There's been a lot of discussion regarding the Victor Ortiz-Josesito Lopez fight, in which Ortiz was ahead on all scorecards before suffering a broken jaw and asking the ref to stop the fight.
A lot of criticism has fallen on Victor Ortiz for "quitting" in the bout.
However, I haven't criticized Ortiz for quitting the fight. In fact, I think that it was the right move, and years from now we'll be looking back and saying that it was a turning point in his career.
In 2009, Victor Ortiz did quit against Marcos Maidana. He wasn't injured; he simply was dealing with an opponent whom he couldn't beat just off of his power alone. I think he was panicked, frustrated and mentally checked out that night.
Last year, he was knocked out by Floyd Mayweather in a fight in which Ortiz was actually doing pretty well. Ortiz once again melted down emotionally, unable to deal with an opponent that was difficult to hit.
But on Saturday night, Ortiz didn't meltdown or mentally check out.
He did in fact have a very serious injury. Blood was pouring out of his mouth, and it was clear that his jaw was severely damaged. Had he fought three more rounds, especially given the nature of the fight, I think there's a good chance he would've ended up with permanent, career-threatening damage.
While at the time I was upset with Ortiz, I eventually looked at the facts and came to the above conclusion. Yes, some great fighters (Ali, Pernell Whitaker) and some good ones (Arthur Abraham) have also fought with broken jaws.
I remember when Abraham fought against knockout artist Edison Miranda for seven-plus rounds with his mouth agape and massive amounts of blood pouring from it. At the time I was only 15, but I thought it was one of the most impressive feats of toughness that I'd ever witnessed in an athletic competition.
So, yes, Ortiz quit where others before him hadn't.
But let's look at the silver lining: He didn't really take any severe long-term damage. He should be able to fight again in six months, which in the grand scheme of things isn't all that bad.
He'll be able to get a rematch with Lopez, and if all goes well, he'll win. He fought the wrong fight against Lopez, smothering his punches too often. With some adjustments, I think he'll win relatively easily. And, at just 25 years old, he has a long future ahead of him and a lot of big fights to look forward to.
It's amazing how quickly boxing fans forget.
Just a year ago Ortiz battled Andre Berto in a terrific fight and showcased his toughness, coming off the floor twice to win the WBC welterweight title. If Ortiz comes out in his next fight and knocks out Lopez, then wins another world title, him quitting against Lopez the first time around will be all but forgotten.
So, at the end of the day, Victor Ortiz did quit against Josesito Lopez. But it was for good reason, and he doesn't deserve the criticism he's gotten as a result of his actions. He's still an excellent fighter, and he'll come back strong.
And just a side note to Victor if he's reading: Please stop fighting at the Staples Center; it clearly isn't your best fight venue.
Follow me on Twitter: @rlongo924
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