This Saturday night boxing again heads to the forefront of the Pay Per View landscape. Fans of boxing will be treated to the return of former Pound-for-Pound Kingpin Floyd Mayweather Jr. returning to the ring after a 16-month layoff. On the quite terribly named Star Power on HBO Pay Per View, Mayweather will challenge Victor Ortiz for his WBC Welterweight Championship. Live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada the man known as “Money” makes his return to the squared-circle.
When: Saturday September 17, 2011
Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada
TV: Live on HBO Pay Per View
The Fight: Welterweight Bout for the WBC Welterweight Championship (12 Rounds)
Current Available Betting Lines (from BODOG):
Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. (-625) / “Vicious” Victor Ortiz (+425)
Total Rounds – Over 11½ Rounds (-180) / Under 11½ Rounds (+140)
Unlike some recent fights this one is not carrying a heavy amount of trash-talk or bad blood as the fight date approaches. Instead the promoters are hoping on the distinct styles-clash and the potential in-ring fireworks to sell the fight, as well as the name-value of the two fighters involved. For all accounts this is likely going to be an exciting fight to watch and the contrast in styles will surely make for an exciting potential twelve rounds of action.
Fighter Analysis: “Vicious” Victor Ortiz
Victor Ortiz is a Mexican-American boxer from Garden City, Kansas. He is the current and defending WBC World Welterweight Champion. He is a former Light Welterweight, a division where he was the USBA and WBO NABO championships. He is a former 2008 ESPN Prospect of the Year. Ortiz is a very fan-friendly fighter because of his aggressive style and his knockout power in both hands. Ortiz holds an amazing distinction in his boxing career having knocked down every opponent that he has ever faced.
Ortiz began boxing shortly after the age of seven at the insistence of his Mexican-immigrant father. He went through an extremely tough childhood, where his mother abandoned his family and threw his father into an alcohol induced depression. Soon after, his father also abandoned the family, which caused Ortiz and his five siblings into the foster care system. Ortiz eventually turned to a life of crime and was dealing drugs to support himself at the same time that he won the Kansas Golden Gloves championship.
When he was only sixteen years old Ortiz was noticed by a former Heavyweight boxer named Ron Lyle, when he was training at a community center. In 2003, he took Ortiz to a Junior Olympics tournament, where he won the 132-Pound division going undefeated. He was then offered the chance to move to California to begin training as a professional. Since turning pro, he has compiled a professional record of 29-2-2, with both losses being somewhat controversial (one a DQ where he was dominating his opponent, but was ruled to have landed the KO Punch illegally during a break. The other a loss via Cut in a bout he was winning.)
Ortiz is a very aggressive fighter with knockout power in both of his hands. Despite being a right-handed person, Ortiz fights from a Southpaw stance. He has said in numerous interviews that he feels fighting as a Southpaw allows him to fight with more power and with better defines. In this fight he will be at a slight reach disadvantage, as he stands 5’9″ with a 70-inch reach. He is coming off a career-defining win in his last fight, where he won his WBC title from the previously unbeaten Andre Berto.
Fighter Analysis: Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a five-division world champion and has won ten world titles during his career. He is a former Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year and a former Number-One Pound-for-Pound boxer. Mayweather is undefeated as a professional boxer, with a professional record of 41-0 with 25 wins by way of Knockout. Floyd is an Orthodox fighter, who stands 5’8″ tall and has a reach of 72-inches.
Floyd Mayweather was born into a boxing family. He was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan and began boxing at the age of seven, where he was immediately recognized as a stand-out talent. He is the son of a former welterweight title contender, Floyd Mayweather Sr. His uncles Roger and Jeff Mayweather were also pro fighters, Roger winning two world championships during his professional career.
Mayweather had a very decorated amateur boxing career. He compiled a career record of 84-6 as an amateur and won the national Golden Gloves tournaments in 1993 at 106 pounds, 1994 at 114 pounds and in 1996 at 125 pounds. Throughout his amateur career he developed and continued to perfect his defensive style, the same style he still uses today. Mayweather is a master of the “shoulder-roll” a defensive technique used by speedy, defensive fighters to “roll” with the punches and slip away from damage. During his time as an amateur, Mayweather also won a Bronze Medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics in the Featherweight division.
In 1996 Mayweather fought his first professional bout. He has continued to rise in weight-classes as he has advanced his career, beginning as a Super Featherweight, then Lightweight, then Super Lightweight before fighting the rest of his career as both a Welterweight and Super Welterweight. After his fight against Ricky Hatton in 2007, Mayweather retired from the sport of boxing, still undefeated. However, he has since returned, although fighting somewhat sporadically during his return.
Mayweather remains one of the best defensive fighters of the modern era, and possibly of all time. He has great reflexes and a great ability to counter punch his opponents with ruthless precision. He uses the Philly-Shell defense to protect himself from taking big shots from his opponents and takes advantage when his opponents are exposed. At 34-years old Mayweather is exiting his athletic prime, but has shown no signs of his speed or style hindering him moving forward in his career.
Punching Power: Ortiz has a KO percentage of 66.7% while Mayweather’s is only 60.9%. Ortiz also has the added bonus that he has knocked down all of his professional opponents. The other difference is that really Mayweather does not go for the kill often, as he sees doing so as an unnecessary risk. Ortiz has also claimed that he does not try to knockout his opponents, he simply boxes and the knockdowns occur on their own, without him having to do anything special. The edge here has to go to VICTOR ORTIZ.
