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Home » Frustrated Jamaine Ortiz questions lack of top 135 pound offers

Frustrated Jamaine Ortiz questions lack of top 135 pound offers

Lightweight Jamaine Ortiz (@JaimaineOrtizR) has built his career – which now has him ranked seventh in the world among 135-pounders by the WBC – on substance over style, strategy in lieu of extravagance.

Often referred to as one of the more soft-spoken fighters in today’s game, Ortiz (16-1-1) has patiently waited for the much-anticipated payoff all prizefighters dream of while tactically and efficiently picking apart nearly every challenger who’s crossed his path since launching his professional career in 2017.

But at 26 and on the cusp of entering his prime, “The Technician” can’t – and won’t – wait much longer. Five months ago, Ortiz starred on one of the sport’s biggest stages: New York City, Madison Square Garden, headlining a worldwide televised event against one of boxing’s all-time greats, Vasyl Lomachenko. Ortiz lost a close decision, but the moments of brilliance sprinkled across 12, hard-fought rounds vaulted the Worcester native from commonly-searched social media keyword to legitimate lightweight contender.

As such, Ortiz is now anxiously – and, quite frankly, impatiently – waiting for the next big opportunity. With the scheduled April 22 lightweight super fight between undefeated titans Ryan Garcia and Gervonta Davis hogging most of the headlines in the 135-pound division, Ortiz has deviated from the usual path of biding his time and is instead aggressively pursuing his rightful place among boxing’s elite lightweights. This past weekend, Ortiz tweeted his frustrations at those who continue to cherry-pick opponents while ducking real fights along with the powers that be who are willfully protecting their high-priced investments from the wrath of “The Technician.”

“To me, it’s very upsetting,” Ortiz said. “I came off a great performance against Lomachenko. Most of the world thought I won. The rankings have me amongst the top 10 in the world. But there’s no fight for me? No good opponent for me? It’s kind of wild.

“There are so many great fights that can be made right now. Me versus George Kambosos. Me versus Isaac Cruz. Joseph Diaz. Javier Fortuna. There are so many guys with big names who are willing to fight. Why can’t we put these fights together?”

And if the buzz from the Lomachenko fight happens to be wearing off five months later, Ortiz added, “then it’s my job is to put myself back in [the conversation].

“One of the things I’ve learned over the years is to keep myself relevant. That’s why I tweeted what I did. I let my feelings out. I understand the business. I have to start poking these guys. The fans and boxing journalists are who make things happen. If the fans are demanding a certain fight and the promoter knows it’s guaranteed to make money, then the promoter will make it happen. If the writers talk about it enough, it begins to make sense. Fighters need to be vocal. Someone has to talk about it.”

Ortiz’s promoter, CES Boxing president Jimmy Burchfield Sr., is eager to join the conversation. Said Burchfield: “From Day 1, Jamaine Ortiz has answered the bell and willingly stepped inside the ring no matter the challenge. He doesn’t duck opportunities. He isn’t afraid to take on anyone. All he’s asking for is the opportunity to showcase his ability against the best in the world and be given the same opportunity as his peers. Jamaine is no longer boxing’s best-kept secret. After what he did against Lomachenko, the secret’s out, and it’s time he gets the opportunities he deserves.”

Social media can be influential in determining which fighters get pushed to the top of the conversation, and Ortiz is cognizant of what is being said and who is doing the talking, even if he isn’t as active online as other fighters. “The Technician” noted a recent interview with former two-time super featherweight Shakur Stevenson, whose wish list for 2023 included a potential showdown with Ortiz, whom he described as a “tough fight for whoever.” And after visiting the Top Rank Boxing Gym in Las Vegas, Ortiz is even more convinced his performance against Lomachenko has forced other 135-pounders to shy away from a potential matchup.

“Shakur Stevenson, he puts respect on my name,” Ortiz said. “They know me. They know the type of fighter I am. No one is calling me an easy opponent or a pushover. If I’m an easier fight, then why aren’t they calling me name? I want to know who in the world has ever called me out to fight. Nahir Albright might be the only one who’s ever said something. We originally had that fight on Triller [on November 28, 2020], then he pulled out, but we got it back [on Showtime in 2022] and I beat him up.

“When have I ever said no to fight? At the same time, who’s calling me out? With me being at this level now, who dares call my name?”

Of late, Ortiz has fought the best of the best; his last five opponents boast a combined record of 80-8-2, including the dynamic Lomachenko, whom many felt Ortiz was on the verge of beating until the final three rounds. Ortiz still thinks he did enough from rounds 1 through 8 to earn the decision, but admits he lost the last three as Lomachenko found his second wind. Even in a losing effort, Ortiz’s stock rose that night, and “The Technician” is certain other prospects are going to be more selective in 2023 knowing his ability to push opponents to the limit. While being feared is certainly a compliment, it can also be detrimental to a young fighter’s progress.

“Why would promoters take a guy who they’ve invested time and money in and put him in there against something they know will beat him?” Ortiz said. “They won’t give me the opportunity to look good against a good opponent and build me up. Why not get me a world title?

“I’m not in a position to be used as an opponent. Every single time I’ve fought, from a performance level and an entertainment level, people always talk about me. Whether it’s Triller, Showtime, ESPN, I’m always going to be a trending topic. I don’t see why they wouldn’t want to continue to bring me up and have me fight when they know I put on a show. I’m not a boring fighter.”

Having expressed his thoughts publicly on one of the world’s largest platforms, Ortiz once again plays the waiting game as he seeks a career-changing opportunity in 2023. The difference now is Ortiz is more than willing to stir the pot if others aren’t willing to put their records – and reputations – on the line.

“I’ve waited a long time. I’m going on seven years as a pro. I’ve been very patient and I’ve been taking everything that comes my way,” Ortiz said. “I’ve been quiet a long time. Now I want to take a little bit more control of my career. Am I wrong for that? Am I wrong for trying to make fights happen or asking for the best?

“I won’t talk trash to a fighter for no reason. But how am I going to sell a fight? In this business, social media, twitter is the place to be. Journalists and boxing writers take what you post on social media and blow it up and circulate it through other media outlets. I have to put my voice out there. If no one wants to fight, then I have to poke at people. I don’t want to just wait, wait, wait and then regret it later.”