On February 8th, live from the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Teofimo Lopez (19-1, 13 KOs), age 26, from Brooklyn, NY, will make the first defense of his WBO super lightweight strap against Jamaine Ortiz (17-1-1, 8 KOs), 27, from Worcester, Massachusetts.
In his world title debut, Ortiz, whose moniker is “The Technician,” will attempt to rid Lopez of his WBO super lightweight title.
NYFights recently checked in with “The Technician” as he prepares for what he calls “the biggest fight of his life” on this Top Rank card.
Ortiz is the underdog versus the ace Lopez—-but he’s been in tough, he’ll not be overwhelmed by the stakes
“I’m feeling great, amazing. Training camp has been going on schedule and as planned. So, I’m excited,” said CES’ Ortiz about his preparation so far.
Jamaine Ortiz knew he wanted to be a boxer when former three-time world champion and Worcester resident Jose Rivera visited Jamaine’s elementary school sporting one of his world title belts.
Ortiz was captivated by Rivera’s visit and started training at the Worcester Boys and Girls Club shortly after that.
For Ortiz, fighting for a world title is fulfilling a dream that started in that classroom when he was seven.
“I was ecstatic. I was excited. It’s been a long time coming. You’re patient in this game. Boxing is not an easy sport, and there are a lot of ups and downs. And finally, from a little kid (training as a boxer) to years in the professional ranks, and all the politics involved, to finally getting that world title shot was just a dream come true,” said Jamaine.
Although this is Ortiz’s first world title match, the 27-year-old New Englander is familiar with the bright lights and fanfare accompanying some of boxing’s biggest stages.
The young challenger fought and defeated former world champion Jamel Herring in Las Vegas.
Ortiz opened plenty of eyes in his effort Vs solid vet Jamel Herring (photo by Mikey Williams)
In his next match, he fought Vasyl Lomachenko at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Although Ortiz suffered his first professional loss against Lomachenko, the New Englander performed well against arguably the greatest boxer of this generation.
So, what lessons did Jamaine take away from his fight against Lomachenko?
“It was my first time going 12 rounds. I know what it’s like to go rounds. I know what I need to work on and adjust. I’ve been under the lights before with that fight. So, that prepared me for another big fight. I know what’s to come. There won’t be any faze. I wasn’t fazed by that fight either, but now I have experience under my belt. That makes it a much smoother transition,” said Ortiz to NYFights.
Boxing fans know that Teofimo Lopez is a charismatic and energetic champion who is never at a loss for words regarding his opponents.
Lopez and Ortiz aren’t strangers to one another.
The two pugilists got acquainted when they fought each other at the 2015 National Golden Gloves Championship.
The champion remembers Ortiz as being a tough fighter. However, Lopez wants to send a statement to the rest of the fighters in the 140lbs by using a win over Ortiz as his megaphone.
Lopez seems in a good space, so Ortiz will have to be ready for A plus Teo
“To the boxing fans around the world, I look to not only dominate and break down Jamaine Ortiz but to do it in such a fashion that my division will be put on alert,” said Teofimo Lopez in recent interviews leading up to this fight.
Ortiz responded to Lopez’s statement, saying, “He could think that. I think he’s got another thing coming. I feel like it’s going to be the other way around. I think I will end up knocking him out, and then I will be the big dog at 140.”
Knocking out Teofimo Lopez is a tall order. How does Ortiz plan on knocking out the champion? “That I can’t say. I just know. It’s a new weight class; I’m fresh. I’m going to feel stronger, better, and have more energy. So, I’m excited about that!”
Jamaine Ortiz told NYFights that he is preparing differently for Teo than he has for past opponents.
The challenger was tight-lipped about the specifics but said he’s sparring against boxers that mimicked Lopez’s explosiveness and crafty footwork.
When asked if he sees any flaws in Teofimo’s game that he plans to exploit, Ortiz simply said, “I think every fighter got some flaws.”
When I pressed him for specifics, the challenger exercised a military-like code of silence and tightly guarded his secrets. “I can’t say. I’ll show the world the flaws that day,” said Ortiz.
Knowing he’s considered the underdog going into this fight, Ortiz is unmoved by critics’ opinions of him and vows to upset the champion.
“Give them another upset. They always have me as the underdog in my previous fights, and this gives me more motivation. It gives me more hunger to prove all the doubters wrong,” said Ortiz to his critics.
What is it that the fans, media, and perhaps Teofimo Lopez don’t know about Jamaine Ortiz? I asked the challenger. “That under the circumstances, at the moment… Jamaine Ortiz will bring it out, and he will do whatever he has to do to win,” said Ortiz confidently.
“I want everybody to tune in. It’s going to be fireworks, I promise. It will be one of the best fights of the year. It’s going to be a big upset coming, big upset coming,” said Ortiz as we concluded the interview.
Jamaine Ortiz is fighting the biggest fight of his career against perhaps the most formidable adversary he’s ever faced.
Teofimo Lopez is a menace inside the ring. The champion is fast, athletic, explosive, and crafty with his footwork. When Teofimo’s fight game clicks on all cylinders, he is hard to beat.
However, Teo is beatable-George Kambosos Jr. proved that.
And I think Jamaine Ortiz fights better than Kambosos Jr.
Ortiz is an excellent boxer with a solid jab who fights well on the inside. He doesn’t have knockout thunder in his punches, but he has deceptive accuracy and knows how to place punches that thwart his opponents’ momentum.
He has fought two former world champions. He sent Jamel Herring into a brief retirement and performed well in a losing effort against Vasyl Lomachenko.
During these two fights, he learned much about himself as a fighter and what it takes to perform at a high level against a mega opponent in a mega venue.
Ortiz is a solid opponent for Lopez’s first defense of the WBO strap. If Lopez overlooks Ortiz in the same manner I believe he did against Kambosos Jr., his plans to “Take Over” the 140-pound division will be short-lived.