Victor Ortiz Pleads Not Guilty to Felony Sexual Assault Charges
By: Jake Donovan
While his future as a pro boxer remains in doubt, Victor Ortiz continues to fight for his freedom outside the ring.
The 31-year old former welterweight titlist—who was arrested on September 24 and charged with three counts of felony sexual assault—pled not guilty during a hearing Wednesday morning at Ventura County (Calif.) Superior Court.
Having also waived his right to a prelim within 60 days of arraignment, the case will be next heard on December for early disposition.
Charges of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation and forcible anal and genital penetration by foreign object were filed on March 19 by an adult female—whose name is withheld due to Victim’s Right to Confidentiality—claiming to have been assaulted by the boxer inside an Oxnard city residence.
The matter prompted a months-long investigation by the Oxnard Police Department’s Family Protection Unit, which concluded in September that there existed sufficient grounds to file criminal charges. An arrest warrant was issued on September 23, to which Ortiz responded in surrendering to authorities one day later.
Ortiz was released on $100,000 bond, which led to false speculation that his freedom meant he could proceed with a scheduled September 30 bout versus fellow Californian and former sparring partner John Molina Jr, due to air live on FS1. The brass at Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) cleared the air the following day, announcing that Ortiz was removed from the card altogether, and that Molina Jr. would find his way onto a future show.
The filed charges were also ruled to have violated his probation, which was revoked during Wednesday’s hearing and now also assigned to the December 3 court date.
Ortiz was serving two years probation from a DUI in 2016–exactly two years prior to his aforementioned latest arrest. He pled guilty to the DUI charge, with his Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) exceeding the 0.08% limit. His plea came in exchange for the probation sentence in lieu of jail time.
Once upon a time, Ortiz (32-6-3, 25KOs) was 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.
It could very well be the final in-ring bout of his 14-year career, though his future as a free citizen remain very much up in the air. Each count comes with a maximum sentence of eight years in prison, none of which are eligible for parole prior to a minimum of 85% of prison time served.
PBC Changes Sunday’s Main Event After Victor Ortiz Charged With Sexual Assault
by: Sean Crose
“John Molina, Jr., who was scheduled to be in the main event, will be rescheduled to return to the ring soon. And former welterweight champion Victor Ortiz, who was slated to face Molina, will no longer be on the card.” So read a Wednesday press release, making it clear that Sunday’s scheduled John Molina – Victor Ortiz battle, which was to be aired live on Fox Sports 1, was cancelled. Although no specific reason was given in the press release, the cancellation comes as no surprise, as Ortiz was arrested on very serious charges of sexual assault this week in California.
Knowing that the show must go on, however, PBC and Fox have offered a replacement for the card’s main event on Sunday. To quote the press release: “Undefeated Featherweight Contender Brandon Figueroa Takes on Former Title Challenger Oscar Escandon in Main Event.” Figueroa is an undefeated up and comer, boasting a record of 16-0, with 11 knockouts to his name. Escandon, Figeroa’s 25-4 opponent, is a former Olympian from Columbia who notably lost to the very impressive Gary Russel Junior back in 2017. A victory over Escandon will help Figueroa on his rise to what he hopes is the top of the division.
As for Ortiz: he was once one of boxing’s most notable names, so much so that he faced Floyd Mayweather in a pay per view match back in 2011. The California based fighter lost that fight in extremely strange fashion, when Mayweather knocked Ortiz out after Ortiz tried to touch gloves after butting Mayweather in the head. Ortiz’ public life has been rather odd ever since. He’s appeared on Dancing With The Stars and in an Expendables film. Yet he’s also been arrested at a country concert, and has only won three of his last seven bouts. What’s more, he’s been knocked out viciously by Louis Collazo and Andre Berto respectively since the Mayweather fiasco.
Regarding Molina, the game veteran was coming in off a win over Ivan Redkach last December in California. A victory over Ortiz would, at the very least, have signaled a win over a name opponent after Molina was stopped b Terence Crawford in the 8th round back in 2016. As of press time, there was no word on who Molina would fight next. As for Ortiz, the certain is particularly uncertain.
“Bad news,” Molina said on Instagram, “the fight has officially been canceled, obviously due to uncontrollable circumstances from Team Ortiz.”
Anthony Dirrell Speaks Out On Last Saturday Night
Anthony Dirrell Speaks Out On Last Saturday Night
By: Sean Crose
Boxing once again received some negative attention last Saturday night when chaos ensued after the Andre Dirrell-Jose Uzcategui super middleweight bout in Maryland. Dirrell was sent down and out by a punch that landed after the bell. Uzcategui was disqualified, but Dirrell’s uncle and trainer, Leon Lawson Jr, sucker punched Uzcategui twice in the fight’s aftermath. He’s now being sought by Maryland police. There was also an incident, however, involving Dirrell’s sibling, Anthony, for video shows the younger Dirrell brother pushing an individual in the post-fight madness. The man who was pushed is said to have been a Maryland commissioner. Needless to say, word was out that the police were quite interested in Anthony’s actions that night, as well as his uncles’.
Anthony Dirrell himself, however, claims the police weren’t interested in him at all last weekend. “They wasn’t even looking for me,” Dirrell said over the phone. “They never interviewed me or nothing.” Dirrell even claimed that the police were rather helpful after the madness that transpired at the MGM Grand National Arena. “They escorted me to my brother’s room,” he claimed. Dirrells’ assertions coincide with those of his representative, Kira Kusky, who I had spoken with earlier in the day. “He is not in any jeopardy,” she said when I asked about a police investigation. “No, not at all.”
And so Anthony Dirrell looks clear to meet Callum Smith next September in California for the WBC world super middleweight title. There was word that the championship battle would be put off due to legal matters stemming from last Saturday, but both Dirrell and his representative assured me that wouldn’t be the case. “His next fight is still on,” Kusky said, a fact Dirrell himself reiterated when we spoke a short time later. “I don’t see how (the fight could be off),” he claimed. “Nobodies’ looking for me.” It’s clear, then, that Dirrell and his team feel it is safe to focus on the talented and undefeated Smith without being impeded by legal matters.
As for older brother, Andre – who found himself on the mat after the bell last Saturday – Dirrell claims he’s doing well. “My bother’s fine,” he said. The saga of Leon Lawson Jr, uncle and trainer, has yet to be resolved (he’s still wanted by police, after all), yet it looks like both Dirrell brothers themselves are free to carry on with their respective careers. Before the call ended I asked Anthony if he’d like to, through his perspective, go over the events at the MGM Grand National Arena. “No,” he responded. “I’m not talking about that.”