Jamaine Ortiz insisted that he is ready to ‘dethrone’ Teofimo Lopez and pull off ‘one of the biggest upsets of the year’ when the pair square off on February 8.
Ortiz takes on the reigning WBO light welterweight champion Lopez in what will be the latter’s first title defence since defeating British boxer Josh Taylor by unanimous decision last summer.
Massachusetts-born Ortiz will however be no pushover and although he comes into the clash as the underdog, has promised to ‘dominate the fight’ against his rival.
In a 19-fight professional career Ortiz has only been beaten once, losing by decision against one of the pound-for-pound best in Vasiliy Lomachenko.
For the 27-year-old, though, February 8 represents a chance to show boxing fans why he deserves to be considered among the greats himself – something he more than backs himself to do by beating Lopez.
Jamaine Ortiz insisted he is ready to dethrone current WBO light welterweight champion Teofimo Lopez
The two are set to clash on February 8 in the former’s first title defence since winning the belts from Scotland’s Josh Taylor
Ortiz’s sole defeat in his 19-fight professional career came against Ukraine’s Vasiliy Lomachenko (right)
‘Right now he’s the best at 140lbs, he’s got the belts he’s got the WBO and the Ring Magazine, so right now he’s one of the best – but I’m going to dethrone him,’ said Ortiz, speaking exclusively to Mail Sport.
‘It’s going to be one of the biggest upsets of the year, and I’m going to dominate the fight. I’m not gonna let it go to the fight, I’m not gonna let there be any swing rounds, I’m going to dominate the fight.’
He added: ‘I think me beating great fighters is going to have other people believe that I am the great. I’ve just got to do my job and beat the fighters they consider the best now, and beat the world champions now, that’s how I’ll do it.
‘I don’t have to talk my way there, I’ll prove it by beating these fighters. That’s been my motto since I turned professional – I’ve never been a s**ttalker, I never been that, but one thing I’m going to do is fight. I’ll fight whoever, I’ll fight the best and I’m going to beat them.’
That defeat by Lomachenko is sure to have been a turning point in the fighter’s career to the top.
Unfancied by most, Ortiz pulled off something of a shock by taking the Ukrainian the distance, and although he ended up on the wrong side of the decision, he won plenty of plaudits utilising his superior reach in a breath-taking fast start.
‘I learned a lot from that fight. It was my first time going 12 rounds, my first time on the big stage, biggest fight to date of my career and now this fight is even bigger so I’m definitely prepared for what’s to come,’ he says, approaching a very different challenge now in Lopez.
‘I made adjustments since that fight with Lomachenko and I’m looking to be in the best shape and the best form of Jamaine Ortiz.’
Against Lomachenko Ortiz came close to securing what would have been a huge upset
Utilising his reach advantage Ortiz made a brilliant start, only for the Ukrainian to make his way back into the encounter in the latter stages
Like most of his fellow fighters, Ortiz possesses a supreme confidence in his abilities, combined with a near-unsettling level of calmness and composure when he speaks about his upcoming bout, smiling at what is to come.
‘I know how good I am, my confidence has been instilled in me from a young age, and I gain more confidence day-by-day with the hard work I’m putting in in the gym.
‘That’s what gives me the confidence, I know I’m great, I know I’m putting in the hard work. I don’t cheat myself and I believe in me 100 per cent.
‘I’m very calm, laidback, I don’t have worries, stress or pressure, just another fun day!’
He may be laidback, but Ortiz is far from complacent. He knows he will surely be in for a stern test against Lopez, who has won 19 of his 20 fights, including a win over Lomachenko in 2020 to unify the lightweight division.
There is an infectious eagerness to Ortiz, who is keen to test himself time and again, against those the boxing world grants the honour of ‘greatness’. But there is also plenty of ambition to match the confidence.
After suggesting his future might lie up a division, he names pound-for-pound No 1 Terrence Crawford as his ideal opponent, adding: ‘All I want to do is face the greats.’
In a world where nicknames largely range from ‘The Tank’ and ‘Ferocious’ to ‘The Matrix’, Ortiz’s ‘The Technician’ is an interesting one – it speaks to a fighter that brings an analytical and almost clinical, approach to their craft.
‘The Technician is who I am inside and outside of the ring, so when you think of The Technician that’s not just in the boxing ring,’ he says of his title.
‘I’m a technician and I’m very technical in what I do; the game plan, the way I train, the way I try to analyse everything, and there’s a strategy and technique in everything that I do.
‘I think it is (a benefit) because I look at it in a different way. I feel like my perspective and the way I outline and analyse things is different from everybody else because I am The Technician inside and out.’
Ortiz explained why he goes by The Technician, and believes the way he analyses things is ‘different from everybody else’
The 27-year-old kept his cards close to his chest ahead of his clash with Lopez in February
Ortiz keeps his cards very close to his chest when asked how he sees the fight playing out, insisting that it is all covered in his game plan, instead promising a dominating performance in which he will force Lopez to ‘retreat’.
His gaze is kept unwaveringly on the fight to come this Thursday (early hours Friday morning), but there is still time for Ortiz to offer a few glimpses into the future he sees for himself.
‘Once I become world champion I’m going to be the top dog at 140lbs,’ he declares, before sparing no bones in suggesting just how high his potential can take him in the sport.
‘I don’t see a ceiling, so that’s how high,’ he claims, with yet another self-assured smile. ‘So high I don’t see the ceiling.’