Mexican-American professional boxer and WBC Welterweight Champion-turned-actor Victor Ortiz was flexing and smiling for the camera alongside Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson for the premiere of Southpaw” in New York on July 20.
Much of the hype surrounding the film is Gyllenhaal’s intense workout regimen, which got him ripped and shredded for the role as light heavyweight Billy “The Great” Hope.
“Yes, he’s an actor, but he became a boxer,” said Ortiz, The Wall Street Journal reports. “He was very hard on himself.”
Ortiz plays Ramone, “a flyweight kid from the streets with real sparring potential. The character parallels Ortiz’s own rags-to-riches story of rising from childhood as a foster kid, to brawling his way to the championship belt in 2011,” according to Deadline.
Ortiz made his feature film debut as one of the Young Expendables in “Expendables 3,” a role he was personally recruited for by Sylvester Stallone, Deadline adds.
“Southpaw” tells the compelling story of Billy “The Great” Hope, reigning Junior Middleweight Boxing Champion of the World (played by Gyllenhaal). With a stellar career, a stunning wife (played by McAdams), and an adorable daughter (Oona Laurence), Hope seems to be on top of the world until tragedy strikes.
His lifelong manager and friend (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson) moves on without him, which is devastating for Hope. He turns to an “unlikely savior at a run-down local gym,” Tick Willis (played by Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker), a retired fighter and trainer for the city’s toughest amateur boxers. Under Tick’s wing, Hope tries to redeem himself and regain the trust of his loved ones.
The film is directed by Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”) and written by Kurt Sutter (“Sons of Anarchy”) and also stars Miguel Gomez as well as Forest Whitaker, Clare Foley, Rita Ora and Naomie Harris.
Check out the official trailer for “Southpaw,” which hits theaters on Friday, July 24.