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Carlos Ortiz was born September 9, 1936, in Ponce, Puerto Rico. At the age of eight, his family moved to New York, and it was there that Carlos first learned to fight. He fought the neighborhood bullies who taunted him because of his ethnic background and learned the skills and will to win which would help make him one of the greatest boxers of all time. He started boxing in the Boys Club and turned professional at the age of 18, on February 14, 1955. He stopped Harry Bell in one round in his debut.
He won his first 20 bouts before he lost a decision to Johnny Busso. Ortiz came right back to beat Busso three months later. In 1959, Ortiz defeated slick southpaw Kenny Lane to win the World Jr. Welterweight title. He defended his title successfully three times before finally losing it to the great Duilio Loi, in Loi’s hometown of Milan, Italy.
On April 21, 1962, Ortiz received the opportunity to fight “Old Bones” Joe Brown for Brown’s World Lightweight title. Ortiz devised the perfect fight stategy of working his jab overtime and avoiding toe to toe exchanges. He followed the game plan perfectly and won the coveted title with a one-sided decision. He lost and regained his title, in back to back fights, with Hall of Fame champion Ismael Laguna. He finally lost the title for good against Carlos Teo Cruz, in Santo Domingo (Cruz’s hometown), on a disputed split decision in 1968.
Ortiz retired for a couple of years and then made a comeback in 1971 and 1972, with nine consecutive knockout victories. He was then stopped by another Hall of Famer, Ken Buchanan, on September 20, 1972, and then he retired for good. His fabulous career record was 61-7-1, with 30 K.O.’s. Ortiz was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991.