Thursday, June 30, 2011
An unusually reserved Floyd Mayweather took to the stage on the Los Angeles leg of his press tour ahead of his September bout with Victor Ortiz on Wednesday.
Ortiz at various points attempted to bring the Mayweather we are all used to seeing out into the open.
That being Floyd's brash showman character, insulting his opponents in one breath and complimenting them with the next, bragging about his standing in the sport and as ever referring constantly to his perfect 41-0 unbeaten record.
Floyd though for once was content to let the younger man do much of the talking.
What he did say that sparked immediate interest however was a simple sentence.
In that one sentence he made up for his lack of interest in the rest of the event, got inside Ortiz's head without having to resort to his usual antics and ensured that what was otherwise a fairly pedestrian press conference too similar to his New York appearance to generate much interest, still got attention.
That sentence was this:
"I want to tell Victor Ortiz thank you for stepping up to the plate and taking the tests. We only want to fight the biggest and the best out there, and, Manny Pacquiao, yes, you're next!"
Of course the latter part of that statement is something that Mayweather has said before in some form or another several times in the past. All for one reason or another to no avail.
It should now perhaps come with an asterisk stating:
*Valid only with the following stipulations, that both fighters take any and all pre-fight blood tests administered by the USADA, that the date, weight, venue, purse split and pay per view broadcaster can be agreed upon, and that neither Victor Ortiz nor Juan Manuel Marquez are able to pull off upsets in the next six months.
Moments ago at in downtown Los Angeles, the second stop to the Floyd Mayweather-Victor Ortiz press conference went down, with emotions running much higher than at yesterday’s festivities in New York. Ortiz defends his WBC welterweight crown against Mayweather on September 17th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in a fight that has seen Floyd Jr. coming out of the gates as a nearly 8-1 betting favorite.
There was a bit of a wait at this press conference, as Mayweather is often fashionably late, yet things got a bit heated after Mayweather’s red carpet entrance in front of a jam-packed crowd. Ortiz had been on the dais waiting for Floyd’s arrival and the minute Mayweather came on stage they bumped heads and began jawing at one another.
To say there were tensions in the air would be an overstatement, however, as Mayweather could be seen either flashing a grin or looking rather bored while Ortiz and his team attempted to rile things up on stage. One constant irk that Ortiz and his crew have had in the lead up to the fight has been the fact that Mayweather has been looking past him a bit in his namedropping of Manny Pacquiao during his speeches.
Ortiz’s manager Rolando Arrellano addressed this issue, stating that on September 17th he was going to unleash a ‘Mexican pitbull’ on Mayweather inside of the ring.
“He’s not fighting Pacquiao next, he’s fighting me,” Ortiz stated. “If he wants to box, I’ll box, if he wants to bang I’ll bang. Either way I’m gonna be that pound for pound champ.”
Having been in this situation countless times against a myriad of opponents, this was nothing more than gamesmanship to Mayweather, who will be ending a sixteen-month layoff by the time he faces Ortiz.
“I go out there, execute the game plan,” stated Floyd. “That’s what I do. Right now Victor Ortiz is the champion. Him first, Pacquiao next. I have been in fights with big punchers, I don’t have to brag about what I do.”
Business as usual for Mayweather Jr. From here the two camps will break for a rigorous training camp and a well-publicized buildup to the pay-per-view event can be expected.
Once again, an event that claimed to showcase the Sept. 17 bout between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Victor Ortiz instead focused on an absent Manny Pacquiao.
Both Mayweather (41-0, 25 knockouts) and Ortiz (29-2-2, 22 KOs) mentioned Pacquiao throughout their news conference Wednesday at LA Live.
Mayweather declared he wanted to face Pacquiao in his next fight. Ortiz said such statements were offensive and would come back to haunt Mayweather.
"I'm tired of hearing he's fighting Pacquiao next," said Ortiz, who will defend his World Boxing Council welterweight title in Las Vegas. "No, no, no. He's fighting me next. Victor Ortiz."
Mayweather gave Ortiz plenty of credit, insisting he would never lose sight of his next fight, but still, his comments came back to the Philippine congressman.
"I'm never going to overlook a guy like Victor Ortiz," Mayweather said. "He's young, he's strong and he's the WBC welterweight champion of the world. … To be the best, you got to beat the best in front of you.
"We only want to fight the biggest and the best out there, and yes, Manny Pacquiao you're next."
Mayweather last fought May 1, 2010, defeating Shane Mosley in Las Vegas. Ortiz's layoff has been drastically shorter, winning the WBC belt from Andre Berto in April.
Against Berto, Ortiz was a big underdog, but against Mayweather, he will be even more so — a prospect he relishes.
"I love it. I'm always the underdog," he said. "What is somebody like Mayweather going to give me that I haven't already faced?"
Mayweather's defeated opponents usually cite his speed, his power, and the lethal combination of the two as unexpected.
"His speed and style do not worry me," Ortiz said. "There's good. There's great. And there's outstanding. I'm outstanding. I stand out from everyone."
The crowd at LA Live certainly agreed, as a largely pro-Ortiz contingent cheered for the Ventura native throughout the news conference. Ortiz admitted having the crowd's support allowed him to loosen up compared to a similar event in New York on Monday. His more relaxed attitude led to a brief encounter with Mayweather upon his introduction.
"I was going to smack him," Ortiz said. "I was going to lay him out. He said, 'You don't get this, son,' and I said, 'No, no. I'm the world champ. You don't have a chance.'"
The two will have to wait until September to sort that out.