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The Amir Khan Option: Will Victor Ortiz Fill the Spot?

By Joe Wilson

Golden Boy Promotions put on a double-header recently with the likes of light welterweights Amir Khan vs. Paulie Malignaggi and Victor Ortiz vs. Nate Campbell. This fight card highlighted two fighters who seemed to outclass their opponents by wide margins. If these match ups were designed with the intentions of a showdown between Khan and Ortiz next; it may have worked!

Khan 23-1, 17 KO’s, has been desperately calling out WBA Light Welterweight Interim Champion Marcos Rene Maidana 28-1, 27 KO’s, who has recently been sidelined, because of a serious back injury. Khan has also made it known that he would also like to fight WBO Lightweight Interim Champion Michael Katsidis, 27-2, 22 KO’s. Khan has asked his promoter to make this happen.

It is not uncommon for a promoter to showcase two fighters in the same weight class on the same night with different opponents, hoping they both come out victorious with intentions of matching them against each other next. Example: A few years ago Golden Boy Promotions placed Oscar De La Hoya and Bernard Hopkins in a double-header. After both fighters won, they immediately started promoting a fight between each other that same night.

With Maidana being out with a back injury; Katsidis is just conversation right now, with Khan’s next most formidable opponent could easily be Victor Ortiz. There were also talks of 38 year-old, former WBC Lightweight Champion Joel Casamayor 37-4-1, 22 KO’s, fighting Khan. How could this be marketable after the one-sided wipeout of Ortiz against aged Nate Campbell, who looked very old during that fight?

It’s easy to believe, that after all final profits and loss statements was turned in at Golden Boy Promotions at the end of Bernard Hopkins vs. Roy Jones, JR., circus; any investor would look for ways to recover. Having both fighters Khan and Ortiz fighting under the Golden Boy umbrella surely lightens things up a bit.

Victor Ortiz, 27-2-1, 21 KO’s, seems to have restructured his vision in the sport of boxing. That was very much in question a few years ago, when Ortiz was knockout by Maidana. It was his first real loss. He suffered a disqualification loss early in his career, for accidentally hitting his opponent below the belt. He seems to have redeemed himself and is now focused and ready to go.

Victor Ortiz was born and raised in Garden City, Kansas, and the second of three children of Mexican immigrant parents. When he was seven years old, his mother abandoned his family for the relationship of another man. Shortly afterwards, Ortiz began boxing at Garden City Boxing Club, at the insistence of his alcoholic father, who regularly beat them following his wife’s departure.

When Ortiz turned thirteen years-old, his father abandoned them, leaving him and his two siblings in the custody of Kansas Foster Care system. He continued to box and soon won a Kansas Golden Gloves Championship.

He slipped up into drug dealing for a short time as a teenager, but quickly found out his true calling was boxing.

After Ortiz oldest sister became a legal adult, she moved to Denver, Colorado and Ortiz and his younger brother moved in with her. While training at a Salvation Army boxing center, he was noticed by former heavyweight contender Ron Lyle, who was a supervisor at the center.

In 2003, Lyle guided Ortiz to a Junior Olympics Tournament, where at age sixteen, he won the 132 lb weight division with a 5-0 record. It was there that he met Robert Garcia whose was a former IBF Featherweight Champion, and his father was Fernando Vargas’s trainer. Ortiz was given the opportunity to be trained by Garcia and later moved to Oxnard, California from Colorado.

It was at the famous Oxnard Colonial Gym in Oxnard, California were things started to get interesting for Ortiz. Garcia later became Ortiz legal guardian and soon he graduated from Pacifica High School. At seventeen, he reached the United States Olympic boxing trials at the 132 lb weight class and was eliminated in the finals.

Ortiz turned professional in 2004, at only seventeen years old. At eighteen, he became legal guardian of his little brother. He was able to establish a healthy life style for his little brother and continue his boxing career. There have never been questions, regarding his integrity and character as a young man. His biography speaks very loud.

If any man can overcome adversity, it has to be Victor Ortiz. He’s a special guy in and out of the ring. Ortiz won the Ringside National Title in 2001, and 2002. He also won the Junior Olympics in 2002. That same year he won the “New Prospect of the Year Award.” He held USBA Light Welterweight Title in 2009 and NABO Light Welterweight Title in 2008-09. Ortiz “southpaw style” poses a threat for any light welterweight who gets in the ring with him.

If Victor Ortiz and Amir Khan, who are both 23 years old and both match up very well on paper; are not headlined to fight each other the very next fight. Then, look for the two of them to meet head-to-head in the ring in the near future. These two fighters are just a couple wins away from real star power.

The only thing that will keep Golden Boy Promotions from putting these two fighters together right now; will be because one or two more good wins, their marketability changes, and possibly could become pay-per-view attractions. They are not far from that status right now.

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