COMMENTARY | The next time you see Victor Ortiz (29-4-2, 22 KOs) in competition, you'll see him facing the likes of Kourtney Kardashian and Honey Boo Boo's Mama June instead of welterweight elite like Floyd Mayweather or hard-nosed battlers like Josesito Lopez.
According to the New York Daily News, the 26-year-old former world title challenger has signed on to be a part of the upcoming Dancing with the Stars roster on ABC, alongside reality show no-talents and B and C-level celebs looking to revamp stagnant careers.
The news comes just a couple of days after Ortiz debuted his celebrity endorsement of VO by Facelube, a lotion/man-oil that likely produced more chuckles than buys with an unintentionally funny commercial.
The Dancing with the Stars move, along with efforts to beef up his endorsement portfolio, also confirm what many have felt all along about the talented fighter-That he'd rather be famous without fighting than famous through fighting.
Just about eight months after having his jaw broken in a tune-up bout with Josesito Lopez, Ortiz has reportedly had difficulty in rehabbing his injuries and, maybe, is displaying a wavering interest in moving back into full-time boxer status. The beating taken during what was supposed to be a prelude to a shot at WBC junior middleweight champ, Saul Alvarez, could possibly have put the last nail in Ortiz's professional coffin and may have convinced the 20-something fighter that his heart and soul were just not made for the cruelest of all sports.
The Lopez loss also came about nine months after his controversial TKO 4 loss to Floyd Mayweather in September of 2011. The ugly, foul-filled contest saw Ortiz intentionally headbutt Mayweather prior to being knocked out with a borderline illegal shot while referee Joe Cortez worked to restore order to the mess.
But while the knockout punch made all the headlines, the real story may have been Ortiz's mental implosion during the biggest fight of his career and the emotional collapse that may have lead to the series of flagrant fouls.
The Mayweather debacle may have been the biggest internal collapse of his career, but it was hardly the first.
Back in 2009, Ortiz, in what was supposed to be an HBO showcase appearance, was stopped in six rounds in a classic war with heavy-handed Argentine brawler, Marcos Maidana for the interim WBA junior welterweight title. The back-and-forth battle showed both fighters picking themselves up from knockdowns and displaying tremendous amounts of real courage. However, the biggest take-away from the contest was Ortiz's decision to call an end to his own battle, followed by a damning post-fight interview where he talked about not wanting to go out on his shield and not needing to take such punishment.
It was a perfectly reasonable comment to make for anyone-except a main stage professional fighter.
The post-fight statement lead to a long battle to rebuild Ortiz's professional image, an achievement nearly accomplished after an exciting, decisive win over defending WBC welterweight titlist, Andre Berto in April of 2011.
But back to back early losses in major fights have killed that momentum and his self-ended ninth round RTD loss to Lopez seems to have brought Ortiz right back to where he was after the Maidana loss.
Once again, the skepticism regarding his in-ring character and heart has emerged. But, this time, Ortiz apparently feels as though he has other options. If Hollywood has room for a charismatic fighter-type with an incomplete prizefighting resume, we may never see Ortiz back in the ring again.
But bigger names have failed at grander crossovers, notably Floyd Mayweather, who also did a stint on Dancing with the Stars. This attempted expansion of the Ortiz brand may take the talented and troubled fighter right back into the ring-and right back to face whatever demons have kept him from living up to his full potential.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
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