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The Tragedy of Victor “Vicious” Ortiz

Victor Ortiz Ortiz vs. Campbell Ortiz-CampbellBy Francisco Hernandez: On May 15, at New York, Victor Ortiz will fight Nate Campbell.

On March 27, a week from now, Marcos Maidana will fight against Victor Cayo for the WBA interim junior welterweight title. In Nate Campbell, Ortiz will be facing his next real test after having failed the first one against his nemesis Maidana.

The tragedy of Victor Ortiz is not having a good trainer. Just before the fight with Maidana, Ortiz made comments about how he had fired his trainers Robert Garcia and Garcia senior. Ortiz expressed how the Garcias constantly humiliated him through derogatory speech. Unfortunately Victor didn’t go far enough in improving his situation; Ortiz made the mistake of replacing the Garcias with Robert’s brother Danny Garcia and Mario Aguiniga. If Victor Ortiz wants to realize his full potential he must let the Garcias go for good as boxing trainers and find someone who really knows something about the sweet science.

Victor Ortiz is a gem in the rough, he has great potential. Ortiz has natural knockout power, he was born with it. In boxing there are two ways to knockout your opponent: through technique and through natural knockout power. A fighter can learn technique but knockout power is a thing of nature, you either have it or you don’t. The most dangerous fighters are the ones who have the boxing technique to go along with their natural knockout power, two notable examples: Alexis Arguello and Carlos Zarate. Intelligence combined with power makes extraordinary fighters.

That Ortiz has natural power has been demonstrated in all his fights. In his fight with Maidana, Ortiz was able to demonstrate it by knocking Maidana down 3 times. In that fight Ortiz also exposed his lack of skills as a boxer and the sad condition of his trainers in the corner. The excuse of Ortiz’s trainers was that the young fighter didn’t follow the fight plan. The result was as most know; Ortiz quitted the fight in the sixth round.

Let’s examine the excuse that Ortiz’s trainers made, that Ortiz didn’t box Maidana, instead he opted to trade punches with him. This excuse is nonsense, but even some of the commentators of the fight repeated this fallacy. Roger Mayweather is not far from the truth when he criticizes many of these commentators for not knowing much about boxing. The truth is that Victor’s instincts were right in fighting and trading with Maidana on the inside. Maidana is a slugger and needs room to leverage his punches; he has no skills on the inside. Maidana is incapable of throwing an inside punch; he has no power on the inside. This is why Ortiz was so effective on the inside and was able to score three knockdowns in the first two rounds of the fight.

Maidana’s corner reacted with intelligent strategy, they knew their fighter was limited on the inside, they knew he was powerless there, therefore they instructed Maidana to tie up Ortiz and not let him fight on the inside. Ortiz should have wrestled with Maidana and kept the fight in close, Ortiz would have easily knocked out Maidana this way. Yet Victor’s trainers told him to box from the outside, the most flawed strategy, since Victor really doesn’t know how to box, and Maidana is most dangerous when he has full leverage. Victor was confused; he didn’t know whether to follow his instincts or to follow his corner’s instructions. Caught in this inner conflict, Victor was paralyzed and wilted under Maidana’s pressure. I say pressure and not punch, because Maidana didn’t land most of his punches in the last round, if he landed any they were not solid punches. Victor lost the fight because he was paralyzed with confusion. Victor’s fighter instincts were pointing to victory; his corner was promoting suicide.

After the fight Victor was still bewildered. Ortiz’s trainers and the commentators made him believe that he was stopped because he didn’t box from the outside. Ortiz now believes that it was he who made the mistake in strategy; he now distrusts his fighting instincts. On the contrary, Victor’s instincts were not wrong; fighting on the inside was the key to victory. It was only when he tried to fight on the outside -standing straight up- that he lost ground to the slugger Maidana.

The tragedy of Victor Ortiz is that he has great potential but believes that his instinct is untrustworthy. It was not his instinct that failed Ortiz, it was his corner. Victor needs desperately to find the right trainer, an intelligent trainer, who can teach him the fine art of boxing. He can continue his relationship with the Garcias as a foster family and friend, but he cannot put his boxing future in their hands. He will do so at his own risk.

This fifteenth of May, Victor Ortiz will face his next big test against Nate Campbell -an old, faded fighter. Yet Campbell still has the reputation of being a dangerous opponent for any prospect, because he knows how to intimidate mentally the younger fighters. Victor should be able to win easily and score a knockout over Campbell. After this fight Victor should seriously consider finding a capable trainer. Victor Ortiz has the potential of becoming another Arguello or another Zarate, but not with the Garcias.

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