By Ben Jacobs
Last month Mexico’s Roberto ‘Massa’ Ortíz revealed to BoxingScene that he was in line to fight Lucas Matthysse on September 6. A couple of weeks later the fight was officially announced by Golden Boy Promotions. Ortíz has been the WBC silver champion at 140lbs since June 2011 and is now looking to push on in the sport starting with a battle against the power punching Argentine. The articulate Torreón native took some time to speak once again to BoxingScene about the upcoming encounter in Cincinnati.
BoxingScene.com: Have you changed anything in your training for what is the biggest fight of your career?
We’ve been practicing a lot in the centre of the ring, a lot of counter punching, lateral movements and quick combinations, but all the time pressuring in the middle of the ring. I know that Lucas will come out and put the pressure on so I also need to pressure him and fight in the middle of the ring. I can’t give him an advantage by going to the ropes, because then he’ll take the imitative. I can’t let him think.
BoxingScene.com: Do you think people are underestimating you?
People don’t know me and I’ve never fought in the United States. I’m not a well known boxer there but I feel relaxed about it. He’s got all the pressure; he’s the big name fighter. It’s going to be a big surprise for them.
BoxingScene.com: Have you studied Lucas Matthysse more since the fight was announced?
We know who he is; we’ve been studying him for a while because we thought that a fight would possibly be made with him. He’s one of the strongest in the division and as I always have said, if I want to be a world champion, I have to fight the best so this is a big opportunity for me.
BoxingScene.com: Were you surprised that he had problems against John Molina?
When I saw that fight, I realised he’s not an unbeatable fighter, he can be beaten if you fight intelligently. He’s been knocked down, Molina showed that. I don’t know if it was down to inactivity but I feel since the Danny García fight his level has dropped slightly. But you can never underestimate any opponent; I know what he’s done in the sport. He’s a great boxer with a lot of experience. So I’ll go in there focused, looking for victory. He has fought the best and been in wars, perhaps his body is feeling the effects of those wars and he has some defects in his defence. When he throws he leaves himself open. He’s a bit smaller than me so we’ll be looking to maintain a distance and not let him get inside, also to move from side to side and counter punch him. This is what we’ve been working on in this training camp.
BoxingScene.com: Has there been a lot of media attention on you since the fight was announced?
They’ve called me twice from Argentina and Showtime interviewed me about my life, when I started in boxing etc. Here in my city the media have been contacting me because it’s a big fight and a big opportunity for me. We’re looking to win this and then look for a world title fight and be known in the wider boxing world.
BoxingScene.com: Are you pleased that this fight is taking place in neutral territory?
I haven’t really thought about it, I know it’s important to fight in the US, I’ve never done it so it’s like my debut and I’m excited and motivated for it. I’m happy that my promoter has given me this chance.
BoxingScene.com: Is the fight scheduled for ten rounds?
I’m not sure still if it will be ten or twelve rounds. If it’s ten rounds it changes things a little. We’ll come out straight away and pressure that little bit more. I’m preparing very hard, all the rounds I’ve done in training have been explosive to try and simulate what will happen on September 6, because we know Matthysse will come out explosive and try to dominate the rounds. It will be an exciting fight. We both have big knockout ratios so a knockout could happen at any time. But we’re going in with the mentality that anything can happen so I have to be ready physically as well as mentally. This is my ticket to the big leagues, we want to make history in this sport and I want to show that I’m not just an average fighter. I want to show that I’ve worked hard to get here and I want to go far and be a world champion.
BoxingScene.com: Matthysse has said that he wanted to fight Danny García again, do you think he may not be concentrating 100% on you?
I don’t know, I’ve heard that he’s training hard for me, but we know that he might think that I’m just a guy from Mexico who hasn’t fought outside his country, so maybe we have an advantage there, that he’s not totally focused on me. I have nothing to lose, he has all the pressure and any mistake he makes we’ll try to take advantage of.