Benny Ricardo previews Mayweather vs Ortiz
Mayweather vs Ortiz
By Benny Ricardo
I am convinced of two things when I think of Floyd Mayweather Jr. One is that the
human being that will eventually put away Floyd Mayweather Jr will be wearing a block robe and neither the robe nor the human being will come off their bench to render the decision that puts away the man known as “Money”.
I’m also convinced that Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the greatest fighter of his generation.
Often times you hear people refer to boxing as a metaphor for life, for Floyd Mayweather Jr, life is a metaphor for boxing.
Living boxing between the ropes is easy for Mayweather and all you have to do is look at his 41-0 record and 25 knockouts to know that. Living life within the law however, is the hard part for him and you merely have to look at his police record to know that.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. was born to be a boxer, he laced up the gloves at the age of 6 and his hands were cast in leather ever since. Growing up on Cass Street in Grand Rapids, Michigan you had to be a fighter and a great one at that. Growing up on Cass Street were three fighting Mayweathers, Floyd, Roger and Jeff as was Heavyweight Champion Tony Tucker, and World Middleweight king, James Toney.
That cast may not make a great basketball team, but you’d hate to have to fight them afterwards. The pull counter, stiff arm, feint, hook off the jab, the elbows, the rolling shoulders, the angles, the check hooks, every boxing trick was perfected by these Cass Street residents.
But none was born with the kind of tools that Floyd Mayweather’s son would be born with. Floyd Jr., was born with speed, reflexes, and the uncanny ability to be the Zen master of his craft. Those that are born with abilities are not always born with desire. But when extraordinary ability is combined with an obsessive desire to succeed, you have a 41-0 record with 25 knockouts.
Mayweather’s is 15-0 against opponents who have held world titles and in his last four fights, he has averaged 1.5 million pay per view home buys. In 2007 against Oscar De La Hoya, Mayweather set the all time record for pay per view home buys at 2.45 million. Thus the name “Money” Mayweather.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. can best be described as a natural with grit, determination and the insatiable appetite to exceed the limits of his abilities. All the time though intriguing people to hate him or love him, mostly hate him but even the hate he turns into money.
The defining moment for Floyd Mayweather Jr’s boxing career was on January 20, 2001 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Maywether was 24-0 and stepped up to meet the tall lanky warrior with a whack and a 33-0 record named Diego “Chico” Corrales. Speed against power and on this night speed turned to power and Corrales found himself as helpless as screen door against a Hurricane. Down went Corrales five times during that fight until his corner threw in the towel to stop the slaughter in the 10th round.
Mayweather that night was the wreaker of random carnage while making himself the narrowest moving target. All Corrales could do that night was feel the thump of solid contact on his being.
This is how all of Mayweahter’s opponents have felt when facing his speed and skill level. But with success comes a price and Mayweather’s hands have had to pay the price.
So the price has had to be in the mega millions for Mayweather’s injured hands to have to pay the price. This is why Mayweather has not fought more than twice in one year since 2007.
But at no time has Mayweather let himself get out of shape. Mayweather is a gym rat that loves his craft and seeks perfection in the ring.
His uncle and former World Champion Roger Mayweather has been training him for 17 years. Uncle Roger was there in Floyd’s corner for his first pro fight against Roberto Apodaca while Floyd Sr, was serving time in prison for drugs.
Like the stories of Eric Clapton playing a guitar until his fingers bled, so too are the stories of a Mayweather workout pushing himself to unthinkable limits of getting every inch of his body ready for the battle. Lifting weights for his neck, the sit-ups that starts him out flat on his back and end up with him standing up, the hours of speed training. This discipline and desire is what makes Mayweather back up everything that he spews out.
If you were to fight Mayweather, the most astonishing thing you would realize is not the way he would hit you, but the fact that you can’t hit him. The stiff arm, the elbows, the rolling shoulder, the angles, it is the ultimate execution of the sweet science. Mayweather is the greatest defensive fighter of all time.
If you did reach him like Mosley did with a big shot, the weights he lifted with his neck come into play and the neck takes the shot and comes back firing.
I really believe he has influenced other fighters namely Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan with his workouts. Alex Ariza who is the conditioning trainer for both Pacquiao and Khan has been brought in by trainer Freddy Roach to specifically try to duplicate Mayweather like results in the physical conditioning of these elite fighters.
So now comes a 24-year old opponent, fresh of a great upset of a previously unbeaten 27-0 WBC Welterweight Champion Andre Berto. Both fighters legitimately went down in this fight about as many times as David Haye flopped in his fight against Wladimir Klirtschko. At the end of the war it was Victor Ortiz with his hands up as the Unanimous Decision winner over Berto.
In upsetting Berto, the 24-year old Ortiz realized his goal of becoming a world champion. For Ortiz his whole life has been that of the underdog upsetting the odds.