Hand and Foot Speed: Both guys are great athletes. Ortiz is a former sprinter and long-distance runner from when he was in high school. However, inside the ring Mayweather is more graceful and light-footed. Their athletic abilities are equal, but when it comes down to reflexes and balance, the edge goes to FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.
Defense: There is probably not a single fighter still boxing who has better defensive skills than Mayweather. Mayweather has switched from his light-footed lateral defines, to more of a flat-footed Philly-Shell style of defense, where he is able to protect himself from the power shots of his opponents. Ortiz on the other hand moves forward behind his strong power punches and often takes shots somewhat unnecessarily. He just doesn’t have the same style as Mayweather, Ortiz is built for aggression, Mayweather for defense and counter-punching. The edge goes to FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.
Heart and Chin: Mayweather has been rocked a few times in his career, but he has only officially been knocked down once. Although, at one point in his 2006 fight against Zab Judah he took a knee, which probably should have counted as a knockdown. Ortiz on the other hand has been dropped six times, and appeared to be seriously rocked against Berto. I’d give the benefit of the doubt to Ortiz here, and blame it more on fighting styles than ability to take a punch. Even with that, Ortiz has shown the heart to return fire and come back against anyone who has ever knocked him down, so I’ll score this one as EVEN.
Fight IQ: This one seems the easiest of all to score. Mayweather has been groomed to be a champion since the day he was born. He was born into a fighting family where his father and uncle are both accomplished fighters and trainers. Ortiz is the only fighter being trained by Danny Garcia but Garcia doesn’t have the same resume as Roger Mayweather. Mayweather often sticks to a well-defined game plan, while Ortiz chooses to fight aggressively, sometimes to his own disadvantage. Edge to FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.
Many people believe that this is simply a tune-up fight for Mayweather to prepare for Manny Pacquiao and seeing some of the similarities between Ortiz and Manny it is hard to disagree. Both Manny and Ortiz are southpaws, both have aggressive styles and both have one-punch knockout power. Whether this is true or not, only Mayweather knows, but it is hard to ignore the similarities.
Mayweather is ten years the elder of Ortiz and is significantly more experienced in big fights. It will likely not faze the younger fighter, however, it is important to note that Mayweather will be the toughest test of his young career. Some numbers to put Mayweather’s edge in experience for you… Mayweather has fought 154 more rounds as a professional than Ortiz. Mayweather has also fought 15 fighters who have held major titles, while Ortiz has only fought 4.
In his most recent fight Ortiz won a hard-fought decision against the previously undefeated Andre Berto. Ortiz dropped Berto in round one, was knocked down by Berto in rounds 2 and 6, and was even deducted a point in round ten, but still won a Unanimous Decision. Ortiz fought a scrappy fight, Ortiz fought the highest output fight of his career and Berto couldn’t keep up. Ortiz threw 58 punches per round and landed over 40% of them. Also, against Berto Ortiz dramatically changed his punch selection. He threw 82% power punches (either hooks, cross or uppercuts) and landed 47% of them. Which is significantly above the Welterweight average of 39.1%. Against an opponent like Mayweather, I would expect Ortiz to employ a similar tactic, continually pushing forward behind power punches, hoping to outwork Mayweather.
However, this will be a tall task as Mayweather has great conditioning and an ability to escape punishment. Mayweather is a master counter-puncher, who will often take advantage of even the smallest openings. By continuing to push forward, Ortiz can make Mayweather focus more on defines and less on counter-punching if he continues to press forward.
Mayweather will likely be expecting this type of fight from Ortiz. He will be well-prepared to fight his usual defensive style. Mayweather will also likely have watched Ortiz’s last fight against Berto and could learn a lot. Despite being out-struck 266-115 in power punches by Ortiz, Berto still landed over 45% of his power punches. In Mayweather’s last three fights, against Ricky Hatton, Shane Moseley and Joan Manuel Marquez, he landed 47% of his power punches. If Ortiz leaves himself open that much against Mayweather it could be a dangerous proposition for him.
Mayweather’s recent defensive statistics are quite possibly the most impressive. He held Juan Manuel Marquez to 12% overall accuracy. He allowed Marquez to land only 69 punches overall (21 jabs and 48 power punches), all this while landing almost 300 of his own punches. Against Moseley he held his opponent to 20% accuracy, allowing Moseley to land only 92 punches overall (46 jabs and 46 power punches.) In that fight Mayweather landed only 208 punches.
Bets and Predictions: This fight offers some interesting plays. I think the line is fairly well set for this fight, with Mayweather as the heavy favorite. He is the superior boxer, with quicker hands and great defense, he will have a strong game plan ready to take on the younger fighter.
I do like the Under rounds, at under 11½ rounds. If Ortiz is going to win, he’s going to need to knock out Mayweather. It’s unlikely that he can win enough rounds to take a decision from Mayweather, who is too strong of a boxer to be out-pointed. However, Ortiz has shown himself to be willing to get punched, and if he gets tagged multiple times, Mayweather should be able to capitalize.
It’s definitely not a lock, as 5 of Mayweather’s last 6 fights have all gone to Decision. However, with the firepower in that ring on Saturday night there is a decent chance that someone won’t make it through 12 rounds. I’ll be making a small bet on the under rounds at +140.
Either way, it should be one hell of a fight and if you’re a boxing fan I wouldn’t recommend that you miss it.