According to the New York Daily News, “sources” say boxer Victor Ortiz will be among the contestants on the next season of Dancing With The Stars. Does this sound like reputable information that Grantland should be repeating without further confirmation? Not at all. But if it gives us an excuse to discuss the man who attached his initials to a product called FaceLube and who stars in the greatest SNL fake commercial that is not a fake commercial, then the Ortiz-on-DWTS rumor is a true blessing.
Before we go further, here are the 54 glorious, hilarious, confounding, homoerotic seconds that threaten to turn Ortiz into an iconic pitchman:
Immediately after the ninth round in Saturday’s welterweight fight between Victor Ortiz and Josesito Lopez, I wrote a question in my notebook: “Who is crazier, Ortiz or Lopez?”
From ringside at Staples Center, I had just watched Lopez and Ortiz spend the last 30 seconds of the round exchanging violent hooks and uppercuts. First, Ortiz drove Lopez against the ropes, and then Lopez fought back with several whipping left hooks that landed square on Ortiz’s jaw. The punches were fast, reckless, and very hard. The fighters looked like two kids settling a beef at recess, windmilling wild blows at each other — only these two kids were prime boxers whose flurries came with a level of skill and lethality unheard of on any playground.
Victor Ortiz wanted to hug it out, but Floyd Mayweather declared that he was a fighter, not a lover. The end result was a boxing match that left the sports world buzzing — and gave us a reason to roll out the Grantland Network’s first boxing podcast.
The Ring magazine’s former managing editor, Eric Raskin, and former senior writer, William Dettloff, assess Mayweather, Ortiz, and referee Joe Cortez, discuss just how much ass Larry Merchant could kick if he were 50 years younger, ponder whether this result moves us any closer to Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao, and break down the thrilling undercard featuring Erik Morales and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
Then they wrap up the show by responding to a few listener tweets and plugging their paid-subscription version of Ring Theory. (Because, hey, it’s boxing. You’re required by law to charge the fans for everything.)
The two most marketable boxers in the world are also the two best boxers in the world. If that were the end of the statement, it would mean that we’re living through a rare moment in boxing history. But that’s not the end of the statement. These two boxers, who are a tier above whoever is no. 3 at the box office and whoever is no. 3 on the pound-for-pound list, have one more thing in common: They compete in the same weight class. This is beyond rare. This is, arguably, unprecedented.
But there’s a problem: Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather aren’t fighting each other. Mayweather is taking on Victor Ortiz this Saturday night. In November, Pacquiao is set to face Juan Manuel Marquez for a third time. They’re both decent fights. Unfortunately, if our two protagonists win — and they’re expected to — it won’t make them any more likely to meet in ring.
And if the two best and most bankable boxers alive should somehow never face each other, it would be the greatest failure for the capitalistic boxing business.
"Who work harder than me? No athlete work harder than me. Fuck fighters. No athlete works harder than me. ... You tell me one athlete right now that has been dominating the game for 16 years straight without a loss? Tell me one. Tell me just one. That ends it all, and I'm gone."
— Floyd Mayweather Jr.