Saturday night, I had the honor of sitting in the ringside media section of Staples Center for the now-shocking upset fight of Josesito Lopez defeating Victor Ortiz. Ortiz quit while sitting on his stool after the ninth round.
Staples Center is usually packed whenever an exciting Mexican or Mexican-American star fights mainly because of the huge Mexican and Mexican-American community of LA coming out to the fights. However, this past Saturday was probably the first time I have ever seen huge seating sections empty and even closed off.
The total attendance for the fight, which was later announced, was 7,865. That's about 11,000 people shy of a stadium sellout.
Most casual fight fans know of Victor Ortiz from his last fight with the top pound-for-pound champion, Floyd Mayweather Jr, in which Mayweather controversially knocked out Ortiz with a legal sucker punch seen, heard and talked about all around the world.
I was ringside at that fight as well, and I remember how impressed I was with how well Mayweather dominated Ortiz and proved he was simply on a different level.
Mayweather walked Ortiz down, countered and broke him down in that fight so much so that Ortiz began to get so desperate that he resorted to headbutting.
Many discredited Mayweather for winning the way he did in the Ortiz fight, but what I saw that night was that Money May was the greatest boxer in the game, and most, if not all, young, hungry, primed fighters would be outclassed and humiliated by him.
However, Saturday night proved something else. Ortiz is not mentally strong and may have never really fully recovered psychologically from the Marcos Maidana knockout loss that caused many to write him off.
Ortiz, of course, bounced back really big by upsetting an undefeated Andre Berto in a fight of the year performance. Berto, pretty much, was overlooking Ortiz for a possible big-money payday with Mayweather, underestimating Ortiz.
This was pretty much the same situation Saturday night. Ortiz was pretty much overlooking Lopez. Underestimating Lopez, his eyes were set on the big-money Saul "Canelo" Alvarez fight in September.
As soon as the crowd realized Ortiz was not coming out for the 10th round, they began to start cheering for Lopez and booing Ortiz for quitting.
Of course, the journalists sitting around me were all excited as well. They were happy and excited about Lopez pulling off the shocking upset. One journalist asked me who hits harder, Mayweather or Lopez?
I thought right away that it must be Lopez since he broke Ortiz's jaw and made him quit. He had his knees buckling, trying to hold on and running to survive. On the other hand, Mayweather knocked Ortiz down but only by two sucker punches.
Another journalist even said he felt Ortiz got shots in against Mayweather, and had he opened up more, he'd be more successful.
I don't think Ortiz really got good clean shots on Mayweather, but I do feel he was respecting Mayweather way too much and was too hesitant to even open up in their fight.
Mentally, I think Ortiz was already defeated by Mayweather before their fight even started, and that prevented him from fighting his type of fight, making Mayweather look exceptionally well.
More so, Saturday night against Lopez, once Ortiz was in trouble, he had the look on his face that he no longer wanted to do this for a living. The way he ran for his life to survive suggested that some deep-seated fear or mental issues may be preventing him from giving his all inside the ring.
In all honesty, I felt sorry for Ortiz. His body language told me he did not want to even be doing this tonight.
Despite how many of the same fans in attendance, and at home, watching via social media and fight forums initially cheered for Victor Ortiz and then ended up booing and bashing him for quitting, the fight was one hell of a fight. It does take two to make that happen.
Both Ortiz and Lopez traded bombs that would have put lesser fighters to sleep. Both of these warriors gave us a great nine rounds, and that's what we, the fight fans and media, should be thankful for.
Ortiz appears to need to work out his psychological demons before stepping into that ring again. If he's mentally strong and focused, then he can be a beast and live up to his moniker: "Vicious."
Lopez, on the other hand, has to have his own Rocky kind of story, as he even talked about this in the post-fight news conference to the media. Hopefully, Golden Boy Promotions can reward Lopez for his great performance and win Saturday by giving him bigger fights, and of course, the title shot.
Then, of course, Mayweather, who is now currently in prison, may need some extra time to get his body in top shape to fight again. If the reports of him complaining about how his prison time is jeopardizing his fight career are true, then he should start training camp immediately following his release.
Mayweather looked dominant against Ortiz in a performance that, in my eyes, has lost a bit of stock now because of how Josesito Lopez brutally battered Ortiz, resulting in a broken-jaw TKO.
Mayweather also struggled for several rounds against a very game Miguel Cotto, getting his nose bloodied and cuts on his never-before-seen-blemished pretty boy face.
Mayweather may never be the same as he was in his prime, but no one, at the age of 35 and doing prison time, is being helped as a fighter...except maybe Bernard Hopkins.
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