Carlos Ortiz (born September 9, 1936) is a Puerto Rican who was a three time world boxing champion, twice in the lightweight division and once in the Jr. Welterweights.
Ortiz, born in Ponce, started his professional career in 1955 with a first round knockout of Harry Bell in New York. An immigrant to the United States before he began boxing as a professional, he would campaign there during the first stages of his career. After 9 bouts there, he fought outside New York for the first time, moving to Massachusetts to knock Al Duarte out in 4 rounds. His next 3 bouts were also outside New York, but he stayed within the confines of New England, as they happened, once again in Massachusetts, and in New Jersey.
He returned to New York again and won 4 more bouts in a row, then made his California debut, beating Mickey Northrup by a decision in 10 rounds. 2 more fights in California and one in New York went by, after which he returned to California to meet Lou Filippo, nowadays a member of the International Boxing Hall Of Fame as a referee. Filippo was also one of the guys who participated in 1982's Rocky III, as one of the referees. The first time, it was declared a no-contest after 9 rounds, but in the second, Carlos prevailed, by a knockout in 9. 5 more wins followed, and then he met Johnny Busso, who handled Carlos his first loss, on a 10 round decision. That fight was held in New York, and in an immediate rematch between Ortiz and Busso, Carlos won, also by a 10 round decision, and also in New York.
Next Carlos flew to England to meet Dave Charnley, who was considered one of the top challengers of that time. Ortiz won on a 10 round decision, after which promoters thought he was ready for a world title try.
Carlos met Kenny Lane for the vacant world Jr. Welterweight title, in New York on the night of June 12, 1959. Lane had handled Carlos his second loss months before, winning a 10 round decision over Ortiz in Florida. This time, Carlos became the World's Jr Welterweight champion, knocking out Lane in 2 rounds.Ortiz had become the first Puerto Rican world boxing champion since Sixto Escobar more than 30 years before, and only the second Puerto Rican world boxing champion ever. Unfortunately for him, not much importance was being given to that division at the time, since that division's title had been vacant for 13 years. But Carlos defended his title twice, knocking out former world lightweight champion Battling Torres in Torres' background of Los Angeles, and beating Duilio Loi in 15 rounds by decision at San Francisco.
His next fight was a rematch with Loi, and it took Ortiz to Milan, Italy to defend his crown. This time, it was Loi's turn to become a world champion, winning by a 15 round decision.
After another win, Ortiz travelled to Milan once again, and met Loi in a rubber match. This time, he lost again, by 15 round decision.
Instead of going up in weight, like most boxerss throughout history have done after losing the title in their original division, Ortiz went down in weight, and challenged world champion Joe Brown (also a member of the International Boxing Hall Of Fame). Ortiz won a 15 round decision over Brown on April 21 of 1962 in Las Vegas, to win his second world title, this time in his second championship division. Ortiz defended with a 5 round knockout of Teruo Kosaka in Tokyo before making his Puerto Rican debut, with a 13 round knockout win over Doug Valiant to retain his title on April 7, 1963 in San Juan.
A knockout win in 14 rounds over another hall of famer, Gabriel Elorde, Flash in the Philippines followed, and then a remach with Lane, this time Ortiz retaining his world Lightweight title with a 15 round decision in San Juan. But in 1965 he went to Panama and fought yet another member of the International Boxing Hall Of Fame, Ismael Laguna who defeated him in 15 rounds to claim Ortiz's world Lightweight title. A rematch in San Juan followed, and Ortiz regained the world Lightweight title beating Laguna by a 15 round decision also.
1966 saw Ortiz draw with world Jr Welterweight champion Nicolino Locche in a ten round non-title affair in Argentina, and retain his title vs Johnny Bizarro (KO in 12 in Pittsburgh), Sugar Ramos (another International Boxing Hall Of Fame Member, ko in 5 rounds in Mexico City) and Flash Elorde, also by ko in 14 at a New York rematch. The Ramos fight proved controversial, because the WBC's president proclaimed at first that the punch with which Ortiz had beaten Ramos with had been illegal, but he later reconsidered and gave Ortiz the title , and the knockout victory, back, with the condition that a rematch be fought in the future.
And so 1967 came, and Ortiz and Ramos met once again, this time in San Juan. Ortiz retained the title by a knockout in 4 rounds, and this time the bout went without any controversies. Then, he and Laguna fought a third time, and Ortiz retained his title by a 15 round decision in New York.
June 29, 1968, proved to be Ortiz's last day as a world champion, as he lost his world lightweight title to DominicanCarlos Cruz on a 15 round decision in the Dominican Republic. There was going to be a rematch to be held in San Juan, but Cruz tragically died in the Dominicana De AviacionDC-9 crash off the Dominican Republic's Atlantic Ocean coast when he was flying to meet Ortiz in a rematch, in the same plane crash that also killed most members of the Puerto Rican Women's National Volleyball team, as well as the rest of the passengers on the plane (see: Dominicana DC-9 air disaster).
Ortiz kept on fighting, but he never got another chance at a world title. He retired after losing at the Madison Square Garden by a knockout in 6 rounds to another future hall of famer, Ken Buchanan. It was the only time he was stopped in his career. His final record was of 61 wins, 7 losses and 1 draw, with one bout declared a no-contest and 30 knockout wins.
Ortiz is also a member of the International Boxing Hall Of Fame and he always enjoys to take photos with his fans and sign autographs for them.
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