Victor Ortiz is fighting tonight and there's something magical in the air. An aroma of expectation; tonight will deliver us....something. Something good. Something interesting. Something dramatic. Something hilarious. Something tragic. Something with weight, something that matters, unlike the vast majority of boxing shows we subject ourselves to on a weekly basis to avoid the scorn of hardcore elites who scoff at anyone missing a Friday Night Fight. When the human tree, the ill-fated victim of the "Sucker Punch", Face Lube entrepreneur Ortiz, steps into the ring, it's a safe bet we will be watching and we will be given something in return.
The tension of anticipation on the day of a major pay-per-view event has a very specific feel. You know something potentially enormous could happen (Marquez-Pacquiao 4: worthy as hell), but your better judgement suggests it will more likely end up another disappointing investment, emotionally and financially ("Oh....so Mayweather was #THE #ONE....well, that was seventy dollars well spent"). The lowered expectations and stakes of Ortiz' return against Luis Collazo ratchet the importance level of this fight down to somewhere south of Steve Smoger's nipple-level belt loops, meaning it won't be a great tragedy if it doesn't make us all vomit and crap simultaneously in an ecstatic automated response to bloodcurdling ultraviolence.
Regardless of how the fight plays out, at some point tonight, there will be a microphone in front of Ortiz' mouth, and there will be words coming from that mouth. There is a good chance the words won't make any sense. They will probably seem disingenuous or contrived. But unlike Adrien Broner's utterly charmless schtick, the earnestness with which Ortiz will attempt to utter some profundity, contradict himself, and then tell a story that one-hundred percent could not have happened, while dropping a bountiful supply of ‘broskies', ‘brohams', and ‘brosamas', will absolutely delight you, unless you are a humorless ghoul.
Ortiz-Collazo is not the Super Bowl of boxing, nor the round one of the playoffs of boxing, or even the Week 9 of boxing. It's the preseason, maybe. If Ortiz can win, he will move toward a more significant fight against another, more current Golden Boy attraction like Keith Thurman or Danny Garcia. Don't forget, Ortiz was at the top of the sport, at least in his level of opposition and opportunity. Sure, the event turned out to be a complete mockery, with Ortiz playing a major role in a result that mostly disgraced the sport. But it doesn't get higher profile or higher stakes than a Floyd Mayweather fight. And unlike recent shutout recipients Robert Guerrero and Saul Alvarez, Ortiz wasn't dominated in a wide decision loss. And his actions directly led to one of the greatest post-fight spectacles in recent years, Larry Merchant's "If were fifty years younger" proclamation. Looking back, Mayweather-Ortiz was actually pretty awesome!
Collazo is somewhere on the wrong side of his prime. The last remotely credible opponent he faced was Freddy Hernandez more than two years ago, and he lost a wide decision. That's the same Hernandez who was one-punch knocked out in the first round in the highlight of Andre Berto's career. The best case I can see to make for Collazo against Ortiz is that he's never been confused for an escaped mental patient, while Victor's ring persona and essence screams for a straitjacket and four padded walls. Going beyond this very surface level analysis-Collazo is old, Ortiz is insane-seems an unnecessary effort. I'm no longer watching Ortiz to scout his fighting technique or predict future matchups. I'm here for the lunacy. I'm here for the unpredictable. I'm here to see people get knocked down, get up again, and they're never gonna keep them down. I'm here to listen to comically delusional post-fight interviews. I'm here because I don't know if I'm going to get Corralles-Castillo or Fan Man, but I'm know I'm going to see something that makes me call somebody and say "Dude! Did you see that? Ho. Lee. Sh----"
If boxing is about sport and competition and becoming the best, Victor Ortiz' prospects, once rosy, now seem dubious. If it's about machismo and badassery, Ortiz is but a maple sapling in a forest of giant sequoias. But if you rate the sport and its' fighters on pure entertainment, Ortiz is the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, one-hundred feet tall and lined with Swarovski crystals, a towering beacon shining brightest in the night sky.