By Gary Purfield
Floyd “Money” Mayweather 41-0 (25 KO) of Grand Rapids, MI currently living in Las Vegas, NV
“Vicious” Victor Ortiz 29-2-2 (22 KO) of Garden City, KA currently living in Oxnard, CA (southpaw)
MGM Grand Las Vegas, NV
Saturday September 17, 2011
Saul Alvarez vs. Alfonso Gomez from Staples Center LA
Erik Morales vs. Pablo Cesar Cano
Jessie Vargas vs. Josesito Lopez
Mayweather UD win over Shane Mosley May 1, 2010
Ortiz UD win over Andre Berto April 16, 2011
This Saturday boxing fans get what is sure to be one of the biggest events of the year. Whether the fight will live up to the expectations remains to be seen but the match-up certainly has fans intrigued. Is Victor Ortiz the young, strong, hungry fighter that finally presents at least a true challenge to Floyd Mayweather? Or will be simply be another notch on the belt of a fighter, who love him or hate him, has beaten everyone in front of him with relative ease for nearly two decades. Let’s take a look inside at the specifics for this Saturday’s big fight.
Boxing ability: Floyd Mayweather is the best boxer in the sport today. It can be argued who the best P4P fighter is between Floyd and Manny but Floyd is the best pure boxer. He does basically every single basic fundamental aspect of the sport to perfection from years of dedicated training to his craft. Ortiz has solid boxing skills but often abandons them to land power punches. Even if Ortiz sticks to strict boxing technique he cannot hope to outbox Mayweather.
Physical: Both fighters are in tremendous shape. They are dedicated and relentless in their preparation not neglecting a single aspect of training. Both will enter the ring in condition to go twelve rounds and have whatever is needed in the tank to win. Mayweather is the more naturally gifted athlete but that is countered by the fact he is ten years older than Ortiz.
Power: This is where Victor must make his stand. Don’t get me wrong, Mayweather has power. His power is often underrated or overlooked due to the focus on his defense and technique. The fact is Mayweather probably could have more knockouts but his safety first defensive nature to box leads to decisions in bouts that could have been a knockout if Mayweather pressed the action. Ortiz is a true power puncher. He has put nearly every single fighter he has ever fought, win, lose, or draw on the canvas. He has the power to hurt any fighter near his weight class and if able to connect on Floyd he will be able to do damage.
Speed: Ortiz is a fast and even speedy fighter. He has quick movement on his feet and fast hands that fire good combinations. Floyd Mayweather has truly elite speed that few fighters can hope to match. He can move in and out of range using his feet as fast as anyone. He can slip a punch and counter with a shot of his own in the blink of an eye. He will be the faster fighter on Saturday.
Defense: Again this one goes to the one who calls himself “Money”. Similar to boxing skills, Mayweather’s defense is the best in the game. Many fighters have come to the ring convinced they had the game plan to get him and found out quickly that actually making contact with the most elusive fighter in the planet is far easier said than done. He can do it multiple ways. He is a master at the shell defense with the shoulder roll slipping punches with his left shoulder. He can employ a high guard and head movement causing punches to glance of his guard with no affect. Then you mix in his expert footwork and you have a near impossible target. Hitting Mayweather is like trying to hit a bull’s eye with a dart. Ortiz is not bad defensively when he fights smart but often gets caught up in brawling causing his guard to slip leaving him open to counters.
Chin: Ortiz’s chin is a question. He went down and bowed out against Maidana. One should note Maidana is one of the hardest punchers in the game and he hit Ortiz with some serious bombs. Then Ortiz turns around almost two years later and absorbs punches from the hard-hitting Berto that sent him to the canvas. Ortiz not only got up but fought with more aggression after being dropped. Which Victor comes Saturday is anyone’s guess. Floyd is so good defensively that his chin is rarely tested. The few times it was including against Judah and Mosley, who landed big shots in the early rounds against Floyd, his chin held up just fine. Remember, this is a fight with a puncher who drops almost everyone and a defensive boxer who has never gone down. One immovable force will have to back up at some point.
