Victor Ortiz vs. Devon Alexander: Start time, fight prediction, matchup, analysis
Former 147-pound champions look to re-enter title picture in PBC main event from El Paso, Texas
Victor Ortiz has consistently been a must-see fighter despite all of the highs and lows his career has produced. From all-action victories to dramatic knockout losses (and more than a few bizarre moments in between), Ortiz (32-6-2, 25 KOs) has seen it all.
A former can't-miss prospect turned journeyman welterweight has also had his heart questioned on more than one occasion. Not only has Ortiz outright quit in some of his biggest fights, his outside-the-ring success as an actor has left many questioning if boxing will remain in his future.
Yet at 31, just nine months removed from a knockout win in his comeback fight against little-known Saul Corral, Ortiz re-enters the deep end at 147 pounds when he faces former two-division champion Devon Alexander on Saturday in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions card (FOX, 8 p.m. ET) in El Paso, Texas.
"I've been counted out many times in this sport," Ortiz said during the pre-fight news conference.
The fight is very much a crossroads bout for each, designed to find out which former name fighter is poised for a new run against the division's elite.
The often eccentric Ortiz has shown signs of maturity in recent months, fresh off the birth of his first child, a son named Royal. He has also put Hollywood behind him, it seems, to focus on taking one more shot at maximizing his potential.
"I have to prioritize now when, before, it was just doing craziness and living for no one other than me," Ortiz said. "I'm ready to give all I have to defeat Devon Alexander and to ultimately get my crowns back. I don't hate Devon, but I will not be his friend and he won't be mine."
Alexander (27-4, 14 KOs), who took two full years away from the sport following a cold stretch of three losses in four fights, later revealed he had battled an addiction to prescription painkillers. At 31, he still looks as physically fresh as he did in his prime and dominated Walter Castillo last November in his first fight in 25 months.
On Saturday, Alexander expects to test what's left of Ortiz's will before moving up the ranks to face the likes of Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman and Errol Spence Jr.
"I think Victor Ortiz still has something left," Alexander told BoxingScene.com. "He still has some heart left. I'm just gonna look to take it out of him. Whatever heart he has got left, I'm gonna take it out of him.
"He has had a weird career and a lot of ups and downs, and twists and turns. I'm looking to exploit that, too, because you've gotta be mentally strong in boxing. You've gotta be mentally there and if it's not going your way, you can't just mentally check out. If the guy's getting the better of you, you have to go to the drawing board and come up with a plan B and a plan C."
Alexander, who said he expects his speed "to kill" Ortiz, doesn't believe the fight will go the distance.
"The prediction is that it's going to be a masterclass and if it goes seven rounds, I'll be surprised," Alexander told On The Ropes Boxing Radio. "My power and my speed is going to be there and if he can withstand the power, I'll be surprised."
For two fighters whose issues with fulfilling their promise has been more mental than physical, Alexander appears much stronger in both categories entering this fight. He also presents a style that is all kinds of wrong for Ortiz.
Trying to predict just how willing Ortiz will be to walk through fire in order to win, like he did in his breakthrough title victory over Andre Berto in 2011, has never been an easy task. But even if Ortiz is where he needs to be mentally, he does himself no favors by constantly squaring up and stalking forward with his hands down.
Even in Ortiz's highlight-reel KO against light-punching Corral last July, he took far too many clean punches to the face. Alexander, who is quick, accurate and possesses enough power to give Ortiz issues from the opening round, should have a field day landing flush shots.
This fight has "stoppage victory" written all over it as Ortiz is too far removed from going deep into a fight against a quality opponent. The only question is which round. Pick: Alexander by TKO4.
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