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Floyd Mayweather JR: Overlooking Victor Ortiz – A Boxing Upset in the Making

By Geno McGahee

On September 17th, Floyd Mayweather, JR., 41-0, 25 KO’s, will return to the ring against the brawling WBC Welterweight Champion, Victor Ortiz, 29-2-2, 22 KO’s, and the focus of the media has not been on the champion, but on Floyd, and on his eventual showdown with Manny Pacquiao. Even Floyd hasn’t said much about Ortiz. The victory over Ortiz is a certainty to most, but there are some things that should be taken into consideration before dismissing his threat to “Money” Mayweather.

Ortiz has two defeats on his record and two draws, but realistically, his record should read: 31-1-1, 22 KO’s. He was disqualified early in his career for hitting an opponent when he was down and he was cheated out of a victory against Lamont Peterson. His one defeat still haunts his career however and that loss may actually help him mentally here against Floyd.

On June 27th, 2009, Ortiz stepped into the ring with the unknown Marcos Maidana. It was a war where both men exchanged knockdowns but Ortiz quit and spoke of retirement after the fight. In boxing, the media and fans are quick to judge. Larry Holmes, one of the greatest champions of all time, was called a coward for most of his career because of an amateur exploit where he crawled out of the ring. Holmes became defined by courage, eventually, and Ortiz now faces the same sort of ridicule and criticism.

Since that loss, he has gone 5-0-1 with 3 KO’s. He has beaten former champions Vivian Harris (KO-3) and Nate Campbell (W-10), and won the title over the highly rated and undefeated at the time, Andre Berto (W-12). These three fights are good preparation for Floyd, and he is a much bigger threat than Shot Shane Mosley and the much smaller Juan Manuel Marquez, the two most recent opponents for Mayweather.

Ortiz is a powerful southpaw, aggressive and young at 24 years old. He sees this opportunity as a career defining fight and will not be a pushover for the returning Mayweather, JR. He has to apply pressure every round and what helps him is that Floyd has some troubles with southpaws. Zab Judah had him down and found the mark and DeMarcus Corley also hurt him. Both men are southpaws and Ortiz should be able to land if he fights a smart fight.

What Floyd sees in Ortiz is the raw brawler. Lamont Peterson out-boxed him easily at times and if he can accomplish that, Floyd should have a field day. But Ortiz is constantly improving and will be not be sleepwalking as he was at times with Peterson…at least I don’t believe he will.

Mayweather has been pre-occupied with Pacquiao as of late. The war of words from the two camps continues and Ortiz has been dismissed and amazingly, so has Juan Manuel Marquez, Manny’s next foe, a man that nearly beat him twice.

Mayweather plays boxing by his own rules. He has made a great deal of money, which is the point, but the all time great fighters are usually incredibly active and he has been far less than that. He fought 2 times in 2007, didn’t fight in 2008, fought once in 2009, and once in 2010. Even with his incredible skill, he cannot cheat father time and cannot play the game this way without paying some price. Considering that he set up two mismatches (Mosley, Marquez) on his return to the sport, this fight with Ortiz is doubly dangerous.

The smart money is on Floyd in this fight, but this is the most dangerous foe he’s had since his fight with Zab Judah in 2006. Ortiz is hungry, motivated, and powerful. His defense is suspect, but his heart isn’t, and he will press forward. If he can avoid getting discouraged and gun shy, he may pull off the biggest upset in 2011. This fight is a lot more interesting then people give it credit for.

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