They aren't giving Vicious Victor Ortiz much of a chance this Saturday against Floyd Money Mayweather at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
They is everyone. The boxing fan base and community. The gamblers. Even celebrities are picking Mayweather across the board.
There's obviously a reason for that. Mayweather is 41-0 all time (25 KOs) and has never even really been challenged in any of his fights. He's one of the best defensive fighters ever.
Even though Mayweather is 10 years senior to Ortiz and hasn't been in a fight in 16 months, the veteran is a -625 favorite according to Bodog.com. (For those who don't bet, that means you have to put up $625 dollars to win $100 if you're betting Mayweather.)
Regardless of popular opinion on what will happen, here's what needs to happen: Mayweather needs to go down. If Mayweather loses, boxing wins.
It will create the kind of big moment that the sport desperately needs to reclaim prominence in society.
Once upon a time, boxing used to be one of the biggest spectator sports in America. There was a time when every American knew the names and stories of the day's big fighters. Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Sonny Liston, Muhammed Ali, Joe Frazier, Sugar Ray Leonard, Mike Tyson and countless others captured people's attention, dominated headlines and were featured on the airwaves constantly.
Today? Not so much. Corruption, a lack of big-name fighters and a convoluted mess of divisions, associations and belts has damaged the sport. Additionally, the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) has ripped away a large majority of the combat audience.
Here's a good barometer of how far boxing has fallen: the Sports Illustrated cover. In its heyday, there were multiple covers per year of boxers/boxing bouts. If you don't count Mark Wahlberg on the cover of last year's SI pretending to be Mickey Ward, the last time a boxer was on the cover of the magazine was in 2007 for Mayweather vs. Oscar De La Hoya.
If there's anything that's really hurt boxing, it's the lack of big-time fights. Since, Mayweather vs. De La Hoya in 2007 got 2.4 million buys, no HBO PPV since then has even cracked 1.5 million buys. Meanwhile, MMA company Ultimate Fighting Championship's event, UFC 100 got 1.6 million buys.
Boxing needs a big moment. It needs buzz. Ortiz upsetting Mayweather would help create that buzz. It would also make an instant star out of the somewhat charismatic, Kansas born Ortiz. Boxing definitely could use more stars. Right now, the sport is down to two and they're both at the tail-ends of their career (Mayweather is 34, Pacquiao is 33 in December)
However, more than anything, him losing would actually help the dream match between Mayweather and Manny Pac-Man Pacquiao happen.
Right now, the big reason we'll never get that fight currently is because it's not worth it for Mayweather. As this NYT piece reveals, Money Mayweather is rolling in green every time he fights, no matter who he fights. An extra $20 million to fight Pacquiao and ruin his undefeated record (something he cherishes) is not worth it.
Yet if he loses the fight this weekend against Ortiz, he'll have nothing to protect against Pacquiao. While Mayweather-Pacquiao doesn't have the same luster if Money isn't undefeated, it's still guaranteed to generate the hype, buzz and build-up boxing needs.
For that reason, let's go Ortiz.