Five Hard Lessons Learned by Victor Ortiz Last Night
"We just saw a moment in a young fighter's career that could define his career. Ortiz was dropped, cut, exhausted, faced with an opponent who refused to lose, and in a moment of weakness gave up." -Max Kellerman, HBO Boxing
1. The hype of a headline fight can be a killer.
After his destruction at the hands of a less skilled, but more determined, fighter in Marcos Maidana, in last night's junior welterweight fight for the interim WBA belt, Ortiz admitted that the huge crowd assembled at the Staples arena to watch his first headline fight did get to him.
In the excitement of the moment, he forgot the basic defensive skills of keeping his hands up and protecting himself while throwing his own shots. The distraction of the hype also played a part in lessons two and three.
2. The jab can't be your best friend if you don't use it.
Ortiz used his jab a few times at the start of round one, but as soon as the fight heated up, he got drawn straight into a brawl and forgot the jab entirely.
Considering that his opponent had very heavy hands but limited boxing skills, going toe-to-toe wasn't the best plan of action for the highly skilled Ortiz, who should have been setting up his punches from the outside.
3. Going for the knockout and forgetting your game plan isn't a good idea.
Ortiz correctly blamed himself rather than his team for his own destruction. As can happen when a fighter wants to impress a crowd, Ortiz kept in the back of his mind throughout the training camp that he would be able to knock out Maidana when the time came.
Though his trainer yelled at him between rounds to remember the boxing skills they practiced in training camp, Ortiz continued to leave himself open in his quest to lay Maidana out.
4. When a soldier meets another soldier, the winner will be the one who leaves it all out in the ring.
Ortiz got his first taste of Maidana's mettle when Maidana, after being dropped in the first round, immediately got up and knocked Ortiz down. Ortiz has the warrior mentality that has given him the edge over other fighters—when he is hit hard, he goes on the attack rather than backing away. When he is put down, he gets up off the canvas to win the fight.
Maidana mirrored these same qualities back to Ortiz, and thus exposed Ortiz' weakness—his unwillingness to leave it all in the ring, no matter what. When he got up after Maidana floored him in the sixth round, he considered the blood flowing from a cut on his right eye, the swelling under his left eye, and shook his head no before the referee stopped the contest.
As he said after the fight, "I'm not going to go out on my back." Max Kellerman noted that boxing is a sport that requires more than is really reasonable, as the true champions are willing to take any and all risks to win a fight.
5. Boxing hurts.
After the fight, Ortiz stated, "I'm young, but I don't think I deserve to be beaten up like this." The truth is, that's the sport of boxing, and though he enjoys beating other men senseless, Ortiz just didn't like the rude introduction to what boxing looks like from the loser's perspective.
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