On November 21, Miguel Cotto and Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez will punch each other silly to determine who the best welterweight in the world is. Saúl is the new face of Mexican boxing and Miguel Cotto has been the face of Puerto Rican fighting for a while. So it goes without saying that everybody is excited.
The Cotto-Canelo fight is the biggest Puerto Rico-Mexico fight to happen since Oscar De La Hoya and Félix “Tito” Trinidad. So it must be said that for most of us boxing fans born in the late 80s and after, the fight between Canelo and Cotto will be one of the biggest boxing events we’ve ever seen. Despite how established the long rivalry might seem today, at one point it needed some upkeep, which was provided by a man by the name of Carlos Ortiz.
“People forget that Puerto Rico had a champion greater than Tito Trinidad and Miguel Cotto a long time ago. That was Carlos Ortiz,” stated HBO sports commentator Larry Merchant.
Ortiz ended his career with a record of 61 wins, seven losses, and one draw. Most importantly, however, he continued the legacy left behind by fellow countryman Sixto Escobar, one of the initiators of the boxing rivalry.
Ortiz fought three Mexicans during his career: Raymundo “Battling” Torres, Gerardo Ferrat, and Cuban-Mexican Ultiminio “Sugar” Ramos, all of whom he defeated.
Ortiz’s victories might seem distant and irrelevant to many now, but they are a necessary link to the fervent boxing rivalry that we continue to enjoy today.
So when Cotto and Canelo step in the ring on November 21, let’s remember Ortiz and be grateful for men like him, who left their blood, sweat, and tears in the ring and nourished the passion and spectacle of modern-day boxing.