In the boxing world there are always interesting fights being made and any real boxing fan knows a lot of the great ones just don’t get the spotlight they deserve. Nigel Collins in his opening statement in the latest issue of Ring magazine said something to that affect much more eloquently. In this case, boxing fans are all aflutter about the upcoming Mayweather-Ortiz bout on September 17. And Floyd Mayweather Jr. is infamous for producing incredibly impressive, totally unspectacular (some would say boring) wins. Currently on ESPN.com more than a quarter of the voters participating in a poll on predicting the fight’s outcome predicted a win for Opponent Victor Ortiz. I capitalize opponent because I think the term takes on a different definition when referring to the fighter opposite one of the major forces in the sport such as Mayweather, Pacquiao and the Klitschko brothers. In my opinion, Mayweather has signed much less interesting fights like the recent mismatch against Juan Manuel Marquez. Sure, Ortiz will be as helpless against Mayweather as just about every other conceivable opponent (besides Manny Pacquiao), but Ortiz is big. Ortiz is big and strong. Ortiz is big and strong and has a lot of heart and a good chin. In one article from that same issue of Ring, the author makes a good point that Mayweather doesn’t often fight young hungry punchers. If ever, at welterweight. So Ortiz is a strong, active, tough powerhouse. Sounds great to me.
Maybe big fights have been very technical recently and lacked the fireworks of less publicized bouts, and this one will almost certainly follow suit, but sometimes the science half is just as much fun as the sweet half. If you truly appreciate Mayweather as a fighter, you appreciate the absolute dedication that produces his unparalleled precision and efficient execution. It’s always more interesting to see that kind of style tested against a strong, active style like the one Ortiz employs. So what’s everybody complaining about? This is a spotlight fight with an interesting style matchup. One of the fighters is possibly the best in the world. The reason this upper echelon of pugilism is producing less than exciting fighting with recent opponents is because there’s nobody else! These guys are pretty much the best their division has to offer, minus fights like Klitschko-Rahman. Ortiz is no different. Coming off his exciting and impressive victory over well-respected Andre Berto, Ortiz is the logical choice and as good a match as just about anyone (besides the obvious). God forbid Williams comes down to welter and somehow signs a fight with Mayweather giving historians something to talk about for decades to come. But honestly, I’ve been an Ortiz fan since a very specific moment. It was not a win; it was what some considered a career defining loss. The Marcos Maidana fight. Did he quit? Not the way I remember it. Not any more than any other fighter who doesn’t have his balance and half-heartedly salutes the referee to feign ambition. Ortiz was just a little more clear and deliberate with his submission. The fight was over and he had already demonstrated, in my opinion, great heart, willingness to trade punches and a very respectable chin. The loss convinced me that he would continue to be a force in the division and though it was unexpected, I can’t say I’m surprised by his performance against Berto.
So, yeah. Let’s see another Mayweather win. I think the style matchup will be downright interesting. There. I’ve said it. But don’t pander to me like you’re naïve enough to believe that it’s “a tune-up for Pacquiao.” Writers for Ring, telecasters and experts alike are consistently eager to declare every easy payday as a “tune-up for Pacquiao,” just like every safe bet for Manny Pacquiao is a “tune-up for Mayweather.” The Hell it is. We all know better, don’t fool yourself. Mayweather isn’t holding a magic key that will instantly create a signed contract between himself and Pacquiao when he gives the word. Nor is Pacquiao able to sign the fight at his leisure. This is another calculated, well-orchestrated and well-publicized win on the Mayweather calendar. And do you really think a fight as risky and challenging as one with Manny Pacquiao would be any less well-planned? Not likely. That fight, if it happens, will happen when Mayweather sees a little more vulnerability, or by the same token, when Pacquiao feels safer taking the blood test, signing the fight. But I’m ready. Eager, even, for Mayweather-Ortiz. Maybe not as eager as I am for the upcoming Adamek-Klitschko fight, which I expect to surprise a lot of people, but as far as David and Goliath fights go, this one’s pretty intriguing. And to be honest, I am all aflutter with the rest of the boxing world.