Floyd Mayweather Jr. has certainly fought more formidable opponents than Victor Ortiz during his lengthy boxing career, but all of the external pressure facing him this time around may make this go-around a little different.
Coming into this bout, Mayweather is looking to shake off 16 months worth of rust, cope with the weight of a 41 consecutive victories streak, and ignore the pundits all around him, who are far more concerned with asking questions regarding Manny Pacquiao than Ortiz. That, obviously, is a lot to overcome for any fighter, much less one has had to deal with as many personal and professional issues as Floyd has.
Nevertheless, Mayweather realizes that there are no excuses in the ring and, as such, he is preparing for the coming match against Ortiz like all of that aforementioned stuff is nothing to worry about.
"Things happen in life. It's a roller-coaster ride. You go through certain obstacles in life," Mayweather said during Wednesday’s news conference. "Life is ups and downs. As long as I got a guy like (manager) Al Haymon in my corner and a strong team, I just feel that no one can stop me. There are certain obstacles that are put in front of you."
There have been a lot of obstacles for Mayweather along the way, but the most notable ones shared one distinct, unfortunate common ground – criminal charges. At some over the last year and a half, Mayweather has been on the receiving end of criminal charges relating to assault and abuse, with substantial jail time being a concern in the case of the latter. While the details all of the cases have been highly-publicized and don’t need to be rehashed, what’s most fascinating about the situation is how much these events will slow him down as he prepares for what lays head.
Ortiz comes into this match with 29 wins to his name, but off a particular high point in his career following a very impressive triumph against the previously undefeated Andre Berto en route to his first title. It was that victory, essentially, catapulted Ortiz to the top of the boxing food chain and put him in line to fight Mayweather.
In terms of fighting style, Ortiz is a right-hander who tends to fight from the southpaw stance. He is also 10 years Mayweather’s junior, and is coming in with a unique amount of support from the fans that he probably isn’t used to. If, somehow, he can topple the undefeated present day legend that will be in front of him on September 17, he would instantly rise to the top of the boxing heap and immediately be recognized as one of the top tier fighters in the sport.
Mayweather is arguably the greatest defensive fighter boxing has ever seen, but it remains to be seen how he does after a 16-month sabbatical. His speed was always his trademark, but this time around, he’s facing a quick, young fighter with something to prove. Ortiz has knocked every single opponent he’s ever faced down at least once, and if Mayweather can somehow end that streak and defeat him in as emphatic of fashion as he took down “Sugar” Shane Mosley, then there will be no question as to whether or not he deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Pacquiao.
This fight will take place on September 17 at the MGM Grand.