By: Jake Donovan
While currently out on bail stemming from his latest arrest, there is nothing that legally prevents Victor Ortiz from proceeding with Sunday’s scheduled clash versus John Molina Jr.
It hardly means that the show should go on.
The September 30 edition of PBC on FS1—which takes place at Citizens Business Bank Arena—has now gained national attention, but for all the wrong reasons. One half of its headlining act, Ortiz was arrested Tuesday afternoon on three counts of felony sexual assault—forcible rape, forcible oral copulation and forcible anal and genital penetration by foreign object.
Ortiz surrendered to authorities on Tuesday in response to an arrest warrant issued by the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office one day prior, stemming from charges filed on March 19.
Ventura County Superior Court Judge Gilbert A. Romero set bail at $100,000, which was posted on behalf of the former welterweight titlist who is due to return VCSC on October 10, according to the filed docket.
A months-long criminal investigation was conducted by the Oxnard Police Department’s Family Protection Unit (FPU), who took over the case shortly after the incident was reported on March 19. According to the police report filed with Oxnard PD, an adult female—whose name has been withheld as per Calfornia Penal Code 293 (Notice of Victim’s Right To Confidentiality)—claimed to have been sexually assaulted inside an Oxnard city residence.
Ortiz was identified as the suspect, and now faces three felony charges that—if found guilty—each carry a maximum sentence of eight years in state prison, none of which are eligible for parole prior to a minimum of 85% of prison time served.
The incident is hardly the first time Ortiz (32-6-3, 25KOs) has run afoul of the law, although most of his sordid past has been limited to an array of traffic violations. The most serious charges the California boxer—by way of Garden City, Kansas—has faced came in separate arrests in 2015 (suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon) and 2016 (DUI), both of which resulted in probation sentences.
For the moment, Ortiz will be permitted to soldier on in the ring as Premier Boxing Champions brass have yet to give any indication in a lineup change. Should the show remain intact, Ortiz will collide with Molina (30-7, 24KOs) in a battle of friends and former sparring partners both of whom have seen better days.
Ortiz was once viewed as a rising star to watch, but has remained best-known—in the ring, at least—for several stoppage losses. His June ’09 loss to Marcos Maidana aired live on HBO, complete with an on-air post-fight interview that left Ortiz wondering if even wanted to continue as a boxer.
It took nearly two years to restore his image, his April ’11 off-the-canvas points win over Andre Berto to win a welterweight title paying homage to the old ‘winning cures many things’ adage. It certainly didn’t hurt that the boxers traded knockdowns and a lot punches in their Fight of the Year-level slugfest.
Ortiz’ title reign was short-lived, although it produced his most high-profile bout to date—an infamous 4th round knockout loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Their Sept. ’11 Pay-Per-View headliner in Las Vegas was riddled in controversy, with Ortiz flirting with disqualification after a deliberate headbutt cost him a point on the scorecards and ultimately his cool in the ring. The oft-aloof boxer repeatedly apologized to Mayweather immediately following the incident, to the point of failing to acknowledge that action had resumed as he was subsequently knocked out by a Mayweather combination.
The loss was the first of three straight stoppage defeats. His 9th round loss to Josesito Lopez nine months later—in which Ortiz was unable to continue after suffering a broken jaw earlier in the bout and sustained serious punishment in the later rounds—ruined laid plans for a Sept. ’12 showdown with then-unbeaten 154-pound titlist Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
Not even a 15-month ring break—which included a stint on Dancing With the Stars and filming for his acting debut in “The Expendables 3”—was enough to turn things around, as his comeback ended in disaster when former titlist Luis Collazo flattened him in the 2nd round of their Jan. ’14 clash on a New York City card staged during Super Bowl week.
He’s since managed a 3-1-1 run in his last five starts. The non-wins came against his more relevant competition along that stretch, a knockout loss to Berto in their April ’16 rematch and a 12-round draw with fellow former titlist Devon Alexander in his most recent bout this past February, both of which aired live in prime time on Fox TV.
Much was made of his pairing with Molina from the moment the fight was announced. Molina has been out of the ring since December—when he climbed off the deck to stop Ivan Redkach in four rounds—and moves up to welterweight after a career largely spent in the 135- and 140-pound divisions.
Still, the matchup has been met with favorable response given the all-action style of both boxers. Molina—who is just 3-4 in his last seven starts—was lauded for his valiant-in-defeat effort versus Lucas Matthysse in their April ’14 war that was honored by Boxing Writers Association of America as the 2014 Fight of the Year.
The always likeable 35-year old Covina, Calif. Native is stuck in a hard place, as he has the right to extend his career as he sees fit and thus shouldn’t lose an opportunity to get paid this Sunday.
Likewise, Ortiz is certainly due his day in a court of law—where he will be presumed innocent until proven guilty. His current freedom, however, doesn’t need to mean a final solution to the concern of keeping Molina’s fight plans alive.
With news of Ortiz’ arrest coming just hours after disgraced actor-comedian Bill Cosby being sentenced to 3-10 years for aggravated indecent assault, boxing—for a change—needs to put its best foot forward, especially in light of today’s political climate.