Even in his wildest dreams, undefeated World Boxing Council (WBC) Youth World lightweight champion Jamaine “The Technician” Ortiz (13-0, 7 KOs) never could have ever imagined that his 24th birthday, later this month, would fall smack in the middle of a worldwide health pandemic.
When he turns 24 on April 28th, Ortiz figured he’d be preparing for training camp with a spring fight date set, likely defending his WBC Youth World title of fighting for a regional belt of some sort.
He certainly didn’t think boxing would be banned around the world, gyms closed by a state mandate, and people wearing face-masks and plastic gloves like they’re in a Sci-Fi movie. And, to boot, his job as a licensed carpenter ended closed shop last Friday. Like everybody else in the Bay State.
Ortiz is basically self-quarantined at home, although he’s still running, training, eating well and doing everything else to maintain decent shape. Not elite boxing shape, though, which simply isn’t possible under these restrictive and trying times.
Instead of sparring, he’s shadow boxing, jumping rope has replaced pad-work with his trainers, Rocky Gonzalez and Carlos Garcia, and now his living room serves as his gym.
Times have been dramatically altered, indeed, even celebrating birthdays, which Jamaine fully understands and accepts.
“I don’t think my birthday will be any different,” Ortiz said. “I usually spend it alone with my mother and daughter (4-year-old Amira) and this year probably won’t be any different. I won’t be able to get in a whole bunch of sparring rounds that I usually ask for (laughing) as presents from some of my friends.”
Fortunately, though, Ortiz was able to fight this past February 28in his first action in six months, headlining a CES Boxing-promoted card at home in Worcester, Massachusetts, in which he registered an impressive second-round stoppage of Mexican knockout specialist “Loco” Luis Ronaldo Castillo (22-6, 17 KOs), a former WBC FECOMBOX lightweight champion.
Ortiz, presently rated No. 16 by the North American Boxing Federation (NABF), aspires to attend medical school after he hangs up his gloves for good, to become a doctor/researcher. He reads a lot about medicine, especially holistic treatments, and he believes that he may have already had the Coronavirus.
“Five weeks before my last fight,” he explained, “I was in the hospital with a temperature of 104.5. Just about everybody I knew was sick, my grandmother had pneumonia. I never really get sick. I had a flu shot for seven years without an issue. I developed a cough, too. I felt like I was going to die. I can’t say with certainty I had Coronavirus (there was no test available then), but I feel like I may have had it.”
Ortiz will be ready for the night the ring bell will finally sound again. “I hope to be fighting again in July or August, but, no matter when boxing returns, I’ll be ready to go.
“This is a serious, contagious disease. People should use common sense: wash your hands, stay separated by six feet, and stay at home, especially the elderly and people with respiratory problems. Don’t take any unnecessary risks or panic, either. This isn’t the end of the world!”