Floyd Mayweather is one of the best fighters in the world. Let’s get that out of the way right now. Now if you want to argue the degree to which he’s better than, say Nonito Donaire or Sergio Martinez that’s an argument we can have. But he is by any objective measure, one of the best fighters in the world, and one of the best pure boxers any of us have ever seen. And next Saturday night, live on HBO PPV you’ll get to see him do what he does best against Victor Ortiz. Or will you?
See that highlight video I linked above? That’s the Floyd Mayweather we all saw at his peak - a blinding combination of hand speed and defense. Simply put - at his apex, you weren’t hitting him and he was tagging you with beautiful combinations. The late Diego Corrales and the late Arturo Gatti could speak to what it was like to fight Floyd Mayweather at the apex of his powers. But as time has went on, Floyd stopped being that explosive blend just mentioned. If I may be permitted to blend metaphors here for a moment, complete apex-level Floyd Mayweather was like Pedro Martinez. He was just playing a different game than everyone else was.
But now – just a tad past his peak he’s become a bit like the Parcells’ Giants. He doesn’t have the tools to be nearly as explosive anymore so he relies on ring generalship, an offense that is more about doing only what he knows will work, and an equally stingy defense. He relies on the fact that he will almost never make the kind of mistakes that will come back and haunt him.
The main thing, though, is that for it to work you have to be able to rely on your opponent to make the kind of mistakes that will give you what you need. Will Victor Ortiz give him what he needs?
Judging by that fight above, the answer is yes. In fact, if you were judging this on every single fight that the two of them have ever had, the answer still remains the same. And it’s yes.
But as you go back through history and take a look at all of the upsets in boxing you’ll notice something. Most of them happen at the welterweights.
Why? Because, since the dawn of the modern era, the welterweights have been the most complete fighters. It is a division second only to the lightweights only in terms of providing us with great fighters, and great fights. And strangely we have a lot of upsets to look at.
Jose Napoles, a charter member of the boxing hall of fame, fell victim to the upset bug not once but twice. First to Billy Backus, a man whose claim to fame before this was being related to Carmen Basilio. Fine, that happens to everyone. It’s a bad night. But to have it happen again when he fought in Mexico against John H. Stracey? That’s a freaky thing.
Ok, so perhaps Napoles doesn’t work for you. Maybe this one will.
Donald Curry was the man for a time in the mid 1980′s. In fact, you had people believing that he could become a triple champion (welter, junior middle, and middleweight). All he had to do was beat Lloyd Honeyghan, the best welterweight in Europe? What happened you ask? Simple, he couldn’t do it.
Strangely Lloyd Honeyghan later on got caught by the legendary Jorge Vaca.
It’s gone on a lot. But the question is this: Will it go on again Sunday night?
My prediction: No. Victor Ortiz will get some good work done. But truthfully, you can’t expect Floyd to lose to a guy who went life-and-death with Andre Berto.