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Floyd vs. Ortiz: people should watch

Floyd Mayweather Jr. arrives at the MGM Grand.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. arrives at the MGM Grand. (April 27, 2010) Credit: AP

Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Victor Ortiz? Mayweather confirmed the fight was agreed to via his verified Twitter account early Tuesday afternoon.

Of course that’s not the fight the general public wants to see, but hard core boxing fans understand it’s a fight that had to be made. Outside of a bout against Manny Pacquiao, It actually might have been the only fight Mayweather could have made.

First and foremost, Mayweather (41-0) has been out of the ring for over 13 months. He hasn’t fought since a once-sided unanimous-decision win vs. Shane Mosley on May 1, 2010. By time he steps into the ring against Ortiz (29-2-2) it would be 17-plus months he would be out of the ring. No one would get back into the sport after that long of a layoff and take on a big-time fighter like Pacquiao.

More importantly, Ortiz is a southpaw. Pacquiao is also a southpaw. Does anyone think that this is a coincidence? Reading scouting reports or watching film is great, but does anything beat experiencing first hand how to handle a future opponent?

Said Mayweather: "I am ready to return to the ring and give my fans a fantastic night of boxing by fighting the best out there and for me, that is Victor Ortiz. He is the current champion and an extremely talented fighter who showed amazing skills, and heart, in his last performance against Andre Berto. At this stage of my career, these are the challenges I look for, a young, strong, rising star looking to make his mark in boxing by beating me.”

As for Ortiz, has any 24-year-old in recent memory had this much fortune in one year? He upset Andre Berto for the WBC welterweight title on April 16. Now, less than two months later, he learns that he will be taking on Mayweather in what would surely be the biggest fight of his career. It will also be the biggest payday of his career.

Is this fight good for boxing? The general public won’t take to this, at least not initially. But once they hear about the route Ortiz has taken, it could be one of the top feel-good stories of the year in boxing. Check out an earlier Neutral Corner post on Ortiz.

Ortiz's story epitomizes why people care about sports.

Said Ortiz: "I respect Mayweather because he has been a champion for many years and I know he will be ready, but so will I. I'm a strong fighter and I have worked really hard to silence my critics. I'm a world champion for a reason and I am not going to let go of my title any time soon. This is going to be a great fight, but I will remain a world champion for many years to come."

Furthermore, Mayweather needs to be in the ring. No matter who he fights, he’s a big draw. The fight, which is likely to take place at the MGM Grand and on pay-per-view, will bring in a lot of viewers and a lot of money. The Mayweather-Mosley bout drew 1.4 million ppv buys and had a purse of over $29 million.

Mayweather in the ring will also go a long way in keeping boxing in the headlines.
 

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