Cool story, bro—Victor Ortiz is giving it one more go in the ring.
The charismatic former welterweight titlist will return to the ring for the first time in more than a year when he faces Mexico's Saul Corral on July 30 at Rabobank Theater in Bakersfield, California. The scheduled 10-round welterweight clash will top a special Sunday evening edition of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on FS1.
"This is a great opportunity for me to get back in the ring, shake off the ring rust and put on a show for the fans," said Ortiz (31-6-2, 24KOs), who has been out of the ring since a 4th round knockout loss to Andre Berto in their thrilling rematch last April. "I've been really focused on training and getting myself back physically and mentally to where I need to be."
Ortiz has seen several stop-and-starts in his career, with such inactive stretches resulting in his fighting just five times in the past six years. The 30-year old southpaw from Ventura, Calif. by way of Kansas took an extended break following back-to-back knockout losses to Floyd Mayweather Jr. (Sept. '11) and Josesito Lopez (June '12), both of which followed the high point of his professional career—a 12-round win over Berto in their Fight of the Year-level first meet in which both boxers hit the deck before Ortiz prevailed to win a welterweight title.
He's severely struggled to recapture that glory. The comeback following his aforementioned losses to Mayweather and Lopez only added to his misery, as he was stopped in two rounds by Luis Collazo in their Jan. '14 meet. Three wins followed before once again trading knockdowns with Berto in their Fox-televised condensed war last April. only for Ortiz to be halted in four rounds.
A renaissance man of sorts, he's gravitated more to the Hollywood world, having appeared in several films as well as a stint on the hit ABC reality series Dancing With the Stars. He also found himself on the wrong side of the law, having plead guilty last fall to his involvement in a brawl at a country music concert.
Still, it was another matter that kept him out of the ring for more than a year—spending quality time with his girlfriend Deborah, whom gave birth to their son Victor Royal Ortiz, with the middle name inspired by his love for Major League Baseball's Kansas City Royals.
With the new family arrival comes a renewed sense of purpose in what many will consider the final lap in his up-and-down career.
"This is my first time fighting since my son was born and it's given me a whole new purpose in life." insists Ortiz. "I'm thankful to everyone who has helped me get to this point and I can't wait to go do what I do best and entertain everyone in the arena and watching on FS1 and FOX Deportes."
His opponent has experience on the FS1 platform, though not in the best light. Corral (24-9, 15KOs) last appeared this past April, dropping a 10-round decision to former Ortiz conqueror Josesito Lopez. The 30-year old from Agua Prieta, Mexico has lost two of his last three and lacks a notable win in his career but still comes into the bout with every intention of serving as the latest spoiler in Ortiz' career.
"I am excited to test myself against another great former champion in Victor Ortiz," said Corral. "Everyone who has seen me fight knows I will give it my all every time I step into the ring. I plan on being aggressive and making Ortiz very uncomfortable in the ring. He has had problems overcoming adversity in the ring and I am going to test him and give him everything I have."
The evening's chief support features red hot rising contender Justin DeLoach, whom faces Fernando Guerrero in a scheduled 10-round welterweight bout. Also on the show, 2016 U.S. Olympic lightweight Karlos Balderas fights for the second time as a pro—having made his pro debut earlier this year on FS1.
"Every time Victor Ortiz gets into the ring, you know that it is going to be an electric night and I expect another action-packed show on July 30," said Richard Schaefer, Chairman and CEO of Ringstar Sports, whom promotes Balderas and will serve as the lead for this event. "Fans here in California and watching on FS1 and FOX Deportes will get to see the former world champion against the always tough Saul Corral as he works his way back towards the top of the welterweight division.
"This great show will also feature a strong matchup between a rising contender in Justin DeLoach and the veteran Fernando Guerrero, plus Ringstar's own Karlos Balderas, a 2016 U.S. Olympian who loves put on a show in the ring and will continue to prove that he has the skills to fulfill his tremendous potential."