Ring Life: Victor Ortiz Recalls His First Championship
(Photo Courtesy: HBO/Will Hart)
The first one is always the sweetest. Your first love, your first car, and—if you’re as competitive as Victor Ortiz—your first win. As his fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. approaches, Victor Ortiz recalls the spectacular feeling that often accompanies ring victory.
“It was amazing,” Ortiz says of his first title. “It was what I was waiting for and working for my entire life. When you’re a young fighter you always think about that first championship when you can finally make a name for yourself and tell all of the other amateur fighters, hey, I’m a champion now.”
A championship fight can make or break career. All those months of training, dieting, and sparring sessions come down to one brief moment. “You know you go through so much in boxing from youth leagues to the intense training and it all is for this one goal of getting a belt,” adds Ortiz. “The adrenalin running through my body was like one I have never felt before. When it was over I just felt so relieved and almost in shock that it all just happened. You know as a boxer you train for months for one fight that can be as short as one round if you don’t play it right. Winning your first belt is just truly something you will never forget because at that point your mindset changes.”
Ortiz remembers his mindset going up against the brash Andre Berto. “I was going up against Andre Berto who was the heavy favorite at the time,” he says. “It went 12 rounds and I think I got him down twice, maybe three times. It was tough but I knew I had to win that fight in order to get on the map. Nobody thought I had a chance against him. He was undefeated and I was kind of coming out of nowhere. Through my training and in the weeks coming up though I knew I could beat him if I just went out there and played my game. The worst thing a boxer can do is allow for his opponent to dictate the tone of the fight. I set the tone that I was going to attack him and that I wasn’t going to down easy just because he was supposed to win.”
Like most champions, Ortiz had to stumble to find his footing. “After I lost to Maidana and everyone was questioning my heart I was pissed. I fought with a broken wrist against a good fighter and when I challenged him to a rematch and he refused I was still the one with no courage? I was the one with no balls? Well now I’m the one with the belt and I’m not giving it up to anybody.”
Floyd Mayweather and Victor Ortiz will face off on Saturday, September 17 in a 12-round fight for Ortiz’s WBC Welterweight World Title from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. STAR POWER Presents: Mayweather vs. Ortiz will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT.