By Mitch Abramson
Robert Garcia believes that Victor Ortiz, a fighter he used to train, mentally unraveled in his fight with Floyd Mayweather last Saturday, exhibiting “mental weakness” that he displayed in the amateurs and early in his professional career. Garcia also believes that Ortiz was happy when the fight was over, as evidenced by a smiling Ortiz, after he got sucker punched legally by Mayweather at the end of the fourth round.
Garcia last trained Ortiz back in 2007 against Carlos Maussa at Madison Square Garden before Ortiz left to train with Garcia's brother, Danny, who remains his current trainer. Robert Garcia believes that fixing whatever ails Ortiz, from his tendency to foul when he gets frustrated, is a deep-rooted issue that cannot be quickly resolved.
“Not when it has something to do with your heart,” Garcia explained. “He has the skills- speed, power- he’s got it. He trains hard. He’s very dedicated. Since he was an amateur, he was always the hardest [working] kid in the gym. Even as a pro, he always trained hard. It’s just something mental, something with his heart that’s not right. I don’t know if it could even be corrected.”
Garcia was struck by how giddy Ortiz seemed after the fight, leading him to conclude that Ortiz didn’t want to continue.
“He was happy that the fight was over,” Garcia said. “You could see it in his face. Come on. If something like that happens to a fighter who is upset and feels that he got cheated, man, he’s going to be fighting and arguing and his whole team is going to be trying to fight the results. Nobody said anything. He was happy, he was smiling. I’m telling you, I think he was happy the fight was over.”
Garcia thinks that Ortiz would have been better served by having a couple more fights to get him ready for a fight of this magnitude with Mayweather. At least, that’s the approach he would have taken if he was still in his corner.
“He wouldn’t have fought Mayweather yet,” Garcia said. “We would have taken a different route, slowly. We wouldn’t have pushed him too fast.”
Garcia referenced Ortiz’s history, getting disqualified because of an illegal punch against Corey Alarcon in 2005.
“He got disqualified once for hitting on a break [in a previous fight],” Garcia went on. “He loses his head inside the ring. Mayweather was just dominating, landing those right hands over and over and victor lost his head, couldn’t land a solid [punch] so he came with a very bad head butt.”
Garcia was critical of Ortiz’s actions after the head butt.
“Then a hug and a kiss is not going to forgive you,” he said. “Mayweather is a professional. He’s been in those big events for the past 10 years. He saw a good opening and it was legal. Maybe I wouldn’t have done it. I wouldn’t advise my fighters to do something like that, but to win a fight you have to do whatever it takes, and he did it. I don’t blame him for it because after he got butted so bad- they cut him open in his lip so I don’t blame him.”
Garcia doesn’t believe the result would change if the two fought again in a rematch, which Ortiz is apparently pushing for.
“Mayweather showed that a 16 month layoff doesn’t affect him at all,” said Garcia, who noted that another one of his fighters, Brandon Rios, the WBA lightweight champion, has a scheduled return date of Dec. 10 against a yet-to-be determined opponent. “And I think we would see something similar where he starts landing, picking Victor apart little by little. It was just a matter of time. A few more rounds we would have had the same result anyways.”
Ortiz can come back from this devastating loss, just as he came back after giving up against Marcos Maidana, according to Garcia.
“There are still big fights out there for him,” Garcia said. “There’s the Andre Berto fight; there’s a rematch with Maidana. Andre just won a title so that’s a fight that makes sense. Maidana is available. I know Amir Khan has talked about sometime down the line fighting Victor, so there are big fights out there for Victor. So I’m sure he’ll be back.”
Mitch Abramson covers boxing for the New York Daily News and BoxingScene.com.