What does redemption feel like? What does it taste like, what does it smell like, and just how sweet can it be?
Former WBC welterweight champion Victor Ortiz would like to answer all of these questions and then some in his quest to redeem himself from a knockout loss to Floyd Mayweather in September of last year, and gets his first opportunity towards the path of redemption this Saturday as the main event of a Showtime card live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
Ortiz will be facing Riverside, California’s Josesito Lopez, a career lightweight whose last six tussles occurred in the light-welterweight division, and Lopez makes his 147 debut against Ortiz in what is thought of, and was actually officially announced last week by Golden Boy Promotions as a prelude to a Mexican Independence Day showdown with Mexico’s Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
“I personally do not like to make fights happen if we know there is a fighter already fighting before, but obviously depending on who wins June 23, we have already plans in place for a very strong card on September 15,” said Golden Boy Promotions head Oscar De La Hoya last week on a media conference call.
The road to redemption will not be an easy one for Ortiz, as most look at Lopez as a gifted, heart-filled yet limited fighter whom he should beat, then after Lopez he is expected to make his debut in the middleweight division and challenge the undefeated Kid Cinnamon for his WBC belt on the very date that Canelo’s home country proudly celebrates a historic day in their history.
It seems that what would have been an overlooked tune-up bout for a mega showdown in the fourth quarter of the year suddenly turned into a pressure-filled, must win fight for the young Robert Garcia trained Mexican-American.
Does he sound like any of that is affecting him?
“I will definitely be holding my hands up in the end. No exceptions. No ifs, ands or buts. I will not settle for anything less than holding my hands up at the end of the match,” said Ortiz during a media workout in Ventura on Tuesday.
De La Hoya spoke on the fact that the youthfulness of both fighters shouldn’t be wasted on meaningless, journeyman type opponents, a very true concept being that most of what we see on under cards and lower level fights are fighters on their way out the door as young prospects are seeking their way in.
“Victor and Josesito are at their peaks. They could fight older guys, but this is what boxing is about.”
Lopez is a tall fighter with length, with the main disparity and reason for his under-dog status being his weight.
Make no bones about it though, ‘Josesito’, who has thus far made his name as a grind-out, inside if you must type fighter on the Southern California circuit with dozen’s of action packed fights, (which no doubt was the reason way he was chosen as a replacement for Andre Berto) will indeed be coming to fight a full 3 for 12 stanzas.
Does Ortiz know that?
“Josesito is definitely a bigger threat than Berto. He has that title shot, so he is going to come ready.”
There is a lot that can go wrong for Ortiz this Saturday, a fight that he is probably being paid six figures with a seven figure scrap just three months away, and he is hoping that everything goes right. ‘Vicious’ needs a win, and a win without any injury on his end, whether it be an extremity injury or head butt cut, to insure his September date with Kid Cinnamon takes place.
If anything, it sounds as if Ortiz has put in the necessary work.
“I had no layoff. I’m not like other boxers. I am in the gym every day. I was sparring seven, eight, rounds every other day.”
And one more thing, Victor sounds distract-less and focused heading into the downtown Los Angeles match.
“I don’t ever care what people have to say about me. I don’t focus on any of that sort of stuff.”