WBC welterweight beltholder Victor Ortiz will defend his belt against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in what amounts to the biggest fight of his career in an HBO Pay Per View televised event from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Sept. 17.
As part of the promotion of the fight, the 24-year-old Ortiz (29-2-2, 22 knockouts) has made appearances on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight” alongside his idol, Oscar De La Hoya, and been subject to more media scrutiny than he has during his entire lifetime.
But Ortiz said that the attention has not changed him, that he still engages in “the sins of boxing,” such as eating Snickers’ bars as well as his hobbies of snowboarding and wave surfing.
Ortiz still is in awe of De La Hoya, whom he loves “like a big brother,” who is “somebody whose advice I’m willing to listen to,” and whose autograph he solicited during a recent conference call.
When Ortiz dethroned Andre Berto (28-1, 22 KOs) as WBC beltholder by unanimous decision in April, he did not make a big deal of it.
“I’m not a big partier or a big celebrater,” said ortiz of Berto, who dethroned Jan Zaveck (31-2, 18 KOs) as IBF beltholder by fifth-round knockout on Saturday night.
“After I won the fight against Andre Berto, I went out and I had a burger and french fries with my friends.”
De La Hoya has fought and lost to the 34-year-old Mayweather (41-0, 25 KOs), and has confidence in Ortiz.
“Obviously, I have been in there with Floyd Mayweather Jr. I know what works for him and I know what doesn’t work for him. So Victor’s a smart guy and so he’s going to do whatever he has to do to win this fight,” said De La Hoya.
“We have talked, and I can give Victor tips or advice or whatever you want to call it. Put it this way, there’s no doubt in my mind that Victor Ortiz is going to win. Victor has fast moves and he moves like a cat.”
Ortiz said that he is unfazed, in particular, by the ever-present cameras of HBO, whose staff is filming the docu-drama series 24/7.
“The crews are actually great, you know? The guys are super-awesome. I’ve actually done a cookout for them a couple of times. So we hang out like friends do, you know. We get along so well,” said Ortiz.
“We’ve bonded with each other from Day One, you know. Them being around with the cameras is just them holding Cameras. It’s nothing more and nothing less. I enjoy it. I’m not a bitter person and I can definitely, surely appreciate an opportunity like this.”
As a fighter whose parents were Mexican immigrants, Ortiz said that he tries to be a role model for youth.
“I would hope that I give off a positive influence as far as that goes. I can’t really speak for anybody else,” said Ortiz, who also works with a Big Brothers organization.
“I just go in there well-prepared and do what my coaches tell me to do and put it out there. As far as the Mexican heritage, love me or hate me, that’s all that I’ve got to say.”
And if Ortiz is at all negatively affected by any of the extra hype and media attention brought on by facing Mayweather, so far, he has not shown it.
“Those 41 fighters that Floyd Mayweather has fought, none of them were me,” said Ortiz. “So somebody is in trouble.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com