By Chris Robinson
I caught up with trainer Danny Garcia to get the latest with his star pupil, former welterweight champion Victor Ortiz. The 24-year old Ortiz is coming off of a 4th round knockout loss at the hands of Floyd Mayweather on September 17th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas yet still has the possibility of a prosperous career given the time that he still has on his side as well as his obvious talents as a fighter.
Ortiz had recently been vacationing in France but Garcia revealed that he is now back to training at the Knuckleheadz Boxing Gym in Ventura, California. Garcia says that Ortiz ‘can’t wait’ to get back in the ring and that he has been keeping his weight low while running three to four days a week.
While Ortiz had hoped for a rematch with Mayweather, that seems unlikely as Floyd’s advisor Leonard Ellerbe recently announced to ESPN.com that he will be returning on May 5th of next year and that they are looking to make the biggest fight possible, which would mean a clash with Manny Pacquiao. Nothing is locked as far as Ortiz’s return but Garcia did note that he spoke to the fighter’s manager Rolando Arrelano and was told that a fight with former champion Devon Alexander could be a possibility.
Lately there has been some buzz swirling about a possible fight between former champion Paulie Malignaggi and WBA junior welterweight champion Marcos Maidana. Garcia knows Maidana all too well, as the Argentinean engaged in a wild fight with Ortiz in June of 2009 that saw each man taste the canvas repeatedly before Ortiz folded in the sixth round.
Ortiz has seemed to progress as a fighter since that defeat and Garcia isn’t completely sold on Maidana’s power a few years later.
“Well, he caught Victor with a real good shot but that doesn’t mean he has all the power,” said Garcia. “Because he hit Victor with one punch and he didn’t drop him. He hits hard, but not as hard as some other fighters.”
Adding a little more fuel to the fire, Garcia pointed towards Malignaggi’s intelligence as a fighter and feels he could have a great chance in the fight.
“He could probably beat him by boxing him, yes,” Garcia continued. “He has a good chance. Again, if Maidana gets him it could be a different story. It’s about the power against the speed and boxing skills.”
I was also interested for Garcia’s take on the recent drama surrounding Juan Manuel Marquez, who has appeared to have brought in convicted steroid-dealer Angel Heredia, now known as Angel Hernandez, into his camp as he prepares for his November 12th trilogy bout with Pacquiao. There is speculation by some as to Marquez’s motives by working with a strength and conditioning coach with a past as checkered as Hernandez but Garcia stayed classy when giving his take on the ordeal.
“I hear a lot of stories but there’s nothing that I can say because I’m not really sure what’s going on,” Garcia claimed. “There are rumors but there is nothing I can prove or nothing I can say. I’m not really sure what’s happening.”
When assessing the fight, Garcia points towards Marquez’s history as a fighter more so than his recent involvement with Hernandez and seems to feel that an upset is within reach.
“He has a good chance. He’s a tough fighter. He’s a hard puncher and he has a big heart. He has a good chance to beat Pacquiao. I want to see the fight.”