A roomful of youthful and talented prizefighters takes center stage as the search for the next Oscar De La Hoya or Sugar Shane Mosley resumes.
It’s as difficult as looking for a single pearl in a ton of clams. No easy feat.
Victor Ortiz leads the half dozen prospects that Golden Boy Promotions hopes can lead the boxing company toward another Juan Manuel Marquez, Sugar Shane Mosley or maybe even a Oscar De La Hoya. First, he and other hopefuls must prove themselves on Thursday Feb. 25, at Club Nokia in Los Angeles. It will be televised on Fox.
“You’re always looking for that new sensation, that new somebody who can capture the public’s imagination,” said De La Hoya who amassed more than $500 million in his boxing career that spanned from 1992 to 2008. “It’s not an easy thing to do.”
Ventura’s Ortiz, who is originally from Kansas, signed a contract with the Los Angeles-based Golden Boy Promotions a few years back. The southpaw slugger with speed, power and youth was felt to be the heir apparent to De La Hoya. But in June 2009 he was knocked out by Argentina’s Marcos Maidana in a pitched battle that saw both fighters hit the deck five times total.
Despite that loss De La Hoya and others still see promise in Ortiz.
“One loss doesn’t make a career,” said Sugar Shane Mosley who spoke to Ortiz immediately after his shocking loss. “You learn from those kinds of experiences and come back better.”
Ortiz himself feels that he can do better. Much better.
“I don’t remember anything after the second round,” said Ortiz (25-2-1, 20 KOs) who floored Maidana three times in the back and forth battle. “I don’t even remember knocking him down. Everything is a blank.”
A blank memory of a critical loss could be a good thing for Ortiz. Aside from that moment, the muscular junior welterweight had racked up victory after victory with his potent fists. The television network HBO was geared up to start marketing the fighter as the successor to De La Hoya.
“I’m just looking forward to winning my next fight,” Ortiz, 23, said.
In his last effort he met good friend and Antonio Diaz, a former junior welterweight world titleholder last December. Ortiz won by stoppage due to cuts. Now he faces veteran Hector Alatorre of Tulare, California. Nobody has an easy fight with him.
“I know all about Victor Ortiz,” said Alatorre (16-8, 5 KOs) who faced Ortiz as an amateur an underestimated him. “All I know is if he doesn’t train as hard as he should, he will pay for it. I come hard for every fight. Don’t make the mistake I made with you as amateurs.”
Ortiz vows that he will be mentally and physically prepared though he is already scheduled to face former lightweight world champion Nate Campbell later in New York if he can beat Alatorre.
“I’m not here to impress anyone but myself,” Ortiz said.
Ramos, Molina, Huerta etc.
Others hoping to impress boxing fans are Orange County’s Luis Ramos, Paramount’s Charles Huerta and Norwalk’s Carlos Molina. All three fighters are on the under card and are considered among Golden Boy’s top young fighters.
Ramos (13-0, 7 KOs), a speedy southpaw from Santa Ana, has shown a ruggedness inside the ring that belies his youth. He’s facing Colombia’s Walter Estrada in a six round lightweight bout. Estrada has fought several world champions in the past including Yuri Gamboa.
Molina (10-0, 6 KOs), a skillful aggressive boxer, was recently placed on the fight card to get more work. His last fight ended abruptly in the first round against Tyler Ziolkowski with a left hook to the body that resulted in a quick knockout three weeks ago.
“We wanted to get him some work,” said Frank Espinoza, who manages both Molina and Ramos. “His (Molina) last fight ended too quickly. He needs more rounds to get his timing.”
Incidentally, both Ramos and Molina were long-time adversaries as amateurs. This past week both could be seen belting each other during sparring at Maywood Boxing Gym.
“They know each other very well,” said Espinoza. “They’re very competitive.”
Molina is tentatively scheduled to meet James Helmes (6-5) in a junior welterweight clash.
In other fights Huerta (12-1) fights dangerous Lupe De Leon (8-9) who beat Derrick Wilson, who handed Huerta a loss. Also, undefeated Jesse Vargas (8-0) faces undefeated Robert Luna Jr. (6-0) in a junior welterweight bout.
Who knows which if any of these young fighters will be the one to follow De La Hoya’s lead?
Fights on television
Thurs. FSN, 9 p.m., Victor Ortiz (25-2-1) vs. Hector Alatorre (16-8) (delayed).
Fri. ESPN2, 6 p.m., Antonio Escalante (22-2) vs. Miguel Roman (28-6).
Sat. pay-per-view, 6 p.m. Marvin Sonsona (14-0-1) vs. Wilfredo Vasquez (17-0-1); Rodel Mayol (26-4-1) vs. Omar Nino (28-3-1).
Sat. Fox, 7 p.m., Kendall Holt (25-3) vs. Kaizer Mabuza (22-6-3).