It was a back-and-forth war that saw both fighters down in the first round. Maidana would also taste the canvas twice in the second but he rose to his feet both times to fight on. It was a brutal fight and after Ortiz hit the deck in the sixth, it was over.
In the post-fight interviews, Ortiz was visibly shaken.
It was easy to see that Maidana had planted the seed of doubt in Ortiz’s mind, as Victor stated that he had to reevaluate his career to determine whether he ever wanted to get beat up like that again.
Upon reflection- and fortunately for those of his fans who stood behind him- Ortiz decided to stay in the game. After winning his next four straight, topped off with a draw against Lamont Peterson, Ortiz scored a surprising unanimous decision victory over Andre Berto last April.
It was a “Fight of the Year”-caliber war that saw Berto down in round one, Ortiz hitting the canvas in round two and both fighters dropping in the sixth. With the victory over Berto, Ortiz had captured the WBC version of the welterweight crown as well as the imagination of the boxing community.
He also captured the attention of one Floyd Mayweather Jr.
It really was a concept to behold. Ortiz is the perfect foil to Mayweather’s cocksure, self-indulgent arrogance. It is precisely because of Mayweather’s attitude that he knows the same thing that Muhammad Ali knew; some people pay to see him win while others pay to see him lose. And Mayweather’s attitude is the same as Ali’s was: Who cares? The fans’ money is green no matter what outcome they’re paying- and hoping- to see.
Ortiz, on the other hand, is the always-smiling, affable young champion. He is always friendly and freely gives of his time for interviews, radio shows and most important to him, his fans.
It’s the classic good guy/bad guy scenario. All of that stays on the outside of the ropes come tomorrow night.
Inside the ropes, one style will prove to be dominant and that’s where the scenario begins to change. Mayweather is the consummate boxer and a defensive genius. Ortiz is mostly straight-ahead, looking to land big and that is exactly what polished technicians look to capitalize on. Where Berto seemed content to stand toe-to-toe with Ortiz, Floyd will use the entire ring to circle Ortiz, picking him apart in the process. When Ortiz bull-rushes his way in, Mayweather will simply tie him up.
Should Mayweather get hurt, he will immediately jump to offense and go on the attack, as he did when Shane Mosley hurt him in the second round of their fight (and Mayweather’s last outing) in May of last year.
Once Mayweather went on the offensive, he took Mosley completely out of the fight and aged “Sugar Shane” right before our eyes.
In the end, it will be speed that wins this fight and if you’ve watched the Emmy Award-winning “24/7” on HBO, you could clearly see that there is no comparison between these two men when it comes to quickness. Floyd wins that battle hands-down and it is speed that will give him the victory.
The Mayweather camp is always quick to point out that, “41 have tried and 41 have failed.” Tomorrow night, the Mayweather camp and the new WBC welterweight champion will happily and proudly (along with a few I-told-you-so’s in one fashion or another) change that to 42.