Former welterweight world titleholder Victor Ortiz, whose career has been in tatters since Floyd Mayweather controversially knocked him out and took his belt in 2011, is giving it another go.
Ortiz will return from a 15-month layoff to square off with Mexican journeyman Saul Corral in a 10-round welterweight fight that will headline a Premier Boxing Champions card on July 30 (Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes, 7 p.m. ET) at the Rabobank Theater in Bakersfield, California, Ringstar Sports promoter Richard Schaefer announced on Wednesday.
Ortiz outslugged Andre Berto to win a decision and a welterweight world title in April 2011 but lost the belt in his first defense when Mayweather knocked him out with a legal punch in the fourth round, although Ortiz was not looking.
Including that loss, Ortiz (31-6-2, 24 KOs), a southpaw, is just 2-4 in his last six bouts and has been knocked out in all four defeats, including quitting in the second round against Luis Collazo in 2014. In his last fight, Ortiz suffered a fourth-round knockout loss to Berto in a rematch of their 2011 classic. After that defeat, many called on Ortiz to retire.
But despite success in Hollywood — Ortiz has appeared in films such as “The Expendables 3” and “Southpaw” and also competed on “Dancing with the Stars” — he decided to return to the ring.
“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,” Ortiz, 30, of Ventura, California, said. “I’ve been really focused on training and getting myself back physically and mentally to where I need to be. This is my first time fighting since my son was born, and it’s given me a whole new purpose in life. 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.”
The 30-year-old Corral (24-9, 15 KOs) has faced a few name opponents but lost each time he has stepped up in class, including to former junior welterweight world titleholder Mike Alvarado and former title challengers Sadam Ali and Josesito Lopez.
In Corrales’ most recent fight, on April 9, he got knocked down and lost a 10-round decision to Lopez.
“I am excited to test myself against another great former champion in Victor Ortiz,” Corral said. “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.”
Schaefer promoted many of Ortiz’s bouts when they were both with Golden Boy Promotions. He knows that win or lose, Ortiz usually makes things interesting.
“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,” Schaefer said. “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.”
In the 10-round junior middleweight co-feature, Justin DeLoach (17-1, 9 KOs), 23, of Augusta, Georgia, will take on former world title challenger Fernando Guerrero (28-4, 20 KOs), 30, a Dominican Republic native fighting out of Los Angeles.
DeLoach has won seven fights in a row. Guerrero, who has been knocked out in all four of his losses, got stopped by Peter Quillin in the seventh round of a 2013 middleweight world title fight and is coming off a sixth-round knockout to Tony Harrison in March 2016.
Opening the telecast will be 2016 U.S. Olympian Carlos Balderas (1-0, 1 KO), 20, of Santa Maria, California, taking on an opponent to be determined in a six-round junior lightweight bout.