1967-08-16 Carlos Ortiz w pts 15 Ismael Laguna, Shea Stadium, Queens, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD

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1967-08-16 Carlos Ortiz w pts 15 Ismael Laguna, Shea Stadium, Queens, NYC, New York, USA - WORLD. Referee: Arthur Mercante. Scorecards: 10-4, 11-3, 10-4. Dominating much of the fight despite being cut over both eyes, Ortiz (135) showed his experience by only fighting when he had to and countering to perfection. When Laguna (135) did come forward he was often discouraged by hooks and uppercuts and was almost floored on several occasions. The last five rounds saw Ortiz going all out for the kayo, but the fast-moving Laguna, holding when he had to, avoided all of his efforts and deservedly made it to the final bell.

Following this one, Ortiz took a well-earned rest from boxing, while pondering on whether to move up to welter and challenge Curtis Cokes, despite being a natural lightweight. Ortiz was quoted as saying that he would like to win the welterweight title, but he would not want to keep it. There was also a threat of litigation from a Mexican promoter, who demanded that Ortiz honour a contractual agreement to defend his title prior to 4 February 1968 in Mexico City. Regardless of whether it was an obligation or not, Bill Daly, Ortiz’s manager, stated clearly that the champion would not be going anywhere near Mexico City ever after what happened following the Sugar Ramos fight. Cut on the head by flying objects and needing police protection to leave the arena safely, going back was not even an option.

At the end of January 1968 it was reported that Ortiz’s manager had reached a tentative agreement for a defence against Carlos Teo Cruz in Santo Domingo on 24 February, but this was debunked by the champion who stated that he would not be risking his title until May. Following this, Cruz’s manager appealed to the WBC and NYSAC to prod Ortiz, who had passed the every six-month defence regulation, into signing up to meet his man and a few weeks later a championship match was contracted and set for Santo Domingo sometime in June. Cruz had been a pro since 1959, winning 19 of his first 31 contests, but had come good in losing just once in his last 18 outings.