By: Marcus “Mook” Washington
Like many boxers, Victor Ortiz’ career has come full circle. Five years ago, he scored what can be easily argued as a career saving unanimous decision over Andre Berto. After the victory, the loss to Marcos Maidana had all but been forgotten and it set up a date with Floyd Mayweather Jr. That’s when it all changed for Ortiz.
Even after a 16 month layoff, it was typical Mayweather Jr. He fought with precision, always keeping proper distance between himself and Ortiz. Then the fourth round happened. Ortiz found a small measure of success, landing a few good scoring shots on Mayweather Jr. Then Ortiz did the unthinkable and purposely launched himself and head butted Mayweather Jr.
Having already been warned about head butting earlier in the round, referee Joe Cortez took a point away from Ortiz. That’s when the old boxing axiom of ‘protect yourself at all time’ reared its ugly head. After Cortez clearly told both fighters to continue, Ortiz seemed more preoccupied with apologizing to Mayweather Jr. than fighting. Mayweather Jr. took full advantage of the situation, hitting Ortiz with a classic one-two as his hands were down by his side. Just like that, the fight was over and Ortiz was never the same again.
In his next two fights, he would lose to Josesito Lopez when he suffered a broken jaw in the 9th, followed up by second round KO loss to Luis Collazo. After a two year layoff, Ortiz has come back with two victories over small time competition and now has a chance against the fighter who he upset (3-1 underdog) five years ago.
Before his fight with Ortiz, the undefeated Andre Berto was one of the most entertaining fighters in all of boxing. His free for all style was a welcome relief for fans who want action over the sweet science of the sport. Heading into the fight, the unranked Ortiz looked tailor-made for the Berto.
But styles make fights and after 4 combined knockdowns, Ortiz walked away with a unanimous decision. A 2012 rematch was scheduled and cancelled twice. First time it was a Berto shoulder injury, then second time it was because Berto failed a drug test.
Since the loss in the first fight, Berto has gone 3-3 with a loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in Floyd’s last fight (allegedly). Berto credits Virgil Hunter with somewhat of a career revival despite the Mayweather Jr. loss. Hunter is well respected in boxing circles and could serve as the orchestrator of Berto’s revival if there’s going to be one. In the meantime, Berto looks for a measure of revenge against the guy who turned his boxing career upside down.