Trainer, Danny Garcia has confirmed reports that he has split with former welterweight titleholder Victor Ortiz in the wake of the boxer’s Showtime-televised ninth-round knockout loss to Josesito Lopez on June 23 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles during which Ortiz suffered a broken right jaw.
As part of an operation to stablize Ortiz’s injury, the fighter’s mouth was wired shut and both a metal plate and screws have been inserted. Although the wires have since been removed, the metal plate and screws remain during a recovery period that is expected to take up to six months, according to Ortiz’s manager, Rolando Arellano.
“It’s true. We’re not going to work together anymore. Things happen,” said Garcia. “I think that it’s the right idea. That way, he can fend for himself and see if he can hopefully do good, because I wish him the best, and I want him to be the champion again.”
A 25-year-old with a mark of 29-4-2 with 22 knockouts, Ortiz, in victory over Lopez (30-4, 23 KOs), was to face unbeaten WBC junior middleweight titleholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (40-0-1, 29 KOs) in a Showtime-televised clash on Sept. 15. But instead of Ortiz, it will be Lopez taking on Alvarez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“I think that we got to the point where he wasn’t trusing to in me, so I said to him ‘maybe it would be better if I just go by myself and hopefully, you will make it.’ I would be happy for him if he did. I told him that I hoped that he makes it. I told him, ‘I would be proud of you, because you were my first champion and I will never forget you,’” said Garcia.
“I told him, ‘you gave me a lot of good moments and a lot of good feelings.’ I told him, ‘here is my hand, I’m still your friend, and you can still come over to my house,’ and this and that. I told him, ‘my family still loves you, and I still love you too.’ But business is business. If we have to stop working together, then that’s something that we’re willing to see if we can do.”
Ortiz had been labeled a quitter stemming from a sixth-round knockout loss to Marcos Maidana that took place nearly three years years earlier to the day and in the same arena as his loss to Lopez. Ortiz scored two knockdowns against three for Maidana during their clash on June 27 of 2009.
During an interview with RingTV.com, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer was highly critical of Garcia in the wake of the loss to Lopez, after which Ortiz was shown on television cameras splitting streams of blood from his mouth both in the corner directly after the fight as well as in the locker room.
“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.’”
During the same interview, Garcia 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.”
Perhaps the highlight of the Garcia-Ortiz union came in April of last year, when 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.
“I told him after we lost the fight against Mayweather that he still could be champion, because he has all of the tools. He has a lot of potential and a lot of talent,” said Garcia.
“Victor is a guy who hits hard and he’s a good fighter I think that he can be the No. 1 fighter, pound-for-pound, because he is still young. As for me, I’m satisfied with my work with Victor, and I think that I was doing good, but there is nothing more that I can do.”
Arellano said that Ortiz will decide his next move after recovering from his injured jaw.
“There are no thoughts right now. I think that what Victor basically has to do is heal and to regroup. We want to allow him to collect his thoughts and to get balance and make sure that he’s okay, because he’s going to be off for a long time. it’s six months,” said Arellano.
“If he picks a trainer, he can be the greatest trainer in the world, but if you don’t have the chemistry and the match with the fighter, then it doesn’t work. Because of personalities and because of styles, things might not work. But what has to happen is that he should go and work with different trainers over a couple of weeks and check out their personalities and if it works it works.”
A BEASTLY VICTORY
Houston light heavyweight Cornelius “Da Beast” White (20-0, 16 KOs) came up with his fourth straight triumph with Saturday’s one-sided, unanimous decision over Russia’s Dmitry Sukhotsky (18-2, 13 KOs) that ended the loser’s winning streak of four consecutive knockout victories at the Palms Casino and Resort’s Pearl Theater in Las Vegas.
Judges Richard Ocasio, Robert Hoyle and Patricia Jarman had it for White, 120-108, 119-109, and, 118-110, respectively, as Sukhotsky lost for the first time since falling by unanimous decision to then-WBO beltholder Juergen Braehmer in December of 2009.
White now looks to challenge the likes of WBA titleholder Beibut Shumenov (13-1, 8 KOs) or IBF counterpart Tavoris Cloud (24-0, 19 KOs),who has a scheduled defense of his crown opposite former RING and WBC champion Jean Pascal (26-2-1, 16 KOs) on Aug. 11.
I am trying to show that I am ready to be a player on the elite level,” said White, who is managed by Ken Richardson and co-promoted by Dan Goossen and Antonio Leonard. “Tough challenges are what I want and I want Tavoris Cloud or Beibut Shumenov. I know I can beat them both.”
White appears to have successfully bounced back from his first-round knockout loss to Donovan George in February of last year.
“Like many before him, a loss either destroys your career or takes you to higher levels,” said Goossen. “It was Cornelius’ loss that made him better, stronger and more determined to overcome everything in the ring moving forward, which he has proved with some mighty big punchers and world-class fighters.”
White and his team are targeting a September or October return to the ring.
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Photo by Tom Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org