By Keith Idec
You want to aggravate Victor Ortiz?
Ask the fickle former WBC welterweight champion a question with the word “if” in it as it pertains to winning his fight against Devon Alexander on Saturday night. The powerful southpaw abruptly ended a phone interview with BoxingScene.com on Wednesday, but before doing so confidently predicted that he’ll beat Alexander in their 12-round welterweight fight in El Paso, Texas.
“There’s no what if?,” Ortiz said. “I will defeat Devon Alexander on Saturday night, at 6 p.m. (MT) on FOX. And with that said, whatever Al Haymon wants me to do and go for, I’ll do.”
FOX will air Alexander-Ortiz as the main event of a three-bout broadcast from the Don Haskins Center (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT). Alexander is listed as a 3-1 favorite by numerous Internet sports books.
The 31-year-old Ortiz (32-6-2, 25 KOs) hasn’t beaten a ranked welterweight since he got up from two knockdowns, dropped Andre Berto twice and won their back-and-forth slugfest by unanimous decision to capture the WBC 147-pound championship in April 2011. The Garden City, Kansas, native lost the WBC crown in his following fight to Floyd Mayweather Jr., who scored a controversial fourth-round knockout of Ortiz in September 2011.
Ortiz is just 3-4 since beating Berto and has suffered each of those four defeats by knockout or technical knockout. He’s still sure, though, that he can become a champion again.
“In the next few years, I will reign as world champion again,” said Ortiz, who knocked out Mexico’s Saul Corral (28-10, 19 KOs) in the fourth round of his last fight, July 30 in Bakersfield, California. “It was short-lived off my championship that I captured. The world saw it. I still remember it like it were yesterday. I’m not satisfied. I’m not content. So I’m coming for everything.”
St. Louis’ Alexander (27-4, 14 KOs) also is attempting to come back from several setbacks, including an opioid addiction for which he completed treatment last year.
In his last fight, the 31-year-old former junior welterweight and welterweight champ dropped and out-pointed Nicaragua’s Walter Castillo (26-5-1, 19 KOs) on November 21 in St. Petersburg, Florida. His victory over Castillo was Alexander’s first fight in more than two years.
“He looked all right,” Ortiz said. “Nothing too crazy, nothing that I haven’t seen. So we’re ready.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.