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Ortiz can’t handle pressure

Floyd Mayweather Jr Victor Ortiz Mayweather vs. Ortiz Mayweather-OrtizBy John F. McKenna (McJack): The now former World Boxing Council (WBC) welterweight champion Victor “Vicious” Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KO’s) who lost to new WBC champ Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. (42-0, 26 KO’s) last Saturday night by a controversial 4th round KO has never been a pressure fighter.

When Ortiz self destructed against the power punching Argentinean Marcos Maidana in June of 2009 it was thought by some that he had reached his low point. After the Maidana fight “Vicious” put together a series of wins culminating in his winning the WBC welterweight title against Andre Berto (28-1, 22 KO’s) in April. Berto was seen as a formidable opponent and was a huge favorite against Ortiz. But perhaps Berto was a tad overrated. Ortiz rose to the occasion against Andre and in a thrilling fight out muscled and out hustled him taking his WBC welterweight crown in the process.

After the win over Berto most fans and boxing analysts thought that Victor had put his demons to rest. Ortiz had arrived. Everyone, including this writer was caught up in the rags to riches story that is Victor Ortiz. You cannot help but feel for the kid who had such a troubled childhood where he was abandoned by both parents and in spite of it all rose to the pinnacle of success. It was a story you wanted to believe.

Ortiz had not only turned his life around but his boxing career as well. It was thought that the loss to Maidana was the defining moment which would propel him to pugilistic success. Unfortunately as President Kennedy once said, “Life is unfair.” Real life is not scripted by a Hollywood screen writer.

Last Saturday night against Floyd Mayweather Jr., Victor Ortiz’s demons came back to life with a vengeance. Perhaps they never really went away. Before the fight even started you had the sense that Mayweather’s mental machinations were working on Victor. At the weigh in the day before the fight Floyd put his hands around Victor’s neck as if to choke him. Ortiz did nothing. Mayweather continued to keep his hands around Victor’s throat until one of his handlers swatted Floyd’s hands away. Ortiz was now in the big leagues and it was apparent to Floyd he did not know how to cope.

It was evident that Floyd had taken Ortiz out of his game plan. When he became frustrated, Victor began to head butt. As the fight wore on with “Money” in total control, Victor launched his infamous flying head butt. Mayweather had achieved his objective in getting “Vicious” to crack mentally.

Ortiz had demonstrated previously in his career that he was prone to make mental mistakes. Floyd undoubtedly, after having studied Victor was aware that all he had to do was apply unrelenting pressure and Ortiz would ultimately crack, as he did.

What was very telling at the post fight press conference was that Ortiz was all smiles as if a great weight had been lifted from his shoulders.

What happened to Ortiz against Mayweather had happened even before the Maidana fight. In June 2005 he was disqualified in a fight he was sure to win. Victor was disqualified in a match with Corey Alarcon. Ortiz had knocked Alarcon down in the 1st round and seemed to be on his way to an easy win. Ortiz however managed to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory. For some inexplicable reason he hit Alarcon on the break after a clinch knocking him out. It was a flagrant foul for which Ortiz was disqualified.

It may be that Victor Ortiz never achieves his dream of elite fighter status. His mental missteps could keep him from achieving that goal.

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