Friday, August 12, 2022  |



Ortiz bounces back from Maidana loss


CHICAGO – This time, Victor Ortiz was all smiles after his fight.

The 22-year-old from Oxnard, Calif., showed us how beautifully and effectively he can box, outclassing tough veteran Antonio Diaz before the scheduled 10-round welterweight fight was stopped one second into the seventh round as a result of a cut about Diaz’s left eye on the Paulie Malignaggi-Juan Diaz undercard Saturday night at the UIC Pavilion.

It was strikingly different from his last fight, in which he inexplicably stood toe-to-toe with slugger Marcos Maidana and lost by TKO when he indicated that he had taken enough punishment. He was stung by criticism afterward that he was quitter.

On Saturday, all that was forgotten. Ortiz, as happy as could be, didn’t want to look back.

“I’ve left that fight in the past,” he said in his dressing room after the fight. “I think you learn from the past and then you move on. I grew up basically with no parents because they both left when I was kid. I had no choice but to move on. That’s all you can do.

“I don’t want to think about the past. I want to enjoy this.”

Ortiz (25-2-1, 20 knockouts) acknowledged that he was tight in the first round against Diaz (45-6-1, 27 KOs). He was so cautious that he threw only a few punches in the round.

However, he gradually relaxed and let his hands go. He scored with his jab but was most impressive with hard, accurate combinations.

Ortiz unleashed a quick four- or five-punch combo in the second round that was breathtaking, each landing with great force squarely on Diaz’s face. Then, in the third, he absorbed a wild right to his jaw and landed a perfect straight left that put Diaz down and hurt him.

Diaz showed some life in the fifth round, his relentless pressure creating some opportunities to score. A jab opened a deep cut above his left eye, though, which was the beginning of the end. He lasted one more round and one second into the seventh, after which the referee stopped the fight.

Ortiz wasn’t able to show off for as long as he might’ve liked but he made a strong statement against a good (albeit aging) opponent that he’s back.

“It felt good,” he said. “I wouldn’t say that I’m 100 percent satisfied but I threw a good jab and boxed pretty well. And I did well to get him out of there. I don’t see it as vindication [after the Maidana fight] or anything like that.

“I just go out and do the best I can. Things went well. Now I’m just going to enjoy Christmas.”

Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]