From orphan to neighborhood hero, WBC welterweight champion Victor Ortiz represents everything that is right about sports.
The 24-year-old rising star, who wowed the boxing world with an awe-inspiring win over Andre Berto on April 16, was honored on Wednesday with a proclamation signed by Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, who also declared May 10 “Victor Ortiz Day”.
“Victor’s story is not only a lesson in the value of positivity, it’s also a lesson in determination, patience and hard work,” said Brownback. “He exemplifies the spirit of not getting bitter over the circumstances of your life, but rather to channel your energy into making yourself better.”
Ortiz visited the Kansas House of Representatives and was honored with a standing ovation by the members.
Ortiz’ rise was anything but a fairy tale. Ortiz and his siblings were abandoned by their parents as children. Ortiz never lost sight of his goals and eventually clawed is way to a world championship.
Said Ortiz: “I'm honored that Kansas has love for me, because eight years ago, I was Victor who? Now I'm hanging with the Governor. I'm excited by all the attention this world title has brought to me in the last two weeks. It was an honor and a privilege for the government and the people of Kansas to acknowledge my hard work. Now, my gift to them will be to continue to work hard and always perform like I did on April 16."
Good things should be in store for Ortiz (29-2-2), who was masterful in his unanimous-decision win over Berto. He showed his mettle as he knocked Berto down twice and survived two knockdowns himself.
There was talk of Ortiz stepping into the ring against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in September, but neither side has confirmed that. Regardless, wins over Berto, Vivian Harris, Nate Campbell, and a hard-fought draw against Lamont Peterson has Ortiz in prime position to make a big statement this fall.