Former lightweight contender Jamaine Ortiz will challenge Ring and WBO junior welterweight titlist Teofimo Lopez on Thursday at the Michelob Ultra Arena inside Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
Ortiz, who had spent his career at lightweight until weight issues forced him to move up in weight, is ready and prepared to upset one of boxing’s top fighters.
“It’s a great fight, I’m excited for it,” Ortiz (17-1-1, 8 knockouts) told The Ring. “It’s one of the best fights that can be made at 140-pounds and I’m ready to show the world I’m the best.
“He’s a good fighter, but like everybody, he’s got two hands. He’s a current world champion and I’m ready to take the reign off him.”
Lopez can be quite erratic inside and outside the ring, looking spectacular and then falling away, like he did in his lone loss against George Kambosos Jr. That fight preceeded his crowning moment against Vasiliy Lomachenko.
Could that mean, having stunned Josh Taylor last June, that he is prone to do something similar?
Ortiz isn’t thinking too much about that.
“I’m expecting the best version of Teofimo to enter the ring, but I’m going to beat him and make him look bad,” said the defiant challenger.
Ortiz, who is half Puerto Rican and half Dominican, was born and raised in the working class city of Worcester, Massachusetts.
“I’ve been boxing since when I was 7, got my license at 8,” said Ortiz, who won a national title in Puerto Rico but came up short in the U.S., going 100-14 as an amateur before turning professional at 20.
“Everybody has always been asking why I kept boxing: Two reasons. I kept winning, so if I kept winning why am I going to stop? And second I had a mentor and coach, Carlos Garcia, who kept me by his side and kept me motivated to keep fighting.”
During his their amateur days, Lopez and Ortiz locked horned horns.
They met as teenagers in the final of the Golden Gloves at junior lightweight in May 2015. At the end of three rounds, Lopez was the victor but Ortiz got his licks in.
“I remember it being a competitive fight,” said Ortiz. “[Lopez] won on points”
Ortiz’s only loss in 19 outings came against Lomachenko in October 2022. In that defeat, he bagged his share of rounds and did better than expected.
“I have that experience with the fight with Lomachenko,” he explained. “I’ve learned a lot along the way and I’m excited to put it all on the table, all on the line.”
The 27-year-old has since battled with the scales to make lightweight before giving up the ghost. He spent 8-weeks preparing under the tutelage of Rocky Gonzalez and Lester Diaz at home before rounding out camp in Las Vegas.
“I’m happy to be moving up to 140-pounds,” he said. “I’m going to feel great, faster, stronger, I’m going to feel a lot better.”
And now Ortiz is ready to shine.
“I’m destined for greatness,” he said confidently. “I’m destined to make history and it’s a big opportunity and I can’t let it down, I’m going to make the most out of it.
“I’m going to win. Everybody tune in, there’s going be fireworks, it’s going to be the Upset of The Year.”
Ortiz is co-promoted by Rhode Island promoter Jimmy Burchfield of CES Boxing, who is happy to have delivered such an big chance for his client and expects him to make the most of it.
“Jamaine ‘The Technician’ Ortiz is a tremendous talent,” said the veteran promoter. “He’s in the very best shape of his career and has had a tremendous camp. We are not fighting for a check. We are fighting to win the WBO junior welterweight world championship against Lopez, another warrior.
“These are the type of fights that the boxing fans deserve. After we win this title it will put him in a tremendous position at 140/135, where there are some big fights available. He’s not only a tremendous talent inside the ring, but he’s (also) a very polished professional outside the ring. Not only will he represent the United States of America but he will also represent Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Corporate America can relate well to him.”
Lopez-Ortiz, plus undercard bouts, will be broadcast on ESPN+ at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].