notable opponent in Andre Berto. In that sense, Ortiz is chasing himself by demanding a fight with Guerrero.
There is very little room for criticism with Ortiz considering that most welterweights are either calling out the Garcia-Guerrero winner or secretly hoping they get the call from Haymon. You can’t fault Ortiz for wanting a fight that every welterweight would jump at the chance for. However, Ortiz is in a position where he could probably land that fight based solely on his commercial appeal, something that can’t be said for any other deserving welterweight in the division.
Ortiz knows he can use his status as a former Mayweather opponent and recognizable figure amongst casual fans to his advantage by landing the most marketable fights with the least amount of effort or deserving wins.
I admit, Ortiz did say some nice sounding things after his win during a post-fight interview that gave off the illusion that he’s interested in any and all comers.
“My past is in my past. I want to go for it. Any of the top welterweights, I want them,” Ortiz said.
The problem is that his past is the only thing keeping him in the game at this point and if he manages to find himself standing across from a soft touch with some valuable standing. It is a nice notion for Victor that we can just forget the past indiscretions, but not when they’ve literally shaped his career, not to mention they occurred during the biggest moments and against the most significant opponents of his career.
No, for Victor to have us truly believe that the past is the past he will have to give up all of the perks that come with being a pre-built star inside the Haymon stable. He cannot call Al expecting an immediate answer or call back, and he certainly can’t expect for his every wish and/or desire be met with confirmation.
Until he forgets Mayweather, I’ll remember Maidana, and Peterson, and oh yeah, Lopez.