Someone's going down, Mayweather, Ortiz agree
by Andreas Hale
Photos by Chris Cozzone
It’s like two freight trains coming at one another; which is usually not the case in a Floyd Mayweather fight. But come September 17, Floyd Mayweather and Victor Ortiz have both promised one thing and one thing only. Both have guaranteed that their WBC welterweight title clash in Las Vegas won’t be decided by judges. On Saturday night, their fists will be the judge, jury and executioner.
This is something you might expect from “Vicious” Victor Ortiz. In all 33 of his fights, Ortiz (29-2-2) has made every single one of his opponents taste the canvas. The 24-year-old, fresh off of his resounding victory over Andre Berto to claim the WBC title, may be in another league now as he is facing Mayweather, but he is quite comfortable with his declaration that he’ll end “Money” Mayweather’s winning streak in resounding fashion.
“I’d like to thank Floyd Mayweather for this opportunity,” Ortiz said at Wednesday’s final press conference before their epic battle. “But then again, I am the WBC welterweight champion of the world and that will remain. I’m going to teach you what it feels like to have that one loss on your record, bro.”
Ortiz moves with a chip the size of a boulder on his shoulder. Ever since his loss to Marcos Maidana, where he was criticized for giving up, Ortiz has bottled up his emotions and unleashed them on his opponents on fight night. He’s always smiling and speaks with a whimsical “I-don’t-give-a-f*ck” attitude that is fitting for a rebel without a cause. But Ortiz does, in fact, have a cause – to become the best pound for pound fighter in the world. Floyd Mayweather is just a hurdle in his path to success.
“He was one of the best fighters. He was pound for pound champion. But now it’s our time,” Ortiz’ trainer Danny Garcia boasted. “We’re here to beat him. Victor is ready to do everything he can to take the victory. He’s going to be the #1 pound for pound fighter for sure.”
To say that Team Ortiz was brimming with confidence would be an understatement. But what was more interesting about this press conference was the level of intensity and annoyance that Floyd Mayweather showcased throughout. Known to toss a verbal jab or two during the pre-fight hype, Mayweather appeared to be a little more incensed when listening to Garcia’s diatribes of how he was both “scared” and a “dirty” fighter.
The 34-year-old Mayweather minced words with Garcia and his fighter ten years Mayweather’s junior. Usually Mayweather allows his opponents’ words to roll off his back on press day, but he wouldn’t stand for the disrespect and made sure to remind Team Ortiz that this is Money’s world and they are just running around trying to get acclimated to their surroundings.
“I’m a scared fighter that’s been dominating the sport for the past sixteen years,” the current pay-per-view king barked at Garcia. “All of these people are here because of me!”
At 41-0 (25 KOs), Mayweather has seen the Promised Land more times than perhaps all of his opponents combined. His stay at the top of the sport has been twice as long as others entire careers and the spotlight never burns his thick skin. But this is different. Mayweather isn’t fighting a future hall-of-famer or a small fighter, he’s playing the role of teacher as a starving student looks to cash in on Mayweather’s legacy while forging one of his own.
But Mayweather isn’t having that.
“I don’t have to knock him or his trainer,” Mayweather explained. “It’s obvious he did something right to get here. But I’ve been here for sixteen years for doing something right. I’ve fought undefeated fighters and knockout punchers. I’ve fought them all. I never backed down, stayed focused and was at my best.”
To be at his best, Mayweather does things to get under the skin of his opponents. In this case, the five-division world champion opted to dig into the past of both Ortiz and Garcia. By now, everyone is aware that Ortiz was abandoned by his mother, but the whereabouts of his father has been often debated. Not only has Mayweather stated that Ortiz’ father never bailed out on him, the boastful undefeated fighter took the past a step further by inviting Garcia’s brother and lightweight champion Brandon Rios, both of whom are currently embroiled in feuds with Ortiz and Garcia, to Saturday’s fight.
If its head games you want, its head games you will get from Floyd Mayweather.
Nevertheless, Mayweather seems incensed to put on an explosive performance on Saturday night at the expense of Ortiz.
“You guys don’t have to worry about me back peddling,” Mayweather said. “I’m coming straight ahead, he’s coming ahead. He said the fight won’t go the distance, I said the fight won’t go the distance. Trust me, it won’t go the distance.”
Unfazed, Ortiz promises to dispatch of Mayweather in a highlight reel fashion.
“It’s going to be very nice to do what everyone else failed to do,” Ortiz said. “41-0? Forty one of those weren’t me. Forty one of those couldn’t win it like I can. Saturday night, I will hold my hand up and I’m going to put you on your ass.”
Somebody is going down.