Despite a disputed draw with unbeaten Joseph “Blessed Hands” Adorno (14-0-2, 12 KOs) last Saturday night in Kissimmee, Florida, lightweight prospect Jamaine “The Technician” Ortiz (14-0-1, 8 KOs) displayed his vast skills and courage on ESPN+.
Recovering from two knockdowns (the first from an illegal punch behind the head) and still taking the fight to the promoter’s fighter, Ortiz won six of the eight rounds but, unfortunately, he had to settled for an 8-round majority draw with (76-74, 75-75-75) Adorno.
Ortiz, fighting out of Worcester, Massachusetts, is the reigning WBC USNBC (U.S.) Silver lightweight champion, as well as a former WBC World Youth lightweight titlist.
“I didn’t fight my fight,” Ortiz evaluated his performance. “I fought too much instead of being ‘The Technician.’ Before the fight, I thought I was the B-side fighter and wanted to please the crowd. I didn’t realize that I was on the A-side (thanks to his promoter, Jimmy Burchfield) and the betting favorite. I was fighting a Top Rank guy and felt that I had to bring the fight to him. Muscle memory, I guess, from back in the amateurs. I was fighting on his stage, so I put pressure on him. If the fight went the distance, I wanted to make sure the scoring was clear and obvious. I knew I’d break him down because I had better stamina and skills.”
“I fought him too much, but I still thought I won the fight. The 76-74 score made sense. I won every round but the second and seventh (rounds of knockdowns). I didn’t agree with the one judge who had him (Adorno) winning the sixth. He hit me behind the head in the third round and I was off balance. But the referee does his job and mine is to fight. Nothing I could do about it. The plan was to box him, going to the body, but not switch stances because it would expose me. I had to go to the body, always part of my plan, but I wasn’t ‘The Technician.’ Sometimes I switch stances without realizing it. I got clipped in the seventh round (uppercut that resulted in a standing 8 count) when I was switching for first time. I handled it like a pro. I got up and felt good. I survived the round by holding a few times and then I came back again.”
Burchfield, head of Classic Sports and Entertainment (CEO), knows Ortiz showed that he’s somebody lightweights will have to reckon with in the immediate future.
“Jamaine’s stock went up for the second fight in a row (last November he registered a sensational stoppage of Sulaiman Segawa (13-3-1, 4 KOs), who had never been previously stopped, in seventh-round on the Mike Tyson–Roy Jones, Jr. pay-per-event),” Burchfield added. “Adorno is an animal when he’s in control of a fight. Jamaine had to take control of the fight by being the aggressor but, as ‘The Technician, knowing when to fight and when to box. The punch in the second round was, definitely, behind the head, clearly a foul, and it was more of a slip than a knockdown because he was off balance. If that punch was disallowed, Jamaine wins the fight, even if he had lost the round. He (Emil Lombardi) is a quality ref who made a mistake. Maybe he didn’t catch it because of the angle he had, which is why I’m a firm believer in instant replay, and It would have been ruled a non-knockdown.”
“Going into the seventh, I thought Jamaine led by 2-3 points having taken five of the previous six rounds. Jamaine showed the world his endurance when he came back so strong in the eighth round. If the fight had been 10-round, or even 30-sconds longer, no disrespect to Adorno, Jamaine would have knocked him out. Jamaine is the real deal. He certainly proved he’s TV friendly after his last two fights and he deserves to be mentioned among the top 135-pounders in the world. Any takers?”
Ortiz’ manager, Dick Shappy, had mixed emotions after the fight, understanding that Ortiz raised the bar, even though he fought to a draw.
“I wish he had won,” Shappy remarked, “but a draw wasn’t too bad under the circumstances. I though Jamaine won the fight outright. If not for that illegal punch in the second, he won the fight on their scorecards. It still shouldn’t have been ruled a knockdown, more of a slip, because he was going forward and lost balance. It never should have been 10-8. Adorno would have lost if they had to go into the championship rounds. Jamaine was more skilled, he did a good job.”
Count no less than former Olympic gold medalist and 2-division World Champion Andre Ward, who served as color commentator for Ortiz-Adorno, among those impressed by Ortiz.
“Ortiz outworked Adorno, no doubt, and he never backed down,” Ward commented on air. “I want to see more of Ortiz!’
As entertaining as Ortiz-Adorno was – it may have stolen the entire show – it’s unlikely that there will be a rematch.
“I don’t think he wants to fight me again,” Ortiz reported. “He said something about maybe when we both have world title belts.”
Ortiz has taken advantage of the tremendous opportunities for worldwide exposure in his last two fights. His reward will certainly come, in time, moving up the ratings as people continue jumping on “The Technician” bandwagon.