Victor Ortiz: Comeback Kid

In a time of limited opportunities, boxers never have the luxury of taking a loss. It can take months or even years for a fighter to reestablish themselves following a bad setback. Take 23 year old Victor Ortiz, who was a highly touted Golden Boy prospect featured heavily on HBO in 2009. But after an exciting TKO loss to Marcos Maidana last year, Ortiz’s marketability was tainted by questions about his heart.

After two rebuilding fights away from national TV, Ortiz returned to HBO with an easy decision win over Nate Campbell in May. This Saturday (September 18), he faces another veteran in Vivian Harris on the PPV undercard of Shane Mosley vs. Sergio Mora. A win and Ortiz keeps his position as the #1 contender for WBO titlist Timothy Bradley.

Is Victor Ortiz ready for a title shot and to stake his claim for supremacy at junior welterweight? Read on. How did this training camp go physically? And mentally where are you at for this fight compared to your others?

Victor Ortiz: Training camp has been hectic and it’s been tough. But my mentality is good, it always has been. I haven’t gone anywhere [mentally]. I know I’m in for a fight and in a good state of mind. As far as that goes, I’m ready. I’m making the weight (140 pounds) easy. With Nate Campbell he was too slow to get to you on the inside. And even now with Vivian Harris you have the speed advantage and he’s a little less durable than Campbell. Are you planning to be more aggressive or take more a boxing approach like the Campbell fight?

Ortiz: [Pauses] On that you’ll have to see September 18 and I don’t even know what to tell you on that. I listen to my coaches and whatever they have to say about that on fight night. As far as I’m concerned I’m gonna find out with you [laughs]. Wait, so your camp is going to improvise everything on fight night?

Ortiz: Nah, the coaches are always working on things. Just some things I don’t know yet because we don’t know what he’ll be up to yet. As a young fighter, you’re going to learn a lot from every single fight. Compared to last year, in what areas do you think you’ve improved the most as a fighter?

Ortiz: I’m young and this sport is different, you have to learn as you go along. You have to learn pretty fast, too. I can’t really say exactly what I’ve learned but I can tell you I have. So do you feel stronger as a fighter in terms of punching power?

Ortiz: I feel I’ve matured in many different ways. Maybe power…maybe not [laughs]. I’m not sure but I do feel strong and that definitely counts for something. On speed I think I’m ok and ready [for anyone]. Your junior welterweight division is one of the best when it comes to young talent like Timothy Bradley, Amir Khan and Devon Alexander. Is there anyone besides yourself you enjoy watching?

Ortiz: No, not anyone in particular. I actually like to sit back and watch all of the fights when they come on, no matter who it is. Under Golden Boy you’re around a lot of future Hall of Famers like Bernard Hopkins, Shane Mosley and Oscar De La Hoya. What advice did they give you after you came off that tough loss to Marcos Maidana last year?

Ortiz: They gave me their experience and [tips] on defense, but at the end of the day it was me who made my decision on what I wanted to do. I think I came back ok, y’know? For those who haven’t been in a ring, talk a little more about what you did personally to get your mind together to rebound from that loss.

Ortiz: Well, that loss never meant anything to me. I knew it wasn’t me who fought that night, so I blocked it out completely. I blocked out media and made sure to stay away from anything that had to do with you guys [laughs]. And from there I was able to bounce back. Some fighters have their career mapped out. For example, one fighter might say they want to be out the game by 30 with a certain amount of money saved up. Are you thinking that far ahead?

Ortiz: No, I’m taking it fight by fight. I know what I’m capable of doing, so right now it’s all about having fun with it. On that note, what would you say is the fight you had the most fun with?

Ortiz: I would have to say the Nate Campbell one. That was pretty fun. I thought it was funny when he tried to talk back to me in the ring. I was just smacking him saying “shut up [laughs].” That was definitely fun. What were some of the things he was saying to you?

Ortiz: He was saying I wouldn’t beat him and that I was too young. And that he was going to knock me out. I was like “shut up, you’re too old.” He kept that up the whole night. I was on the conference call you had with Vivian Harris. He was trying to goad you by saying you aren’t durable and very fragile. Are you treating this trash talk no different from Campbell?

Ortiz: Definitely, but you have to realize something. He might be an older guy but he’s still dangerous and a threat. I’m not up against a walk in the park. I’m not going to take him lightly, not at all. He wants what I have and on Saturday we’ll see. I’ve prepared very hard for this. You’ve have three wins, two being stoppages, since the Maidana fight. Are you ready for a shot at one of the titlists?

Ortiz: Yeah, I’m ready for that shot now! It really doesn’t matter who, but I am the #1 contender for [Timothy Bradley’s] WBO belt. Before we go let the fans know what music you’re into.

Ortiz: You know that new Chris Brown song “Deuces?” That’s my jam. I got tons of artists. I love Trey Songz. Rey Fresco too, although they’re Reggae they’re pretty bad ass. Sounds like you have a few artists for potential ring entrances.

Ortiz: That would be awesome! I need to look into that. Good luck to you on September 18.

Ortiz: I appreciate that man, take care.

The Shane Mosley vs. Sergio Mora PPV will take place on September 18 at 9PM ET. Victor Ortiz vs. Vivian Harris will be accompanied on the undercard by Saul Alvarez vs. Carlos Baldomir.

Ismael AbduSalaam is a senior staff writer for and the creator ofBeats, Boxing and Mayhem, a website specializing in boxing and Hip-Hop coverage.