Before a rowdy Staples Center crowd, Marcos Maidana of Argentina upset highly-regarded junior welterweight prospect Victor Ortiz in a fight that featured five knockdowns and a truly surprising ending.
Having only lost once, in his most recent fight to Andrys Kotelnik in a close split decision, Maidana was undoubtedly the toughest test of young Ortiz’ career by far. Because he was being given two huge opportunities back-to-back, Maidana vowed that he would not allow himself to lose his second chance. With the cancellation of the rematch between Chris John and Rocky Juarez due to John falling ill, the bout was left alone to give the Staples Center fans their money’s worth, and it far surpassed all expectations.
From the opening bell, Maidana jumped on top of Ortiz, swinging non-stop and catching him ducking with left hooks to the head. And Ortiz was more than willing to punch with him, landing a right hook. Maidana pulled off a left hand from the southpaw and countered with a left-right combination to the head. Trying to fire another right hand, Maidana was beaten to the punch with a right hook from Ortiz that snapped the Argentinian’s head up. Ortiz saw his chance and started pounding shots into a covering Maidana’s gloves against the ropes,
and, When Maidana came off the ropes to shoot a right hand, he walked into a hard right hook that rattled his head and dropped him to a knee.
Maidana quickly bounced back up before Referee Raul Caiz Sr. could count to one and appeared to be fine, a point made clear when he walked to Ortiz and instantly scored with a hard one-two to the mouth, dropping Ortiz flat on his back in a heap. Ortiz incredibly
stood before the count of four after the hellacious shot, but his legs weren’t under him fully. With a minute left in the round, Maidana went after Ortiz in an effort to finish him off. Rather than hold, Ortiz languished in front of Maidana and absorbed five unanswered punches. The crowd roared as Ortiz fought back, beating two left into Maidana in return. Ortiz finally held, nearly toppling over Maidana, who raked him with shots to the head and body. Ortiz came back with a left-right to the head of Maidana before the bell, but Maidana had turned a 10-8 round for Ortiz into a likely 10-9 round in his own favor.
Marching out for round two, Maidana caught Ortiz with an overhand right. Maidana then stepped in and scored with a hard right hand, followed by a body shot from the other side. But Ortiz wouldn’t be deterred, answering with a right hook as he took a straight right to the chest. Maidana added a left hook, followed by a right to the body, but Ortiz quickly answered with an uppercut and a right hook. Maidana then walked into a hard left hand across the face. Ortiz went for a sweeping left to follow and took a left hook to the face from Maidana instead. Fighting in close, Maidana went for a body shot but turned into a big right hook from Ortiz that snapped his head aside and dropped him in a heap.
Maidana rolled completely over himself but was up before a two count, walking away and looking frustrated. Maidana then dropped to his knees in front of Caiz, confirming that he had indeed been buzzed by the shot and needed a moment to recover. Caiz commanded him up at the count of seven, and Maidana obeyed. Ortiz knew he had his man hurt and went for the knockout, landing two lefts and an uppercut. He then scored with a left to the head and a body shot as Maidana pulled back into the ropes. Maidana tried fighting his way out and turned into another big right hook across the face, and again he went down to a knee instantly. Standing before the count of one, Maidana was lucky that the bell rang to end the round after Caiz finished the mandatory eight count.
Both men began the third round fighting much more reserved than before until Maidana stuffed in a hard right to the head of Ortiz. Ortiz fought back with a right hook and an uppercut that lifted Maidana’s head. Another right hook and a straight left followed as Ortiz pinned Maidana on the ropes. Ortiz landed his right hook once more in the center of the ring but took a right from Maidana on the top of the head that wobbled him. Maidana hurled a wild right to follow and caught a counter right hook across the mouth from Ortiz. In a close round, Ortiz’ activity level may have carried the day.
Half a minute into round four, Ortiz turned with his gloves down and got rocked with a big right hand over the head from Maidana. Trying to box more, Ortiz stepped in to pop Maidana with a straight left in the center of the ring. The action slowed, and the fight turned ugly as both men grappled their way through much of the round. With no form or substance to his game, Maidana simply let his hands go, stepping in and smacking Ortiz with a winging right to the head. Ortiz scored with a right hook and an uppercut as Maidana covered up on the ropes, and the round could have gone either way, though Maidana landed the biggest punch of the round.
