It’ll be a knockout, technically speaking
Boxer Michael Ortega was born and raised in north Sacramento. By the young age of 13, he knew that he “really wanted to fight.” Ortega hit up the local gym, Prime Time Boxing, walking distance from his house. He trained for a couple months, eventually becoming an assistant, working for free instruction. He fought his first fight at 14.
“I won, of course,” Ortega says. “The look in my dad’s eyes, and everyone else there, my family, let me know that this was where I wanted to be, to be a boxer.”
This Friday, Ortega, a 147-pound welterweight who still trains in Sac, will make his pro-boxing debut at Raley Field’s Night Out, Lights Out, an evening of six amateur and five professional fights outdoors in West Sacramento. Former fighter Tony “the Tiger” Lopez is the event’s promoter.
“I’m just preparing like it’s the biggest fight of my life, because it is the biggest fight of my life,” Ortega says. Leading up to the bout, he’s been working out full time: running in the morning, lifting weights in the afternoon, three hours of boxing, then more running at night. Ortega has the experience, a Golden Gloves champion, but this fight is everything.
“I’m a dying breed,” Ortega says, jokingly. But he’s right: Athletes more often than not opt to become mixed martial artists, ultimate fighters, instead of boxers. Fans follow suit, preferring the sweat and blood of kicks and submissions over haymakers and jabs.
But the sport’s by no means down for the eight count, and Friday night under the stars at Raley Field’s ballpark will showcase pro boxing at its best, a rare treat for Sacramento.