Victor Ortiz had to agree to a rematch clause in order to land his September 17 fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Ortiz also says he hopes to face Manny Pacquiao in 2012, but this is the quote that most caught me off-guard:
“I don’t care about that,” the 24 year old former Kansan said. “I don’t pay attention to that. I am not one of those made champions. I didn’t get here by fighting tomato cans.
“I’m not one of those guys who were fed with a spoon like that. I have a lot of slaps in my face (from critics). This is a great chance for me.
“I plan on being a world champion for 15 years. I didn’t work so hard for this opportunity to let it a slip away,” Ortiz said.
“I am definitely going to beat Mayweather.” It’s interesting (if predictable) that there’s a rematch clause, but I have to quibble that Ortiz wasn’t fed with a spoon. Let’s be completely serious here — Ortiz was fed exactly like a “made champion,” no matter what he says he believes. And he knows it, too. It’s not like they booked him against Marcos Maidana to give him a super tough fight or make Maidana into a star, even though that’s what happened. That fight was supposed to be a co-feature that became an HBO main event after another fight fell apart. Ortiz lost to Maidana by “accident,” like James Kirkland against Nobuhiro Ishida. Both were a function of bad reads by the matchmakers and an underestimation of Ishida and Maidana. Even Ortiz’s comeback run was hand-picked beyond any doubt until they matched him with Berto, and yes, then Ortiz lived up to the hype. He himself did that. Victor Ortiz is, it appears, the fighter he was sold as being, and we all know by now that Maidana can really fight. But we’re six months away from Victor blowing a win against Lamont Peterson, too. He’s lucky to have the chance against Mayweather, even considering he earned it by beating Berto. If you want to call this “hating” Ortiz then fine, great, but it’s just the reality of his career. He’s been spoon-fed like a great many other prospects and hyped stars. That he finally made it count doesn’t mean that that’s not the case. But if Victor Ortiz thinks his fights with Jeff Resto and Vivian Harris were tough matchmaking, then great for him.