Maidana opened up the fifth chasing Ortiz and landing a straight right that snapped his head back. Ortiz turned and responded by slamming Maidana back to the ropes with two hard left hands to the glove. A right hook around the glove and an uppercut knocked a covering Maidana’s head up. Back in the center of the ring, Maidana stepped in and ripped Ortiz with a straight right to the face. Another followed, but Maidana had to take a hard right hook to the head from Ortiz in return. Maidana kept coming forward and ate a right-left for his troubles. Still undeterred, Maidana chased a retreating Ortiz along the ropes and knocked his head up with an uppercut. Ortiz fought back with a body shot and threw a left but ate a solid left hook from Maidana that snapped his head up. The shot immediately opened up a cut on Ortiz’ right eye, yet he kept slugging it out, landing a left and taking a right from Maidana. Ortiz scored with an uppercut in return as the two went to war in the corner. Ortiz clinched and landed a left but ate a right hand across the face in return. Ortiz tried to play it safe the rest of the round and still got his head jolted back by a hard straight right. Maidana wasn’t finished, however, cornering Ortiz on the ropes and unleashing a monstrous right hand that caught Ortiz across the face and knocked his head straight back. Fortunately for Ortiz, the bell rang to end the round and the punishment.
In his corner, Ortiz was badly cut over the right eye and quickly swelling up under the left. His corner threatened to stop the fight if he didn’t show some defense, and Ortiz looked weary as he stared off into space.
And Maidana didn’t let him off the hook as he wisely walked out and blasted Ortiz with the straight right to begin round six. Ortiz pulled back into a corner and escaped only to eat an uppercut and a hard right across the face. Maidana missed with several more power shots before he caught Ortiz stumbling aside with a body shot, and that was enough to send Ortiz down onto his gloves and knees. Ortiz quickly hopped back to his feet before Caiz could count to three, but he remained hunched over a moment, clearly thinking the situation through with the time on his hands.
When Caiz called to Ortiz, he indicated with his glove that he didn’t want to continue. Caiz seemed to ignore Ortiz as he took him to the ringside doctor to have the cut examined. The doctor took a brief look at Ortiz’ eye and gave Caiz the word to stop the fight, which Caiz did without any complaint from Ortiz.
Ortiz embraced Maidana, sharing some words and smiles, and seemed all too happy to be through with the fight in spite of the loss. Maidana kept his celebration under control as he rejoiced with his team. Meanwhile, fellow Golden Boy Promotions fighter Shane Mosley came into the ring and conversed with Ortiz. Mosley didn’t appear to like what he heard from Ortiz as he shook his head and tried to dissuade the young fighter from whatever he had said. Ortiz turned away, looking dejected after suffering the second loss of his career. Then, it was the promoter’s turn as Oscar De La Hoya had his say with Ortiz briefly.
The most shocking point of the fight was not that Ortiz lost so much as it was his attitude about the loss. He talked about not deserving to take a beating like he was starting to take, which is logical enough but isn’t what boxing fans necessarily want to hear. Fans expect their fighter to try to win until unable to do so, but Ortiz opted out once he was cut and didn’t seem to have any reservations about doing so. Boxing is a hurt business, and Ortiz doesn’t seem to want to take the hurt. He’s young and will come to regret the way the fight turned out if he continues to box, but to show such a careless attitude about not just losing but opting out with a shrug at his age is a legitimate cause for concern.
As for Maidana, he is now labeled the WBA Interim Champion, which means the winner of the July fight between WBA Champion Kotelnik and Amir Khan will have to fight him or lose the belt that is on the line in their fight. Kotelnik has a close split decision win over Maidana, which is a fight that will be reviewed closer than ever before should Kotelnik upend Khan. If Khan wins and decides to go ahead with a bout against Maidana, then boxing fans can all look forward to a another firefight.
Tags: Amir Khan, Boxing, Golden Boy, Marcos Maidana, Shane Mosley, Victor Ortiz