When news broke earlier this week that Floyd Mayweather will return to the ring to take on Victor Ortiz for the WBC welterweight title, most fans and media reacted positively.
Those who enjoy the Mayweather spectacle will finally get to see him back in the ring rather than having to read about his less impressive exploits out of it.
Those who dislike Floyd Jr, and there are more than a few, are given renewed hope that either he will be beaten or that his latest opponent is a precursor to an eventual fight with Manny Pacquiao.
One individual who wasn’t overly positive about Mayweather vs. Ortiz however was Top Rank boss Bob Arum, who has had a tumultuous relationship with Mayweather over the years.
Speaking to Lem Satterfield earlier today, Arum said:
“Victor Ortiz is not nearly ready for Floyd Mayweather. And for Golden Boy to put Ortiz, who just won a title, in with Mayweather at this point in his career is something that, form a boxing standpoint, makes no sense.”
“And the amount that Victor Ortiz is getting paid is nothing spectacular. It’s nowhere near what Manny Pacquiao pays his opponents.”
Attempting to merely rain on Mayweather and Golden Boy’s parade though he may be, Arum does appear to have a valid point in questioning the decision to pair Ortiz with Mayweather this early in the former’s career.
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Ortiz is a young, exciting and marketable fighter who with the right backing could become a big star in his own right.
His defeat of previously unbeaten Andre Berto boosted both his image and his fanbase. More fights in the same vein could make him a fan favorite, and possibly transform him from HBO mainstay into genuine pay per view attraction.
In pairing him with Mayweather however, Golden Boy know full well that the strong likelihood is that Ortiz will end up with another loss on his record, as well as losing his newly won WBC welterweight world title.
While at just 24 that won’t by any means be the end of the road, it will leave Ortiz without an obvious next direction to take.
Certainly Ortiz potentially has the tools to give Mayweather problems, he’s ten years younger, a southpaw, he hits hard and can counter-punch.
Also as long as he continues his current pattern it is also only a matter of time before Mayweather’s age and inactivity between fights catches up with him, regardless of how well he maintains himself.
Of course Ortiz himself was no doubt all too eager to step into the ring against a future hall of famer like Mayweather, even if few give him much of a chance of winning.
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Should he prevail Ortiz would instantly be a household name, and could command purses likely well in excess of ten times what he is making at the moment.
Not to mention that he would be only one fight away from being crowned the best fighter in the world. And unlike the much talked about but ultimately unlikely to ever happen Mayweather-Pacquiao showdown, a fight between the Filipino and Ortiz could be much easier to put together.
If everything goes as expected however, Mayweather will likely do what he does best with aggressive opponents, neutralize their offense and dominate rounds with his more accurate punching. After taking the first few to figure Ortiz out that is.
As much money as Mayweather generates now however, at 34 years of age he should certainly be considered the present rather than future.
Add in his penchant for getting in trouble with the law and inactivity over the last few years and its far from certain just how many more times Mayweather will fight.
At the moment it could be the case that he merely needs the money.
Several pending lawsuits as well as liens from the IRS running into the millions and his spending habits are bound to have eaten away at Mayweather’s bank balance.
In two fights time, or depending on the pay per view numbers he and Ortiz put up, perhaps just one, Mayweather might once again seemingly lose all interest in boxing.
At which point he take another year off, or even retire completely, and Golden Boy are once again left without their biggest star.
Of course, Arum’s motivations for essentially calling Mayweather-Ortiz a mismatch are likely not in the spirit of what is best for Ortiz’s career.
In November Arum’s own star Manny Pacquiao takes to the ring against Juan Manuel Marquez, a fighter Mayweather defeated handily two years ago and who he may subsequently have a hard time selling as a genuine threat to the streaking Filipino.
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