Victor Ortiz seemed alternately sarcastic, angry and flippant during portions of the a conference call with the media earlier this week.
As he prepares for the initial defense of his WBC welterweight belt against unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr. (41-0, 25 knockouts) in the biggest fight of his career on Sept. 17, the 24-year-old Ortiz (29-2-2, 22 KOs) is encountering more media attention than he ever has.
Much of Ortiz’s ire still lingers from his belief that he still is being defined by a sixth-round knockout loss to Marcos Maidana of more than two years ago.
Over his past six fights, Ortiz is 5-0-1 with three stoppages and a unanimous decision that dethroned previously unbeaten Andre Berto (27-1, 21 knockouts) following his 147-pound debut in April.
Below are some of Ortiz’s responses to a few of the topics raised during the call.
On the increased media attention with the big promotion of Mayweather-Ortiz:
“I don’t know what people see, and I, for one, don’t really try to figure out what they see. But I do know one thing, I know why I became world champion, and I, for sure, know that I will be world champion for many years to come.
“It’s one of those things where I’ve learned how to not care about things like that, and that’s all thanks to the media. I don’t really care.
“The media helps, and I’m not there to impress or to make something more of myself. At the end of the day, I’m still the same me. I’m going to keep working hard, and I’m going to keep winning.”
On the notion that he had trouble making the junior welterweight limit:
“I never had trouble making 140. The media, for some reason, took it out of proportion. Of course, they wrote what they felt it would be like if they were in my shoes. So whatever they felt that they needed to put out in the media, they did.
“The media is always very negative because they sit around all day long, day in and day out, and they feel sorry for themselves. They feel sorry for themselves. I mean, I’m sorry that you don’t have a life. I mean, really. I, on the other hand, was making 140 pounds, eating, six times a day, sleeping once in a while and even snacking, a snickers here and there.
“Of course, the coaches didn’t know that, but if they didn’t, they do now. Now, at 147 pounds, I play around. When I say I play around, I’m not saying that I go out and eat hamburgers and MacDonald’s every day. But I do once in a while, maybe, possibly, occasionally, without my coaches knowing, I may somehow hit on a nice burger.”
On whether his power will translate into his fight with Mayweather, as it did from 140 pounds to his 147-pound debut against Berto:
“How can you not transfer power over into another fight? It’s kind of funny to me, because if you’re born as a puncher, it kind of just happens. So as far as that goes, power will definitely carry in. I don’t really need to tell anything about the whole fighting thing, I believe that the fight on Sept. 17 will tell it all.”
On why he did not watch the premiere episode of 24/7:
“I didn’t watch the 24/7. It was just something that, I was having such a great day, that I didn’t feel like hearing a little kid [Mayweather] run his mouth. So I was just like — ah– I’d rather not. I’d rather not listen to some kind of negative stuff coming my way.
“So it was just that, and I took it for what it was, and I enjoyed my day. It was a great evening, the sunshine was coming in pretty nice, and I don’t know, I guess people watched it. Some of my friends were coming over, and they kind of watched the 24/7, and I was like, ‘alright guys, that’s cool, enjoy your time.
:I’m going to go outside. After ending [Mayweather’s] streak, I’m sure that I’ll need something to do, so that will probably be on my to-do list.”
On Mayweather’s age versus his youth:
“I really don’t know thus far. All that I really know and want is the actual Floyd Mayweather to show up. I don’t need a Mayweather that’s lost speed or lost power or lost age. He’s got that beautiful mouth of his that just never stops, so in doing so, I want the best Floyd that’s out there. My only thing is, Floyd who?
“Everything will be told on Sept. 17 when one man’s career ends, and another man’s career begins. And let me clarify for you: Victor Ortiz will begin his reign on his throne, and I’m going to bring a cane for a good friend, to make sure that his back ain’t hurting too much or something.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]