Experience: Ortiz has obtained some good experience in his bouts with Maidana, Lamont Peterson, and Berto that have taught valuable lessons, but he is a pup compared to Mayweather. While many critique Floyd’s choice of opponents he has faced some top competition. Maybe more importantly, the PPV spotlight and all the attention that goes with it has become second nature to Mayweather. This will be Ortiz’s first experience under boxing’s brightest lights, giving Floyd a big advantage in the category of which fighter will be more prepared to deal with the extra distractions and expectations of a fight of this magnitude.
Wear and Tear: Ortiz is only twenty four years old. He has been in some tough fights, especially with Maidana, but he has plenty left in the tank so this is not a problem for him. Floyd has really never been in any career changing wars and maintains great care of his body so he should also not be affected here. At the same time Floyd is ten years older at thirty four and has had issues with his hands so a slight edge goes to Victor in this category.
Intangibles: For all the analysis of finite boxing details one could do for this fight, to this writer it will come down to one aspect. This fight will be won by the guy who delivers the one-two. No, not the jab-cross. Step one is who wins the battle of the lead foot, the key in a southpaw vs. orthodox fight. Whoever gets their lead foot consistently outside his opponent’s will have the edge in delivering number two, the cross down the middle. Whether it is Floyd’s straight right or Victor’s booming left the fight could be decided on this punch and who gets to use that punch by getting the lead foot into position.
Keys to Victory
- Let Ortiz come to him and make him eat the straight right all night. Use his perfected shoulder roll to slip shots and counter with the right down the middle which is an orthodox fighter’s best weapon against the southpaw. Mix in his leaping left hook and his underused jab as well to keep Ortiz guessing and he has a simple but effective recipe for the strong pressure fighter.
- Not much else can be said. The beauty to what Floyd does is he has mastered the art of boxing. For all his outbursts outside of the ring he never makes mistakes physically or mentally inside the ring. As long as he does what he has done in past fights he is more than likely coming out the winner.
- This section could go on for several pages to list all the things Victor will have to do right to pull the upset (for a more in depth look at this, check out Kelsey McCarson’s article on theboxingtribune titled “More than Vicious” for an in depth look at what Ortiz needs to do). In short, box smart at times using the jab which he forgets too often. Be “vicious” when the moment calls for it but it must be a controlled aggression. Lastly he must keep his composure against the most controlled fighter he has ever seen in the ring.
- Technically, Ortiz must win the battle of the lead foot discussed above . Floyd can afford to lose that battle and get away with it by shoulder rolling punches. Victor will have no such luck. If Ortiz loses the footwork battle he will eat right hands in what will be a long painful night. He also needs to circle to his right away from Floyd’s right hand (Ortiz normally circles the “wrong” way to his left).
Prediction: Last week before Klitschko vs. Adamek I said I found myself wanting to pick the underdog until rational sanity took over. I am having déjà vu. While I see ways for Victor to win such as being bigger, stronger, and younger, in the end I think the majority obvious opinion is correct in this case. Victor will have his moments early and into the middle rounds but Floyd is simply too good and too experienced for the young lion. Ortiz will land some good shots and even may have Floyd in trouble a few times. But the master boxer will survive and adjust as he does so well every time and take control just like he did in round two of the fight with Mosley after getting rocked. By the late rounds he will be in full control out-boxing his young opponent. I do think the determined Ortiz that fought Berto will be the one in the ring and he will not get knocked out. He will be getting hurt late but his resilience along with Floyd’s careful safe tactics will allow him to see the final bell. Mayweather wins somewhere around eight rounds to four.
Floyd Mayweather vs. Zab Judah: This was the last time Mayweather fought a fast, hard punching southpaw. Zab was faster with more athletic talent than Ortiz but Victor is bigger, stronger, and likely more determined than Super Judah.
Victor Ortiz vs. Lamont Peterson: I chose the draw with Peterson over the Berto fight because while Peterson is no Mayweather he fits Floyd’s style much closer than the brawling Berto. Peterson is fast and slick. When Victor was good early in the fight he showed a small piece of what he will need to beat Floyd.
If you are looking for Mayweather vs. Mosley or Ortiz vs. Berto they are on HBO On Demand all week. So get your fill of pre-fight excitement on HBO along with the YouTube videos above and make your own judgment and analysis of Saturday’s battle.
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