Victor Ortiz and Golden Boy Promotions are trying to spin his loss to Marcos Maidana, but now Ortiz has to prove he belongs. (via www.hbo.com)
Golden Boy Promotions and Victor Ortiz are now in full spin mode. A press release sent out by the company highlights Ortiz's loss to Marcos Maidana from Saturday and his troubling post-fight comments, and attempts to explain them away as poor game planning followed by poor choice of words.
Says Ortiz himself: "I didn't fight the right fight and I didn't execute the correct game plan to beat Maidana. ... I made some comments after the fight that were an emotional response to the loss. I take full responsibility for my mistakes and actions, but I didn't mean what I said. I am young, have things to learn, and I guarantee you, I will be a world champion. Mark my words: Just watch me!"
Oscar de la Hoya chimes in: "Victor is a 22-year old kid with a brilliant future ahead of him in boxing. ... He got caught a couple times trying to go for the knockout even though he was clearly winning the fight."
And Richard Schaefer plays the blame game: "Victor suffered from being hit by several illegal blows to the back of the head and was sent to the hospital after the fight for a post-fight check-up as a precaution. He was there until close to 3am for testing, and although he is thought to have suffered a concussion, was released from the hospital."
Ortiz's co-manager Rolando Arellano says: "I will not allow the negative opinions and thoughts of others to poison our advancement towards a world championship."
I don't have anything in the world against Victor Ortiz. I doubt there are many people that do. The guy is dynamite to watch fight, and part of what makes him so good is his above average instinct to go in for the kill. That and sloppiness also are what got him drilled against Maidana, the first serious puncher he'd ever faced, and maybe after that performance one of the better punchers in the sport today. I don't think there's any great shame in losing to Maidana. I honestly thought that fight was pretty damn close to 50/50 going in, though I picked Ortiz based on the fact that I thought his speed would wind up being way too much for Maidana in the mid-to-late rounds. If anything, Maidana came in underrated after a fine showing against Andriy Kotelnik. Some folks talked like this was an Ortiz walkover. If Golden Boy thought that way, they were mistaken.
But seriously: What did they expect after the way he quit and the things he said after the fight? No matter how you want to spin this, he has to prove it now. No one's going to mark his words. For perhaps the first time in his young career, Victor Ortiz has to prove it. No more getting big fights based on potential or the kind words of his promoters.
You've got Oscar spinning youthful mistakes, Schaefer citing routine post-fight check-ups as some amazing evidence of Maidana being a dirty fighter, and then Arellano with the melodramatic "poisoning of [their] advancement towards a world championship."
The thing stopping Ortiz's advancement right now is the fact that he gave up the first time he was against it in a fight. It's not opinions from writers or fans, though some are certainly a bit extreme and classless. I hope Ortiz does whatever he needs to do. He's in a great spot to get advice from guys like Oscar and Shane Mosley and Bernard Hopkins. He's got access to the best in boxing. And he's got all the natural talent in the world. He's fast, strong, exciting, and has that killer instinct. I certainly would love to see him bounce back, learn from this, and come out even stronger and better than we expected. Do I think he can? Eh, what do I know? But if I'm wagering a guess, probably not. Just one dude's opinion though.
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