Like Mayweather, fighting in the ring is the easy part of life. Living life has been the hardest part for him and it has prepared him to face any obstacle in the ring.
His mother left his father and her three kids for another man when Victor was seven years old. His father’s pain led him to alcohol and his pain turned into violent rages where pain was inflicted on the Ortiz kids.
Victor through his fists would try and find solace for his younger brother. Victor left and Kansas and joined his sister in Denver and told his younger brother he would come back for him, his brother doubted him and told him he would never come back for him.
Not only did Ortiz come back for his brother, he showed his younger brother the papers that made Victor his legal guardian. Now it was time for the brothers to go chase their goals.
With the help of former Heavyweight contender Ron Lyle in Denver, Ortiz would win a Junior Olympics tournament. Robert Garcia, the World Champion, would notice Ortiz and brought him to train with his family in Oxnard, California. Training at the Ortiz family La Colonia Youth Boxing Club, Ortiz would hone up his boxing skills in the gym and on the beaches of Ventura he became a surfer.
Life became good for Ortiz but the dream was not over. Ortiz would develop quite a relationship with Daniel Garcia and later would have Daniel be his exclusive trainer, splitting from the rest of the Garcia family.
I asked Freddy Roach what he remembered about Ortiz and he said “I remember he had some heated sparring sessions with Manny and he was very, very strong.”
Ortiz showed that strength against Marcos Maidana and Antonio Diaz.
Against the veteran Nate Campbell, Ortiz showed that he could not just win by knockouts but outfox a veteran with his southpaw style.
Ortiz has amazing power and it comes from both sides. The biggest mistake fighters that have faced Mayweather in the past have made is to try and counter him. They were so aware of his speed that they thought countering was the way. That was a horrible mistake, ask Ricky Hatton.
Ortiz is not the countering type, he is going to take the fight to Mayweather like he did when trying to live up to promise he made his brother to come get him. Ortiz knows he is facing the greatest fighter of his entire life, but then look at the life odds he has already conquered.
Mayweather’s footwork is a thing of beauty and it is all made possible by his maniacal ways of physically preparing himself for all of his fights. Ortiz like the great fighters has that calm inside the ring, where it is a natural state for him. Nervous energy does not consume up to forty-percent of their energy like it does most other fighters.
Mayweather on the other hand is like the Executioner, Bernard Hopkins. He can execute a plan to perfection and have the presence of mind when facing the most dangerous situations to be in the moment and execute their plan to perfection.
Remember how Mayweather planted the perfect trap on Hatton? Referee Joe Cortez erred badly in taking away a point on Hatton for what he thought was a punch behind the head. What Cortez did not see was that Hatton’s punch hit the ropes and never hit Mayweather. But the trap had been set when the point was taken away. Now Mayweather knew Hatton would be stepping on the pedal to come at him and there was the check hook waiting to land with some anesthesia in it.
I really believe that Ortiz is going to come at Mayweather right from the opening bell. He is going to take a shot and he has been trained to not just aim for the head. Aim for the shoulder and be glad for what you strike. Make the most of the moment.
DeMarcus Corley was a southpaw as was Zab Judah and as is Victor Ortiz.
Corley had his moments with Mayweather as did Judah, but Mayweather found the way to be in the moment solve their styles. I don’t believe either Corley or Judah have the power of Ortiz or the conviction. For Ortiz this is a life and death fight and he will bring it. Again what is a fight in the ring to overcome when he has already overcome. He was once a 10-year old with a younger brother in tow trying to find a place to live on the streets of Kansas and lived to tell about it.
This is a different version of a Wizard of Oz story coming out of Kansas. It is not Dorothy, it is Victor with his brother and a heart the cowardly lion was looking for fighting leaving Kansas. Leaving Kansas to use his fists to live out a dream of fighting and becoming a World Champion.
So now that you know the roads that led to this fight here is what you have for this fight.
Age: Victor Ortiz is 24 and Mayweather is 34, but a young, fresh and other than the hands an unmarked 34 year old. Ortiz is a fighter in his prime with a mental state derived from overcoming tremendous obstacles in life.
Size: Victor Ortiz is taller at 1.75cm to Mayweather’s 1.73cm. Mayweather’s has never weighed more than 68.18 kilograms on the night of the fight.
Ortiz weighed 72.6 kilograms the night of the Berto fight.
Reach: Mayweather has a reach of 183cm while Ortiz has a 178cm reach. You also have to measure elbows as nobody uses them better than Mayweather.
Activity: Mayweather has not fought since May 1st, 2010 while Ortiz fought Berto on April 16, 2011. Inactivity has never affected Mayweather as he trains every single day of his life and never lets himself get out of shape. If anything the long layoff might hurt Ortiz more as it has been over a year since he lost fought. Mayweather is used to inactivity and it does not affect him but instead preserves his hands.
