Tonight's HBO pay-per-view event headlined by Floyd Mayweather Jr vs Victor Ortiz is just hours away, and here's how you can watch tonight, and a few more notes. Also, our staff weighs in.
Fight time: 9:00 p.m. EDT
Location: MGM Grand - Las Vegas, NV (Alvarez vs Gomez from Staples Center - Los Angeles, CA)
TV channel: HBO PPV (United States, $54.99-69.99), Primetime (United Kingdom, £14.95)
Odds: Mayweather is between a -600 and -800 favorite, with Ortiz between +400 and +525. More on the odds here. See Also: Canelo Alvarez vs Alfonso Gomez odds, Erik Morales vs Pablo Cesar Cano odds, and Jessie Vargas vs Josesito Lopez odds.
Also note: Yahoo! Sports will be streaming the off-TV undercard at 7 p.m. EDT. We will have live coverage starting then. It's going to be all night coverage for us, from the first bell of the first fight at the MGM Grand until the main event. The stream will be available right here at Bad Left Hook.
And now, our staff weighs in with their picks, after the jump.
Much has been made of Mayweather's past troubles with southpaws, which is a bit of a fallacy. He struggled a bit with Zab Judah early, but that's probably because Judah is the only fighter Mayweather has faced with quicker hands than Floyd. Sure, fighting a southpaw will neutralize the shoulder roll, but Mayweather's had no problems adapting his defensive style against Sharmba Mitchell, Chop Chop Corley and, after round 4, Judah himself. Mayweather's versatility and ring intelligence often get downplayed because he relies so much on his reflexes, but he's shown an ability to make in-fight adjustments, and even if Ortiz has some success early, it should only be a few rounds before Mayweather starts to dominate. Mayweather wide UD-12, in a fight that might have a bit of action early but turns dominant and boring pretty quickly.
Victor Ortiz is young, just now entering the physical prime of his life. He's also strong, competing at what is almost certainly his best weight. And if he's confident, he has good reason to be, coming off the signature win of his still fledgling career.
Being young, strong, and confident also makes Victor Ortiz somewhat of a novelty. As a Mayweather opponent, Ortiz is a breath of fresh air - a marked departure from the undersized, over-the-hill, or down on their luck foes who populate Floyd's recent hit list.
Novel, refreshing.... But is he a threat?
Missing from Victor's arsenal is the patience and sticktoitiveness necessary to put his physical tools to work against Floyd. Against Marcos Maidana, the Kansas-born fighter lacked the mettle to deal with the Argentinian's efforts to escalate the violence. Against Lamont Peterson, it was his opponent's stylistic adjustments to his own offensive bursts that put him off his game. Whatever the form, the pattern remains the same: Ortiz doesn't deal well with resistance.
Ortiz's performance against Andre Berto, particularly in the 6th round when the two traded knockdowns, suggests he's come a long way in hurdling this psychological barrier. But Berto's listless performance in the second half of that bout hinted at a fighter who was battling his own obstacles, whether physical or mental. No such give should be expected of Mayweather, against whom Ortiz's maturity will be put to the ultimate stress test.
Mike Tyson once said that everyone has a plan until they get hit. Floyd's genius is a variation of this theme. Against Floyd, everyone has a plan; that is, until they're getting peppered with pot shots and made to miss for 12 rounds on end. If Ortiz is going to defeat Floyd, he's going to have to accept that some things are inevitable. For instance, he's going to be eating straight rights, all night. He's also going to be made to look foolish in his own offensive efforts - he'll miss, and he'll miss often. If Victor can suffer these indignities and manage keep his head and stick to his game plan, he will have instantly doubled his chances of success.
Like Chinese Water Torture, Mayweather's isolated, pin-point pot shots and maddeningly evasive maneuvers will wear on Ortiz, pushing his focus and resolve to the limit. The temptation will come, as it did for Ricky Hatton, to throw the game plan out the window and go for broke, an acquiescence to his own frustrations. This, of course, is what Floyd wants. Hatton's own fate that night is telling, and Ortiz is well-advised not to forget it as he prepares to mount his own attempt on Mayweather's perfect record.
Other observers will have touched on the question of the best strategy to beat Mayweather and whether Ortiz possesses the tools necessary to execute such a game plan. I think it's irrelevant. Whatever the game plan, my own feeling is that Ortiz lacks the focus necessary to implement it over 12 rounds.
The fighter who finally takes Mayweather's zero will be a man of single-minded determination and strong, unwavering belief. Victor Ortiz is not that man. Mayweather UD-12
I don't have much to add about Mayweather personally, and my call is the same as most: Mayweather by wide UD. This is one of those "what hasn't already been said?" kind of moments. But one aspect of the fight that perhaps hasn't been talked much is Ortiz's mental make-up. Personally, I think it's pretty suspect and the real reason Floyd made the fight. Let's face it, Ortiz is not exactly a ring general. Even leaving aside the issue of persistence or heart, he hasn't shown any real ability to adjust in the ring thus far in his career, and that is precisely the skill that Floyd's opponent needs in spades to have a chance.
How will Ortiz react when his pressure faces Floyd's elusiveness? Not well, I fear. He lacks self-awareness in the ring. He was flustered by Lamont Peterson--imagine what Floyd will do to him. I see him haplessly chasing Mayweather all night while getting pot-shotted and more annoyed by the round.
It remains to be seen how Mayweather's long layoff will affect him, and he's also at an age now where he could go old overnight. That said, if he's anything like 80% the fighter he was in his prime, he should be able to out-box Ortiz compressively.
I like Ortiz's attitude; he's confident, well skilled, and has an agressive style that's easy on the eye. He'll give everything he's got on Saturday night but could find himself being picked off by classy counters more often than he lands.
Ortiz's aggression means he will have his moments, they'll be few and far between though and I can see Mayweather winning via a lopsided points decision.
Before I make my prediction, I just want to say a couple of things here that I didn't say in the preview I did at my site:
1) Everyone seems to just assume that Ortiz is the physically stronger man in this fight. I don't. Everyone similarly assumed that Shane Mosley would be stronger than Floyd, and he wasn't. Floyd has become a true welterweight, and he is strong.
2) Some, influenced by the (possibly disingenuous) words of Freddie Roach after the Mosley fight, have wondered if age is the reason for the flat-footed style Mayweather has displayed in his last two outings. Well, we won't get our answer in this one, since Mayweather stands his ground against southpaws as a matter of stylistic strategy. We'll have to wait until he fights Amir Khan before we can reach a verdict.
Anyways, I like Mayweather to win by wide unanimous decision. Ortiz is a young bull with speed and power, but if Floyd is still Floyd then Victor has only a puncher's chance.
I don't have much to add with this one, really. It's a Floyd Mayweather Jr fight -- chances are, he waltzes through and gets a one-sided decision. Ortiz will be dangerous early, but his only chance is a puncher's chance. He has to catch Floyd, and then follow up. He has to knock him out. He cannot outbox him, cannot beat him on points. He really just can't do it. He's not good enough.
The only concern I have here is that Mayweather, as noted before, has to "get old" at some point. It can come one of two ways: A fight he survives that is harder than expected, and thus he retires, or a fight he doesn't survive, where everything creeps up on him and gets him beaten. I don't see it happening here, and frankly I don't think Ortiz makes it all the way to the finish line either. I'm guessing he doesn't come off his stool after nine rounds, all of which will be Mayweather's on the scorecard. As Floyd picks up steam, his straight right will continue to batter Ortiz, and eventually, it will be into submission. Mayweather RTD-9