By Keith Idec
UNIONDALE, New York – Cletus Seldin made the most of his huge opportunity Saturday night.
Fighting before many of his Long Island fans, Seldin dropped Roberto Ortiz twice and stopped him in the third round of a scheduled 10-round junior welterweight bout at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The bloody battle, which was broadcast by HBO as part of the Daniel Jacobs-Luis Arias undercard, represented a step up in competition for the 31-year-old Seldin.
Long Island’s Seldin, nicknamed “The Hebrew Hammer,” improved to 21-0 and scored his 17th knockout. Mexico’s Ortiz (35-2-2, 26 KOs) was knocked out for the second time in his 10-year pro career.
Seldin dropped Ortiz with a right hand that landed on the top of his head just 15 seconds into the fight. Ortiz got up and fended off Seldin until he went to one knee following a Seldin right hand.
Ortiz complained to referee Shada Murdaugh that he got hit on the back of the head before the second knockdown. He got up again, though, and was able to survive Seldin’s onslaught to reach the second round.
Seldin opened up two cuts on Ortiz’s face within the first half of the second round – one on the bridge of his nose and another over his left eye. Those cuts caused a brief break in the action in the second round, but Ortiz was allowed to continue.
An aggressive Seldin continued to land hard right hands to Ortiz’s head in the second round. Ortiz tried to keep his distance during the third round, but eventually went down to one knee and claimed Seldin hit him with an elbow.
Murdaugh sent Ortiz to his corner, where a New York State Athletic Commission physician stopped the fight due to the cut around Ortiz’s left eye, which was bleeding badly.
Prior to Saturday night, Seldin had built his 20-0 record mostly against journeymen in fights at The Paramount Theatre in Huntington, New York.
Ortiz lost his biggest fight by second-round knockout to former junior welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse (38-4, 35 KOs, 1 NC) in September 2014. The 31-year-old Ortiz won four straight fights after that defeat, but settled for a 12-round draw with fellow Mexican Diego Cruz (17-5-2, 13 KOs) on July 1 in the bout before Seldin stopped him.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.