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Columns


 

THE SQUARED RING

By Rich Mazon


Victor Ortiz should draw inspiration from Erik Morales as he faces Andre Berto

PhilBoxing.com
15 Apr 2011



Victor Ortiz has been talking tough lately. It is not a surprise for a boxer to talk tough before an upcoming fight of his. It is publicity for the fight ,it is also a psychological maneuver against the opponent he is facing. But for Victor Ortiz, his abrasive talk is more of a reaction to the image that the boxing world views him. The fighter who is 24 years of age is already at the crossroads of his career. He was a highly touted prospect back in 2009 when his coming out party was crashed by then unknown Argentinean Marco Antonio Maidana. It was not the loss that stuck out of the audience minds but the manner in which he lost it. It was a hard fight at first with both fighters kissing the canvass in the early rounds as a result of hard punches being exchanged by the two light welterweights. But Ortiz suffered a cut in the 5th round from a hard left from Maidana and things took a sudden turn to the worse for Ortiz. He got knocked down again in the following round and though he got up, he showed no intentions of fighting back. The fight was stopped after the ring physician decided that the cut was deep enough to cause Ortiz major problems. Ortiz though made the decision to quit before that. This was the first big test of his boxing career and it came on what was supposed to be his big spotlight moment and in front of the spotlights of HBO and the Staples Center he withered.

The prospect that was Victor Ortiz was exposed that night and the test was one that he did not passed. This was validated in the post fight interview where he declared to Max Kellerman that "I don't deserve this." This in reference to the punishment he was taking from Maidana and he followed it up with "I have a lot of thinking to do." These are words coming from a 22 year old who at that time seems to be contemplating retirement already after that loss. Words that Victor Ortiz wished he never said. For it brought backlash from all sides of the boxing world. Words that contributed to the image that Ortiz is viewed as now. An image he is trying to erase by him "talking tough "in the build up to what will be his most important fight after that loss to Maidana. His comments though are not directed mainly to his opponent Andre Berto but more so to the media, the critics and the people who sees him as vulnerable and yielding to the pressure that is brought on him in the ring. Ortiz after the loss with Maidana is labeled a quitter by most and in this sport of boxing, that is a sin.

Ortiz fought five times after that loss, mostly on aging veterans of the sport. The goal is to get him back on his track. In winning this fights, the aim is that he gets his confidence back in the ring. He won fights against veterans and aging fighters in Antonio Diaz, Hector dela Torre, Nate Campbell and Vivian Harris. His last fight was against one of the Peterson brothers in 26 year old Lamont Peterson. A fight that is reminiscent of the Maidana battle with Ortiz being the aggressor in the early rounds. He dropped Peterson twice in the third round but was unable to finish him off. Peterson then puts the pressure on Ortiz after that with left hooks that land flushed on Ortiz's face in the late rounds. It was a give and take battle that the two knockdowns Ortiz scored early became insignificant as Peterson raked up rounds for himself. The match was adjudged a majority draw when two judges had it 94 even for both fighters. The other judge scored it as a 95-93 win for Peterson. That fight raised more questions on Ortiz's durability and fortitude. Questions he wants to answer this Saturday by moving up in weight class against the unbeaten WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto. If he wins this Saturday in Connecticut, those questions will be put to rest for that night at least. He will be earning it by beating a skilled and talented boxer in Berto. He will also be earning it by winning in his first try in a bigger and heavier division. A win here will put all those doubts at ease for that night and into his next fight. This besides the belt is Victor Ortiz's motivation going to this fight.

If Victor Ortiz is looking for inspiration for his fight this Saturday, all he need to do is watch a tape of Erik Morales' inspiring performance against his previous conqueror Marco Antonio Maidana last weekend in Las Vegas. In it he will find a picture of courage, determination and resiliency. Traits that he need to improve on as a fighter. In it he will draw encouragement and inspiration to help him wither the pressure that Andre Berto is about to put on him. Berto will definitely come forward with aggression and pressure on fight night and it is up for Ortiz to withstand it. The good news is that Ortiz is so talented that he can turn the pressure back to Berto. With his unquestionable punching power, he is never at a disadvantage on any fight. It is his character that is of the question. Character that he can pull forward by watching the legendary Morales exhibit it last Saturday. His experiences in and out of the ring should have strengthen it too. He has been put to the test both in his career and in his young life. This should serve him reasons on anything that Berto will offer that night. But mostly, the criticisms and remarks he received after the Maidana and Peterson fights are enough for him not to commit the same mistakes he did. Erik Morales like him lost that fight to Maidana, but the difference was that Erik Morales came off as a winner in that fight with the character that he showed all night, he did not. It is up to him to change all of that this Saturday.

You can email Rich Mazon at rrmaze24@aol.com for questions or comments or follow him on Twitter @Freemazon910.



Click here for a complete listing of columns by this author.

Click here for a complete listing of this author's articles from different news sources.

 




 
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