There's something else Ortiz will bring to the ring: peace. He speaks regularly with Carmen. He's an investor in Temo's trucking company in Garden City. He has even achieved some resolution with his parents. Two years ago Ortiz reached out to his father. It didn't go well, but he is happy that he tried. Last December he reconnected with his mother. Ortiz says Manuela admitted her mistakes and asked for forgiveness. She calls regularly now, and Ortiz is slowly allowing her back into his life. (Neither Manuela nor Victor Sr. could be reached for comment.)
Ortiz seems ready. But the tune-up tag has stuck. Mayweather picks opponents with infinite care. Ortiz is an aggressive, hard-hitting southpaw who fights a lot like another aggressive, hard-hitting southpaw: Manny Pacquiao. Ortiz, many believe, is just a rehearsal for the real thing. Not that Ortiz cares. He knows beating Mayweather will be a big challenge. "But," he says, the smile returning, "I've overcome a lot bigger."