Southpaw: Zab Judah and DeMarcus Corley were southpaws that despite having their moments were left on the losing end of Unanimous Decision wins by Mayweather. Ortiz is a southpaw with power in both hands and punches with conviction. He’s also the biggest man Mayweather will have ever faced in the ring and one mistake could prove disastrous for Mayweather. But then that’s why he lifts weights with his neck. Get ready for a lightning like quick chess game in the ring.
Speed: Mayweather is the fastest fighter I have ever seen, Sugar Ray Leonard and Duke McKenzie included. Ortiz is going to swat at air, get dust and some well planned elbows and shoulders. Mayweather is Baryshnikov in the ring pounding out a beating in a beautifully précised and brilliant manner. Ortiz can overcome Mayweather’s speed with his persistence.
Power: Victor Ortiz has knocked out 22 of his 29 opponents, Mayweather 25 of his 41 opponents. Mosley landed a monster shot in the second round that sent a ‘Mayday, Mayday’ warning to Mayweather’s brain. Ortiz lands a shot like that and ‘Pretty Boy’ Mayweather could be ‘Pretty Hurt’ Mayweather. Ortiz has the punch to end the evening with one punch. Mayweather does not have the power to end the night against Ortiz with one punch.
Motivation: Strange that we have to talk about this as it should be a given, but sometimes what a fighter seeks and how it plays itself out in the fight is so important for the outcome. Mayweather is motivated by $40 million reasons for this fight and the win sets up a $100 million reason fight with Pacquiao. So is there a danger of Mayweather looking past Ortiz, absolutely not! This is where inactivity actually helps Mayweather. He will be looking to test himself in all aspects of his game. Mayweather knows his body well and knows what to expect of it. For Ortiz this is the biggest purse of his life and he will be fighting in the biggest stage of his boxing life.
Does he get caught up in it? Nah, Ortiz already survived the streets of Kansas at night looking for food and shelter for him and his brother while not even a teen yet. Ortiz is not just a power puncher, he beat Campbell by decision, so he can box and not be frustrated to not get a knockdown or knockout. Will Ortiz just be content with a good showing or will he fight like it’s his last chance on earth? He will bring it like it’s his last fight on earth. The “0” will never go, is the motivation for Mayweather and regardless if he loses the remaining of his fights in his career, he is a first ballot Hall of Famer, but his expectations of himself is to go in to the Hall with the “0” readily visible.
Styles: One is a brawler and one is a boxer. The brawler is a southpaw and the boxer is conventional in stance. Have you seen this before? Marvin Hagler was the Brockton Brawler fighting as a southpaw; Sugar Ray Leonard was the speed merchant who boxed out of his righty stance. Ortiz is the Southpaw Brawler and Mayweather is the lightning like boxing righty. Like Hagler, Ortiz is the bigger man, like Leonard, Mayweather is the quicker man and the thinking executioner patiently but quickly hitting his spots. Pick your punishment. Leonard totally neutralized Hagler’s power with footwork and speed of hands. Mayweather will have to do the same. Ortiz on the other hand can’t make the mistake that Hagler did and try to counter Leonard. Ortiz has to throw often towards Mayweather’s shoulder and get to his body.
Floyd Mayweather boxes his way to a decision is my conclusion. You will see Baryshnikov in the ring wearing boxing gloves and pounding Ortiz like he was a snare drum. Ortiz on the other hand is the odd man and the bigger man, a southpaw with power. But can the power land and at what point in the fight can it land. Forget past opponents it is all about the moment for Ortiz. On September 17th, Las Vegas and it’s bright lights will be powered by the electricity generated by Hoover Dam but no place will shine brighter than the MGM Grand and the mega watts of excitement a boxing encounter like this can generate. It can end at any moment or it can leave you dazzled with an artistic performance that bordered on beautiful and barbaric.
I love and watch sports because of the purity of the competition as it is the ultimate in reality. There is no script and we only think we know the outcome. But if I was a betting man, I would have no doubt that Mayweather wins this one and keeps the “O” in his record.
The ‘Star Power’ pay-per-view is a packed night of boxing featuring 3 WBC title fights;
WBC Welterweight Title: Floyd Mayweather vs Victor Ortiz
WBC Light Middleweight Title: Canelo Alvarez vs Alfonso Gomez
WBC Light Welterweight Title: Erik Morales vs TBC
Also included in the pay per view broadcast is undefeated Light Welterweight Jessie Vargas vs Josesito Lopez.
British fighter Anthony Crolla will be fighting the Mexican Juan Manuel Montiel in a contest to be shown Free To View on Primetime in the lead in to the Pay Per View broadcast.
You can order the card for only £14.95 by calling 08712004444*, visiting www.primetimelive.co.uk or Virgin Media customers can purchase using the ‘On Demand’ menu. Customers on Sky must register the first time they use Primetime and once registered can purchase using the ‘box office’ menu.