Kelefah Sanneh (The New Yorker) Assesses Victor Ortiz's Sanity

I just found a wonderful, short article in The New Yorker, of all places, by Kelefah Sanneh about, of all things, Victor Ortiz, his overall mental health, and by extension the mental health of boxing --- well, it's fans and practitioners, anyway. Here is the link:

There are some lovely observations about Ortiz in here, worthy of extended quoting (with proper attribution, of course, which may avoid charges of plagiarism but perhaps not of copyright, but here goes):

When he walked away from Maidana, he made the now-infamous "I don't deserve this" remark," but also mentioned such silly notions (for a boxer) as wanting to be able to form an intelligible sentence when he was older. Sanneh notes this, and goes onto say:

Everything he said sounded reasonable, but none of it endeared him to boxing fans, who interpreted the interview as proof that Ortiz wasn’t tough—or reckless—enough to be great. Boxing is an unreasonable sport, and it needs unreasonable fighters to satisfy its unreasonable fans. Apparently, Ortiz didn’t qualify.

After tracing a bit of Ortiz's career afterward, Sanneh gets to Saturday, and the act by Ortiz that engendered a (to me) surprising amount of uncharacteristically testy exchanges on BLH about heart, and whether Ortiz has any, or even just one. Sanneh notes Ortiz's exciting style, his foul that night, and then, of course, the broken jaw and what happened next:

With three rounds left, Ortiz sat in his corner and considered his options. He felt sure that, during the ninth round, López had broken his jaw. And so, as the bell was struck to start the tenth, he gestured for the referee, Jack Reiss.

"My jaw’s broken," Ortiz said.

"Your what’s broken?" Reiss asked. "Your jaw? Are you stopping the fight?

Sanneh notes that other fighters have gutted it out and fought through broken jaws, and in particular mentions Abraham, as have so many other in the past few days. But Ortiz evidently marches to the beat of a different drummer. Sanneh points out that in the post-fight interview, he could have made the thin attempt, however transparent it would have been to salvage his reputation by insisting that his corner stopped it when he wanted to fight on. But, he didn't. He just said "My coaches wanted me to keep going." Score one for honesty.

Anyway, the last paragraph speaks for itself:

In the ring, López celebrated his surprise victory—by far the biggest win of his career, in by far his biggest fight. Meanwhile, Showtime’s cameras followed Ortiz out of the ring and into his dressing room, where he examined his mouth in the mirror and then dropped to his knees, resting his forehead on a table. He doesn’t deserve to be getting beaten up like this—no fighter does. The difference is, Ortiz knows it, and can’t seem to forget it.

Sanneh is right. No fighter deserves this.

<strong><font color="red">FanPosts are user-created content written by community members of Bad Left Hook, and are generally not the work of our editors. <em>Please do not source FanPosts as the work of Bad Left Hook</em>.</font></strong>

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