Former welterweight titleholder Victor Ortiz is hospitalized and awaiting surgery at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Sunday after having suffered a broken jaw in Saturday night’s Showtime-televised ninth-round knockout loss to Josesito Lopez at The Staples Center, both his manager and promoter informed RingTV.com.
“It’s a broken jaw and he was bleeding internally inside of his mouth, so they have to go in there and repair the breaks,” manager Rolando Arellano said of Ortiz (29-4-2, 22 knockouts), whose setback against Lopez (29-4, 18 KOs) was considered an upset. “Victor’s in good spirits, other than his mouth. He’s on medication.”
Trainer, Danny Garcia, said that the operation is scheduled for 6 p.m. PT.
In line to face Mexican WBC junior middleweight beltholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (40-0-1, 29 KOs) on Showtime Pay Per View had he beaten Lopez, Ortiz was shown on television cameras splitting streams of blood from his mouth both in the corner directly after the fight in the locker room long after.
“This wasn’t just a broke jaw. This was internal and heavy bleeding inside of Victor’s mouth, is what the doctor told me,” said Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer.
“The doctor told me that this was very dangerous and that it could lead to bleeding out. I’m not a doctor, and I don’t know what that means, but the ringside physician told me that.”
SCHAEFER SAYS ORTIZ IS NO QUITTER
Schaefer also took exception to reports that appear to have labeled Ortiz a quitter stemming from a sixth-round knockout loss to Marcos Maidana that took place nearly three years years earlier to the day in the same arena.
“Those people are criticizing Victor are guys who never took the punch and never were involved in anything like boxing. To call any fighter a quitter or something like that, I really have zero tolerance for that. You have to respect any fighter who goes into the ring and battles, toe-to-toe, like Victor does,” said Schaefer.
“I mean, he takes punches and dishes out punches, that’s is no quitter. That is no coward. Those are really disgusting remarks from any writer who labels Victor as a quitter or as a coward. Victor deserves our respect. I can assure you that Victor Ortiz has earned my complete and utmost respect.”
SCHAEFER BLAMES ORTIZ’S CORNER, TRAINER DANNY GARCIA DISCUSSES STOPPAGE
During his further defense of Ortiz, who scored two knockdowns against three for Maidana during their clash on June 27 of 2009, Schaefer directed blame toward the fighter’s trainer.
“When Victor fought Maidana, he couldn’t see any more. One of his eyes was swollen bigger than a tennis ball. At the end of the day, it’s about health also. So I would have to say that in the case of Maidana, and, in the case of last night, that I was disappointed in Victor’s corner,” said Schaefer.
“The corner needs to know when to protect the fighter. The corner should have taken initiative and said, ‘obviously, this is it. You can not fight on with one eye or a broken jaw.’ In situations like that, the corner has got to do something. They should have stepped in and said, ‘this is it.’”
Garcia expressed his thoughts on the stoppage.
“In the fifth or sixth round, he got a good shot to the chin. He told me that ‘I think that I got a good shot in the chin,’ and ‘he hurt me pretty good.’ He said that he thought that his jaw was broken,’” said Garcia.
“I told him, ‘let’s try a couple of rounds more, and then we will see what happens.’ So I told him to jab him a lot and to move around a little more. He was doing alright, and then he got to the point where he could not continue. It was broken very, very bad.”
Garcia also shed light on the conversation between himself and Ortiz following the ninth round.
“When I saw that he was in pain at the end of the ninth round, I was pretty sure that I was going to stop the fight,” said Garcia. “I even told him, ‘no, no, you can not go anymore. So let’s stop it right now. Actually, I participated in stopping the fight.”
Should the fight have been stopped sooner?
“Maybe it would have been a little bit better if we had stopped it a couple of rounds before. But, we tried for a couple of rounds more, and it was even worse,” said Garcia.”But maybe it would have been a little better a couple of rounds before. But there is nothing that we can do now.”
SCHAEFER: ORTIZ IS ONE OF BOXING’S MOST EXCITING FIGHTERS
Ortiz suffered the first loss of his career when he was disqualified for an illegal punch against Corey Alacron in 2005.
Then again, Ortiz’s bouts are rarely without drama.
In April of last year, Ortiz dethroned Andre Berto by close unanimous decision for the WBC belt in a clash that featured two knockdowns by each fighter. But in September of last year, Ortiz, in turn, was dethroned via fourth-round knockout loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The Mayweather bout ended in controversy. For at the moment when Mayweather threw the two-punch combination that resulted in the knockout, Ortiz’s hands were down at his sides after attempting to apologize — in the form of a hug — to Mayweather for one of the headbutts.
With referee Joe Cortez nearby, Mayweather took advantage of the opening and nailed Ortiz first with a jarring left hook and then a powerful, straight right hand that sent the ex-titleholder sprawling to his back. Ortiz rolled over and tried to get up, but failed to rise in time to beat Cortez’s 10-count.
Prior to facing Mayweather, Ortiz scored knockdowns against his rivals in all but two or three of his professional fights.
“Victor Ortiz is a helluva fighter and entertains the fight fans,” said Schaefer. “Anyone who criticizes him should look into the mirrior, because they do not know what it is to be in a fight like Victor does.”
One bout that did not contain any knockdowns was a first-round technical draw against Marvin Cordova in January of 2007 that appeared on ShoBox. Also, Mike Arnaoutis did not hit the canvas during his second round knockout loss to Ortiz in March of 2009.
Ortiz scored a third-round knockdown in his next fight, a seventh-round stoppage of Antonio Diaz in Dec. of 2009.
Ortiz’s next two victories, by 10th-round knockout and unanimous decision, respectively, over Hector Alatore and ex-titleholder Nate Campbell featured knockdowns in the 10th and first rounds in February and May of 2010.
Next, there was a third-round knockout of former beltholder Vivian Harris that featured three knockdowns in September of 2010, and a draw with Lamont Peterson, whom Ortiz dropped twice in the third round in December of 2010.
“This is a sport and it’s entertainment, and I think that there has been nobody better than Victor Ortiz who knows how to entertain the crowd and to give it his all,” said Schaefer.
“Victor is the one who is going to go toe-to-toe and throw his punches and be exciting. He’s one of the most exciting fighters in the sport.”
Photo by Tom Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com