The signed September 17 bout between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Victor Ortiz has stirred up a lot of discussion in the boxing world, from parties involved in the fight and those absolutely not involved with the fight, and those who might, maybe, in a dream world, be somewhat touched by the fight.
"I chose Victor Ortiz. I mean, there's always excuses when I fight. They say he's either too small, he's too slow or he's too old. I chose Victor Ortiz -- a young, strong, solid champion, and I think he brings excitement to the sport of boxing. You know, they say that I have a hard time with southpaws, but last time I checked, I was 41-0, so I don't think I really have too many problems with orthodox or southpaw, or a guy that can do both and switch. ... I've been out of the sport for a while now, so it's time for me to step up to the plate and do what I do best, and that's go out there and perform well."
As far as southpaws go, Mayweather has fought and beaten some quality lefties in his time: Zab Judah, Sharmba Mitchell and DeMarcus "Chop Chop" Corley, way back before Corley was the faded, gutsy veteran we know today, and had just given Judah all he could handle in a close fight.
Freddie Roach thinks that Mayweather is using Ortiz to prepare for Manny Pacquiao:
"Of course, that's the first thing I thought," Roach told the AP. "Some lefties have given him trouble. Judah gave him problems but he couldn't keep up the pace. Fighters like Victor Ortiz and Manny Pacquiao can maintain their pace."
But Richard Schaefer, who is "co" promoting the fight with Golden Boy Promotions, disagrees:
"If you want to prepare for Manny, of all people, you would not fight against Victor Ortiz," said Schaefer. "It would be [a bad decision] to choose someone so difficult, so physical, so strong, and so young as Victor, in order to prepare for a fight with Pacquiao."
I don't know what this means. You wouldn't choose a quality opponent to prepare for a great opponent? Because I disagree. In my view, you don't choose Likar Ramos to prepare for Manny Pacquiao or do anything but not get rusty, and you don't choose Michael Grant and Kevin McBride to prepare for Vitali Klitschko, because those guys aren't going to actually prepare a fighter for that next step.
Schaefer also went on a whole big spiel about how great Mayweather's quality of opposition is and how the media favors Manny Pacquiao, now that he's back in the good graces of Floyd. I wanted to address this:
"I have to tell you when you ask about the selection of Floyd Mayweather's opponents that, with the exception of maybe a few writers, I am getting sick and tired of people attacking Floyd about the selection of his opponents.
"You know, when Floyd went to go and fight Oscar, everybody said that, 'Oh, Oscar's is way too big at 154,' and, you know, 'Floyd is never going to take that fight,' and this and that. They said, 'It's too dangerous,' and, 'That's not something Floyd will do.' And then he took it and he won the fight.
"Then he went to go and fight an up-and-coming, forward-coming guy in Ricky Hatton. Hatton was undefeated at the time, and these were two, undefeated guys. But again, he dominated the guy and then he knocked him out.
"Then, Floyd goes on and fights a guy in Juan Manuel Marquez. This was a guy who gave Manny Pacquiao two, close fights, and some people thought that Marquez won both of the fights against Pacquiao, and some people think that he won one. But the fact is that here is a guy who clearly did a number on Pacquiao."
... "Everybody said, 'Oh, Floyd is never going to take that fight against Shane Mosley.' They said, 'It's too dangerous.' I mean, you can go and look it up. I'm not making this shit up. But then he goes and fights Shane Mosley, who was coming off of maybe one of his biggest wins."
... "And yet, all of these same opponents were acceptable for Manny Pacquiao, even though the media didn't really give Floyd his due credit."
Here's the deal: He's mostly making this shit up, or he got it not from "boxing writers," but from message boards and Facebook pages and Twitter.
- "Maybe a few writers" = "Those who agree with me."
- Full credit for the win over Oscar. Anyone who doesn't give Mayweather full credit for beating Oscar at 154 is a true "hater." The Oscar that Floyd beat was better than the Oscar that Manny beat and it's not close.
- Ricky Hatton was a lot of things, including the unbeaten junior welterweight champion of the world, but he was not "up-and-coming." But I also give Floyd fine credit for that fight -- guys move up in weight to chase glory, that's what Hatton did. And I loved that fight.
- Marquez? Come on. Mayweather came back and fought the lightweight champion when Shane Mosley had a month prior to Marquez's open challenge of Floyd, ripped Antonio Margarito to shreds and immediately called out Floyd Mayweather. That was the issue people had. Mosley was there, without a fight, and he signed to fight Marquez instead. It wasn't as credible and wasn't as good.
- He fought Shane Mosley after Mosley had been out of the ring for 16 months. Mosley got old and in many ways the Margarito win was smoke and mirrors -- that happens! It's not Floyd's fault. I don't blame Floyd. It was a credible fight to make and then some. But it was still an easy fight to predict.
- I also really don't recall anyone being particularly happy with Pacquiao vs Mosley. I do recall people pointing out that Manny fought Cotto and Margarito, even past their best, when those are two guys Floyd blatantly did not fight.
- I'm not taking a side here. I'm in the middle and don't really think either of them has fought better competition than the other, but some fights have been better than others. Pacquiao vs Mosley, for the record, is the worst fight either of them have taken since the era of this debate started. At least Marquez had been winning fights and not looking like crap when he fought Mayweather.
And to close this way-too-long bunch of stuff together (sorry, I get ramblin'), here's Bob Arum's take on Mayweather vs Ortiz:
"Marquez is getting $5 million plus an upside to fight Manny Pacquiao for the third time, and I'm sure that Ortiz is getting less than half of that," said Arum.
"I wouldn't have wasted or thrown a young guy like Ortiz into this match against Mayweather at this particular point in his career," said Arum. "I just wouldn't do it because there is just no way that Victor Ortiz is ready to fight somebody like Floyd Mayweather. There just isn't."
Part of me agrees with Arum that from a business and mental psyche sort of standpoint for Victor Ortiz, this is not the greatest fight for him. But then the other part of me remembers that Arum's greatest flaw in recent years as a promoter is "marinating" and missing the boat on a lot of fights, so I'm just going to accept this fight for what it is: A good fight that I very much look forward to seeing.