Victor Ortiz is not ready to quit his day job as a champion boxer, but he’s been practicing some dance moves with partner Lindsay Arnold in Season 16 of Dancing With the Stars. And they’re doing something right because Team Victor is one of the eight teams still standing.
We caught up with Victor in this exclusive interview. What’s the difference between dancing and boxing? He has fearlessly faced dozens of contenders in the ring, but did his knees start to shake when he approached the dance floor? Read on to find out. And don’t miss Dancing with the Stars, hosted by Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke-Charvet, Mondays at 8/7c and Tuesdays at 9/8c on ABC.
What has your experience with Dancing with the Stars been like?
Victor Ortiz: Dancing With the Stars has been a pretty fun journey. I’m just enjoying the time, enjoying meeting new people, meeting the cast. It’s a fun time.
Do you hang out with the rest of the celebrities on a regular basis or even backstage?
VO: I actually hang out with some of them. We go out and get some food here and there. Jacoby [Jones] and I have grown to be pretty close. He’s a good dude, big guy. Andy Dick comes over to the house, we just hang. He’s a good person as well. Tristan is one of the dancers, we hang out. Val [Chmerkovskiy] always has cookouts. Mark [Ballas], we also hang out a bit. I’ve become close with many from the cast. It’s almost like we became a big family. Lisa [Vanderpump] is one of my favorite people to be around. She’s amazing. But she got eliminated. Other than that, Kellie Pickler and her husband are pretty amazing.
Who do you think is your biggest competition right now?
VO: Everybody because I’m not that great!
How is Lindsay Arnold as a partner?
VO: It’s a hard thing. She’s an awesome person but we often miscommunicate. But by the time we figure things out, we’re spot on.
It’s almost like you have to read each other’s mind, since you’re working as a couple. This doesn’t happen in boxing. How different is this experience from boxing?
VO: Boxing and dancing have nothing in common at all. I’d choose a boxing match over dancing any day.
Was this experience hard? Coming out and dancing in front of all those people? Any stage-fright?
VO: Oh, absolutely. Actually, the stage fright didn’t actually kick in until a couple of weeks ago when I almost got eliminated. It happened on stage, while dancing.
Did you have any dancing experience before Dancing With the Stars?
VO: No, never. Never!
Latinos have always been known for being great dancers. Do you feel extra pressure because of that? Do you feel support from the Latino community?
VO: Oh, I’m not good at dancing. I’m one of those Latinos who suck at dancing. [Laughs.] I don’t feel the pressure. Whatever I’m doing is a plus on my end because I’m so bad at dancing. Probably Latinos can dance, but I’m not one of them. As far as support goes, I don’t go on Twitter, I don’t do social networks. I don’t really know what’s going on. I’ve just been really trying to stay alive in this competition. I’ve been rehearsing quite a bit. I’ve heard others say a lot of people are being supportive. That’s very good.
I’m sure you have many supporters out there, more than you probably even realize. Just know that people are rooting for you.
VO: Oh, thanks!
What do you want people to learn about Victor Ortiz?
VO: From this experience I would just like people to take a minute and observe that I’m more than just a boxer. I’m not your typical fighter. Just for anyone who has a certain stereotype about boxers, not every boxer is a rude individual that wears their pride on their shoulder or thinks they’re so awesome because they fight. I think it’s fair just to sit back and look at everyone individually and say, “Hey, you know what? He’s a good guy!” Or, I mean, not everybody is a good person, especially in my world. There are a lot of snakes. At the end of the day, just give us a chance.
You’re in sports. You know you win some and lose some. How do you deal with failure?
VO: I recover quickly. I recover very quickly from my losses in boxing, because boxing isn’t my world. I love what I do, it’s what I was born to do, but at the same time I understand and I realize it’s just a sport. I take it for what it’s worth. If something happens, you know, it is what it is.
What’s next for Victor Ortiz?
VO: After this is over, I’m going back to fighting. I hope to be back in the ring sometime around summer.
Do you watch any reality TV?
VO: I don’t like reality shows, actually. They’re trying to make a reality TV show about me and I’m always saying. “No, thank you.” I do like this TV show called House.