Ortiz ready for return to ring

1/30/2014

By BRETT MARSHALL

By BRETT MARSHALL

bmarshall@gctelegram.com

When Garden City native Victor Ortiz climbs back into the boxing ring tonight (FOX Sports 1, 8 p.m.) to face Luis Collazo at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., it will be with an opportunity to resurrect his once-promising career.

Ortiz (29-4-2) has had two consecutive setbacks in his recent fights, the most prominent a fourth-round knockout by Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Sept. 17, 2011, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. That loss was followed by a June 23, 2012, loss to Josesito Lopez when Ortiz suffered a broken jaw and was forced to retire in the ninth round of a scheduled 12-round bout at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Now, though, Ortiz gets the chance to move back up the boxing ladder against Collazo (34-5-0).

"We're so ready and we've had the best sparring partners and we're ready to get in the ring," Ortiz said in a Monday press conference at Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn, N.Y. "Training camp was really good."

With respect to being rusty from the more than 18 month layoff, Ortiz said he was ready.

"Absolutely not, I'm completely 100 percent confident," Ortiz said. "I have no ring rust whatsoever. I'm not at all concerned about my jaw. I feel great and I can't wait to get in the ring."

The appearance on a big stage in New York also appeals to Ortiz, who turns 27 on Friday.

"This is my first time fighting in Brooklyn, and I'm excited," Ortiz said. "I don't have any words to say, nothing bad, nothing good. I'm here for the victory."

Both Ortiz and Collazo, a southpaw, have held welterweight world titles — Ortiz the WBC's and Collazo the WBA's.

"I'm really excited and humbled by the opportunity," Collazo said. "I just want to give the boxing fans a great fight, and a great outing. I've been waiting a long time for a fight of this caliber."

Collazo, 32, is a native of Brooklyn and resides in nearby Queens, so he will have a distinctive home ring edge.

"This fight is for my future," Collazo said. "I'm trying not to look past it, but this victory here means everything to me."

Collazo's last fight came on Sept. 2, 2013, when he won a unanimous decision against Alan Sanchez at the Cowboys Dance Hall in San Antonio, Texas.

Ortiz said he had begun a rugged training camp months ago, and now seems fit for what many consider to be a crossroads fight for both boxers.

"Training's been rough," Ortiz said. "My coaches haven't let up on me, not one day. I've been waiting for a little while now to get back in the ring. I'm not taking anyone lightly."

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