One of the most prolific boxers of the past decade is finally returning to the ring.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. (41-0), one of the best pound-for-pound boxers of his generation, returns from a 16-month absence to fight for Victor Ortiz's (29-2-1) WBC welterweight title on September 17th, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
For many boxing enthusiasts, this fight serves more as a tune up for Mayweather as he gears up for an eventual mega-bout with Manny Pacquiao, in what would be billed as the most anticipated fight since Mayweather fought Oscar De La Hoya in 2005.
Mayweather, 34, is dealing with issues outside the ring, as well. The Michigan native faces a three-felony count domestic violence criminal case, and is due it court in October. Mayweather also enters the fight with questions of rust due to months of inactivity.
The layoff won't hurt me. It helps me, said Mayweather. I get mentally stronger, enjoying seeing my children get stronger, knowing even more about the sport. Self-preservation is an important thing to me. I'm staying sharp without getting beat up in there.
According to Mayweather's camp, the boxer has been involved in intense workouts, and is expected to be excellent shape.
Though Mayweather is heavily favored, taking Ortiz for granted could be a major mistake. While Mayweather may be looking past Ortiz for a huge payday with Pacquiao, he could find himself against the ropes this weekend.
Ortiz, like Pacquiao, is a right-hander who uses a southpaw stance, and has plenty of power. The 24-year-old has a reputation for taking risks, and having the risks pay off. The Kansas-born fighter throws flurries of heavy punches and should he connect on one of then, he could find himself as the upset winner over the brash Mayweather.
America wants to see change, and change is coming soon, Ortiz said.
What likely won't change, is Mayweather's strategy of fighting defensively. One of the great defensive specialists in the history of boxing, Mayweather is great a dodging punches like former star Pernell Whitaker, but has deceptive strength.
Mayweather guaranteed the fight won't go the distance.
Both fighters are true welterweights, so neither is taking a risk in fighting at this weight class.
PREDICTION: Mayweather dominates the first four rounds by weaving around and landing some well-timed blows to Ortiz, who mistakenly leaves himself open. To counter the early deficit, Ortiz takes chances and this opens him up for punches that land flush on Ortiz's chin. Mayweather continues to attack, but can't knock out the resilient Ortiz, and settles for a unanimous decision.
PREDICTED FINAL SCORECARD: Mayweather wins 10 rounds of 12 rounds.
BETTING ODDS: (According to Bodog)
Floyd Money Mayweather Jr -- -625
Vicious Victor Ortiz -- +425
Floyd Mayweather Jr by KO, TKO, or DQ -- +200
Floyd Mayweather Jr by Decision -- -160
Victor Ortiz by KO, TKO, or DQ -- +550
Victor Ortiz by Decision -- +1200
Draw -- +3000