Victor Ortiz out to redeem Staples nightmare across the street
Victor Ortiz says he's "not here to impress anyone but myself," a statement that was put to a severe test last June when ringside fight fans questioned his toughness and willingness to engage in a warrior-like battle when he was upset by Argentina's Marcos Rene Maidana via sixth-round TKO at Staples Center.
"There's never a place where people are happy," junior-welterweight Ortiz said Tuesday as he continued his personal redemption road by announcing he'd fight Hector Alatorre Feb. 25 across from Staples at L.A. Live's Club Nokia. "If I beat Maidana, he's a nobody. He beat me, and I'm exposed."
The Oxnard fighter (25-2-1, 20 KOs) said he thought he had proven his toughness by knocking Maidana three times in the first two rounds despite being knocked down himself and being out of sorts neurologically throughout.
"Everyone has their opinions and people handle situations differently," Ortiz said. "It was an off night. It's in the past."
Ortiz's promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, jumped in to defend his fighter after Ortiz compared his bad fight to writing one bad story.
"Like that one you wrote about me," De La Hoya said to me. He didn't specify which one.
Ortiz's "Fight Night Club" bout at Club Nokia will be televised by Fox, and will also include an apearance by unbeaten lightweight Luis Ramos Jr. of Santa Ana.
In Alatorre (16-8, 5 KOs), he'll be facing a foe he once beat as an amateur, and an underdog De La Hoya put down further by introducing him as "Victor."
"I'm not playing no chump," Alatorre said. "[Ortiz] is knocking them out of the park. I've got to come as a good pitcher with a good strategy.
"I know people look at me as a ladder, but some ladders don't go up, they go down, and they're slippery. What do I get out of [the fight]? Who's Hector Alatorre now? I want to see what I've got against him. I want doors to open for me."
Ortiz is seeking to re-open his own path to an impressive list of possible future junior-welterweight opponents, including Maidana, Amir Khan, Juan Manuel Marquez, Ricky Hatton, Timothy Bradley or Nate Campbell. A date with Campbell is likely to be next, one source close to the fighter said.
"All those fighters will be fighting, there'll be a last man standing," De La Hoya said. "Victor's in perfect position to fight all of them."
Photo: Victor Ortiz celebrates after defeating Antonio Diaz in a welterweight bout on Dec. 12, 2009. Credit: Paul Beaty, AP.