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Is Mayweather taking Ortiz seriously?

Image: Is Mayweather taking Ortiz seriously?By John F. McKenna (McJack): Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr (41-0, 25 KO’s) will be stepping into the ring for the first time in sixteen months on September 17 when he faces World Boxing Council (WBC) welterweight champion Victor “Vicious” Ortiz (29-2-2, 22 KO’s). The pair will face off at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

In the lead up to the fight very little attention has been paid to Ortiz. All the media hype has been on Mayweather. Even the press conferences designed to raise public awareness of the match between Mayweather and Ortiz, have instead focused on when and if Mayweather will ever fight Manny Pacquiao. Mayweather himself has not shown a great deal of interest in Ortiz.

Ortiz for his part is still attempting to live down his loss on June 27, 2009 to the Argentinean power puncher Marcos Maidana. In that fight, which may have been the defining moment of his career, Ortiz quit after being battered by Maidana. Afterwards Ortiz spoke of retiring. Since that time Ortiz, who is still only 24 years old, defeated former champions Vivian Harris and Nate Campbell and pulled off a huge upset by defeating the highly touted Andre Berto.

Ortiz was like a man on a mission in the Berto fight in his attempt to prove that he is not a quitter. He showed a lot of heart in climbing off the canvas twice to win a twelve round decision.

It is not always a bad thing for a fighter to lose early in his career. Many fighters have gone on to pugilistic greatness after an early loss. In Ortiz’s case it seems as though he had an epiphany and a rededication his career after the loss to Maidana. Oriz was only 22 years old when he lost to Maidana and young fighters have the ability to bounce back.

At this point Ortiz is brimming over with a new found confidence that appears to be genuine. He has grown by leaps and bounds sine the Maidana fight. He will not be a pushover for Mayweather. He is a young, strong, aggressive southpaw, who is still eager to redeem himself in the eyes of his fans.

Mayweahter has been installed as a heavy favorite by the odds makers, but odds makers have been wrong in the past. Floyd is 34 years old and has been relatively inactive over the past few years. He stays active in the gym, but that is not the same as being tested in the ring. Floyd had two fights in 2007, none in 2008, fought once in 2009 and once in 2010.

Not even the great Floyd Mayweather can continue in the twilight of his career to be inactive for such long periods of time. Sugar Ray Robinson, who is generally acknowledged by boxing historians to be the greatest fighter of all time, chose to retire at the age of 32. Of course everyone knew that he would return and he made a comeback a couple of years later. He eventually won the middleweight title again but after the extended period of inactivity he was never close to the fighter he had been. Robinson started losing as many fights as he won. This was the same fighter who had gone ninety fights without a loss during the height of his career.

Mayweather’s fight with Ortiz will be used as a barometer not only by Floyd, but also by all of his potential opponents who are waiting in the wings for a big money fight.

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