|Sharkie's Machine: Further Thoughts on Maidana vs. Ortiz
By Frank Gonzalez Jr. exclusive to Doghouse Boxing (June 30, 2009) Photo © German Villasenor
Last Saturday in Los Angeles, Jr. Welterweight prospects Marcos Maidana (26-1, 25 KO’s) and Victor Ortiz (24-2-1, 19 KO’s) battled each other for the WBA Jr. Welter Interim Title. It was an exciting fight of non stop action between two guys with similar abilities that went all of six rounds. In that fight, Ortiz knocked Maidana down three times (once in the first round and twice in the second) and Maidana, in turn, knocked Ortiz down twice, once in the first and again in the sixth round.
After Ortiz was knocked down in the sixth, he got up and was asked by the ref if he wanted to continue,
he didn’t seem interested in doing so. The ringside doctor got up on the apron and took a fast look at the cut over Ortiz right eye and that was itit was over. Maidana had won by TKO 6.
During the post fight interview, Maidana said he wanted to rest for a while because these were some hard punches he absorbed. With his Interim title, Maidana is positioned to fight the winner of the Andriy Kotelnik vs. Amir Khan Fight. Maidana had fought Kotelnik before, in his only loss (by Split Decision). He didn’t seem impressed with Khan.
Boxing is a tough sport. Anyone who steps into the ring deserves at least the respect of fans, most of whom haven’t experienced the dynamo of emotions involved in not just the combat but doing so in front of a big crowd and knowing the event is being seen by millions of people around the globe. That’s a lot of pressure. But this ain’t about making excuses. There are none.
Victor Ortiz is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and as such, enjoys the benefits of noticeably friendly treatment by HBO, who showed a ten minute documentary about the saga of the 22 year olds life before the fight, with hardly a mention of his opponent, Marcos Maidana, who probably has an equally engaging story.
Ortiz’ pro boxing story is one of a prospect that’s been fed a steady diet of soft competition, so as to build a statistical record to satisfy the promotional value of his resume. The truth is; this was Ortiz’ first ‘real fight,’ his first big test. Regardless of the details surrounding the outcome of the Maidana Fight, Ortiz did well. He scored three knockdowns during the course of six rounds in a wild fight that could have gone either way. That he “quit” the fight, has angered many fight fans. That he was part of what may have been one of the most exciting fights of this yearseems to have taken a back seat to the criticisms surrounding Ortiz’ quitting.
Experience is a huge factor. The more experience you have, the easier it is to manage the variables that make things difficult. Ortiz’ pro boxing experience was so limited, thanks to all the soft comp, that maybe he wasn’t prepared for the likes of a serious, quality fightersince he hadn’t exactly faced one before.
To blame the fighters for their shortcomings is reasonable but sometimes, it’s unfair in a system geared more towards creating stars and less concerned with merit based competition. It would be better to have a system where new pro fighters only fight against other new pro fighters until their seventh fight. After that, they should face fighters with similar records into their 14th fight, so by the time they’re at their 15th fightthey’re in top form and ready to become contenders while they’re young and in prime health. The system used today coddles fighters by setting them up against weak opponents and gives them the illusion of greatness without the real experience necessary to actually become great.
Ortiz reaction after his TKO loss reflects the truth, that he’s still just a young man unsure of his future. When Ortiz said, “As a young guy, I don’t deserve to be taking a beating like this” was most telling. He capped that off by saying he had some “thinking to do.” This kind of honesty is rare and frankly, it’s refreshing. I’m so sick of all the canned answers pro athletes serve up when interviewed these days. They always say the same crap that sounds so scripted. Ortiz said what was in his heart at a moment overloaded with emotion. When the dust settles and Ortiz decides whether boxing is the life for him or not, we’ll either see him fight againor we won’t. Time will tell.
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