Mayweather-Ortiz Would Be Fine If Pacquiao Wasn't Out There…LOTIERZO

BertoOrtiz_Hogan28Lotierzo makes a good point. The mental pressure on Ortiz, who has heard from critics that his head isn't screwed on as straight as it should be for a championship caliber fighter,  will be immense as we count down to Sept. 17. (Hogan)

Well, as if everyone didn't know that the announcement was going to come eventually, the “Fire-starter” has announced he's back and will return to the ring this coming September 17th. Yes, Floyd Mayweather 41-0 (25) is the “Fire-starter” because every time he says or does something pertaining to boxing it ignites a raging fire in the form of a debate that rages and builds until the night of the bout and doesn't subside until a couple weeks after it. And then everyone tries to guess or calculate what his next move will be – and we're usually wrong. The only thing we're never wrong about is there will be an angle in play whether it's the opponent or the conditions or terms of the bout that will weigh heavily in Mayweather's favor.

However, this time Mayweather really cannot be excoriated for his choice of fighting 24 year old Victor Ortiz 29-2-2 (22), since he's chosen not to fight Manny Pacquiao. Ortiz, at least based on his last fight versus WBC welterweight title-holder Andre Berto, looked like the young and ferocious southpaw he's been promoted as being since his pro debut. Against Berto, the aggressive Ortiz appeared to have dynamite in his right hand and more than adequate pop in his left. Ortiz also isn't a fighter on his last legs nor is be a blown up junior lightweight like Juan Manuel Marquez was/is. And Victor was in great shape against Berto and fought a complete fight from bell-to-bell. He also didn't fold or succumb when he was met with some stern resistance. During points where Berto was trying to seize and establish control of the fight, Ortiz actually dug down and re-established control and went on to win by a comfortable margin on all three judges' scorecards.

Let's be honest, Ortiz isn't a stiff and he has every reason in the world to give it everything he has to try and be the first fighter to take Mayweather down. And the fact that Mayweather isn't a big puncher shouldn't awe him or psyche him out. The thing that most of us don't like about the fight, and granted, that's not a reason for anyone to say the fight shouldn't take place, is the fact that no one believes Ortiz has the experience to really test Mayweather on the big stage with the boxing world watching. Ortiz will be pulled in ways he's never imagined in the run up to this fight, not to mention that from a style vantage-point he'll be very susceptible to Mayweather's sharp shooting and pot-shooting one-twos along with being vulnerable to Mayweather's speed and defensive prowess. And as much as we'd like to believe the mental demons of past ghosts in the form of Marcos Maidana and Lamont Peterson are gone forever regarding Ortiz, we know that can't be said for sure. Remember, after dominating Berto for five rounds, Ortiz was hurt and went down in the sixth and looked as if he was about to come undone and lose the fight. Had he not scored with desperate left to Berto's chin and dropped him late in the round, who knows how that fight would've unfolded during the second half of it. That said, Ortiz did what he had to do and pulled the fight out by winning big down the stretch and earned himself a crack at the “Fire-starter.”

As for Mayweather, we knew he wasn't going to retire and had to find an opponent to face who could be sold to the boxing public who wasn't named Manny Pacquiao, and Victor Ortiz fits the bill. In fact he is a bigger threat and a more live underdog than the corpse of Shane Mosley who Mayweather fought last year and who Pacquiao fought last month. The biggest fault fans have with this fight is, no one gives Ortiz much, if any, of a chance to score the upset over Mayweather.

See, there's only one fighter out there who is Mayweather's size who he could fight where the fans would be split 50-50 on who would win. And that's why even though this would be an acceptable fight for Mayweather to take if there wasn't a Manny Pacquiao challenging him at every turn, there is a Manny Pacquiao out there. And Floyd has turned a deaf ear to it and continues to tease and tantalize the boxing world as to whether or not he will or won't fight Pacquiao.

Here's a prediction: I believe Mayweather will fight Pacquiao if and when he thinks it's safe. When the day finally arrives and Mayweather agrees to fight Manny, it will be because he's convinced the dynamics have changed and he's certain he'll prevail. He's not quite ready to risk or chance it yet. In the meantime he'll hope for  Pacquiao to lose so he can claim a default victory over him by saying, “I woulda beat the fighter who beat Pacquiao.” Therefore he would've beat Manny had they fought. In closing, I will say it again, if Mayweather and Pacquiao were to fight sometime before the end of this year, I would pick Mayweather to win by decision.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at

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