RIP Carlos Ortiz (1936-2022)

Boxing has lost another legend with the passing of the great Carlos Ortiz. The Puerto Rican who ruled the world at both 135 and 140 pounds passed away over the weekend, the WBC announced. One of the greatest lightweights in boxing history, Ortiz reigned at 135 pound for an impressive six years, across two reigns, and he made nine title retentions in total.

Ortiz retired with a superb 61-7-1(30) record in 1972, this after a stoppage defeat to fellow great Ken Buchanan. In total Ortiz was stopped just the one time. Going pro in New York in February of 1955, aged just 18, Ortiz first became a champion at 140 pounds, when he stopped Kenny Lane (in a return meeting, Ortiz having lost to Lane on points) to win the NBA/NYSAC super-lightweight title at Madison Square Garden.

But it was down at 135 pounds that Ortiz made his real mark on the sport. Ortiz engaged in legendary fights with the likes of Joe Brown, Flash Elorde, Lane again, Ismael Laguna, and Sugar Ramos.

Ortiz won the WBA lightweight title with a points win over Brown in April of 1962, the fight taking place in Las Vegas. Ortiz then added the WBC belt to his collection with a TKO win over Douglas Vaillant in San Juan in 1963. Ortiz lost the titles in a close battle with Laguna in Panama in 1965, before Ortiz got his revenge seven months later, the return fight taking place in San Juan. The two would fight a rubber-match in Queens, New York in 1967 with Ortiz winning via unanimous decision.

Ortiz twice defeated Elorde by KO, and he also stopped Ramos twice. Also, Ortiz boxed a non-title fight draw with defensive genius Nicolino Locche, this in Argentina in 1966. Ortiz’ second reign as 135 pound king came to an end in the summer of 1968, when he was decisioned by Carlos Teo Cruz. Ortiz never fought in another world title fight yet he went on to score ten wins, 8 by KO, before the fight with Buchanan. In total, Ortiz fought as a pro for 17 years.

Ortiz was enshrined into The Hall of Fame in 1991. A true world champion in the key sense of the word, Ortiz fought all over the globe. Our condolences go out to Ortiz’ family and friends.

Image (c) World Boxing Council