By Jackie Kallen
Boxing fans are familiar with the Victor Ortiz story. It’s a doozy of a tale. Alcoholic father, mother who abandoned the family, raised in the foster care system. But he prevailed and became a world champion and a popular contestant on “Dancing with the Stars.”
Photo: Rich Kane – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
His career, like his life, has had it’s ups and downs. He started like a house on fire and was on a roll when he met up with Corey Alarcon in 2005. An illegal punch by Ortiz resulted in the fight ending on a DQ. He picked up the pieces and went on to continue his winning streak until he faced Marcos Rene Maidana in 2009, getting stopped in the 6th round.
Then he had the fortune (or misfortune) to land a fight with Floyd Mayweather, jr. in 2011. He fell short and got stopped in the 4th round. Nine months later, in a fight with Josesito Lopez, he suffered a broken jaw and hasn’t fought since.
On Thursday night on Fox Sports, Ortiz steps back into the ring after a year-and-a-half layoff. He’ll be at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, facing journeyman Luis Collazo. This will be a telling fight for both men. Can Ortiz regain his early steam and make another run at a world title? He is still only 26 years and his southpaw style has been a challenge for 29 of his opponents.
Collazo is a 33 year old who also fights in the southpaw style. He’s a veteran of 39 fights and is eager to show the boxing world what he still has. He’s a tough guy who has only been stopped once and that was 12 years ago. He went 12 rounds with both Andre Berto and Shane Mosley.
These do-or-die fights are usually fun to watch because both men are fighting for redemption as well as a fresh shot in their careers. A loss won’t necessarily signal the end of the line, but a win may prove to be revitalizing. Victor Ortiz will have plenty to do with his life in either case.
Since appearing on “Dancing with the Stars,” Ortiz was in Bulgaria acting in “Expendables III” alongside Sylvester Stallone and Jason Stratham. He’s been interviewed on “The Piers Morgan Show” and “Live with Kelly and Michael” and was on the show “I Love Jenni.” He is also a part of the upcoming documentary “El Boxeo.”
This triggers the question: Is Victor Ortiz’s mind still focused on boxing or is he looking beyond the squared circle? I guess we will get that answer on Thursday night.