It took former WBC Welterweight Champion Victor Ortiz nearly two years to climb back into the ring after sustaining a broken jaw during his last fight. However, it took less than six minutes to put his comeback to a screeching halt.
In a sudden turn of events during a night of boxing at Barclays Center on January 30, Brooklyn’s own Luis Collazo defended his WBA International Welterweight title by knocking out Ortiz with just seconds to go in the second round, much to the delight and shock of the predominately pro- Collazo crowd.
Once the first round began, Ortiz appeared to be the aggressor, and when the bell rang, it seemed to be anyone’s match. However, circumstances changed quickly and the second round was all Collazo as Ortiz’s aggressive strategy became rather erratic and sloppy.
After he tried to connect with a big left hook, Collazo, 32, successfully blocked it and caught Ortiz with a right hook that hit his recently healed jaw with just seven seconds left on the clock, sending him in the floor. The referee quickly called the fight. Collazo was in tears after the victory
“I knew he was going to come out aggressive. That’s just the fighter he is,” said Collazo of Ortiz.” Despite the punch that ended the match and sent the crowd home earlier than expected, Collazo reminded fans that he’s not known for that style of boxing. “I’m not really a big puncher,” he explained.
Despite Ortiz’s extended time off to rehabilitate his ailing jaw, both fighters sport impressive and comparable records. Entering the night’s main event, the Kansas-born Ortiz was 29-4, with two draws and 22 knockouts, while Collazo was 34-5 with 17 knockouts.
Although he’s just 26 years old, the bitter defeat leaves Ortiz’s future as a boxer in question. He broke his jaw during a fight against Joseito Lopez at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on June 23, 2012 and has lost three straight bouts, including an infamous defeat to Floyd Mayweather, a match in which he was knocked out while attempting to apologize for a penalty committed earlier in the fight.
Recently, Ortiz has branched out into the entertainment field, appearing as a contestant on the reality show, “Dancing with the Stars.” He’s also slated to appear in the action movie, ”The Expendables 3.”
Meanwhile, Collazo who was raised in Williamsburg and attended P.S. 290, has now won his last four matches, is back on the map and has his sights set on fighting marquee names, including the biggest star in the sport.
“I want what the fans want: Floyd Mayweather here in New York,” said the victorious southpaw, who is known as the people’s champ. “I want it here at Barclays. So Floyd , if you’re watching, let’s make it happen.” Mayweather has a perfect 45-0 record.
Although the entire upper bowl was curtained off, it was estimated that over 8,000 fans were in attendance for the event. Those in crowd included future NBA Hall of Famer and Brooklyn Net Paul Pierce, along with teammates Jason Terry and Andre Blatche.
New Yorkers were well represented throughout the evening. Before Ortiz-Collazo, Bronx native Eddie Gomez remained undefeated (16-0) by handing Florida-born Daquan Arnett his first loss (11-1) via unanimous decision. Also Staten Island’s own Marcus Brown, Emmanuel Gonzalez, from the Bronx, and another Brooklynite, Zachary Ochoa, won their respective matches via unanimous decisions.
Gary Russell Jr. also fought and remained undefeated 24-0, knocking out his opponent Miguel Tamayo in the fourth round.