After a year out of the ring, Floyd Mayweather will return to boxing on September 17 to face newly crowned WBC welterweight champion Victor Ortiz.
The bout will mark the second occasion that Mayweather is fighting on Mexican Independence Day weekend. In 2009, Mayweather faced Juan Manuel Marquez in a comeback bout that posted over 1 million pay-per-view buys.
The hope for Mayweather and long-time rival Manny Pacquiao to meet in 2011 were effectively ended when Marquez signed to face Pacquiao on November 12. Mayweather, who’s been out of the ring 16 months since defeating Shane Mosley last May, believes Ortiz is the biggest name and threat in his weight division outside of his Filipino nemesis
“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,” said Mayweather in a statement. “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.”
“Like the rest of my opponents, he is going to try to prove that he can beat me. I commend him for accepting the fight, but on September 17, Ortiz is just going to be another casualty, the 42nd one who tried and failed. Trust me, I will be ready.”
Mayweather was ringside in April when Ortiz defeated Berto in a Fight of the Year level bout that saw both men taste the canvas. Afterward, speculation ran rampant that Mayweather was there to scout his next opponent. In addition, Ortiz made cryptic remarks to various reporters off the record that a Mayweather fight was imminent.
Ortiz is a big welterweight, having a fight night weight of over 160 pounds when he defeated Berto. In recent years, Mayweather has been criticized for fighting physically smaller opponents, an issue he silenced in his last fight against Mosley. Nonetheless, Ortiz expects to be the stronger man in September.
“I respect Mayweather because he has been a champion for many years and I know he will be ready, but so will I,” Ortiz promised. “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.”
The event will be promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, who’ve handled all of Mayweather’s fights since his 2009 comeback. The company expects Mayweather’s fight to eclipse the 1.3 million pay-per-view buys for last month’s Pacquiao-Mosley fight.
“There is no doubt that September 17 will again be this year’s biggest night of boxing worldwide,” explained Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “When Floyd Mayweather fights, it is an event which brings fight fans, sports fans and the general public together to see this truly gifted athlete perform. Every year Floyd sets the bar and standard for most pay-per-view buys and this year will be no different. In Victor Ortiz, he is facing a young, strong and highly motivated world champion who knows that a win over the pound for pound champion will catapult him into superstardom. The stage is set and I can’t wait for the showdown of the year.”
The Mayweather-Ortiz press tour will begin on June 20.
Mayweather-Pacquiao it isn’t, but I have no problems with this fight. Ortiz is coming off an exciting win, is young, and will be the first fighter in some time to actually outweigh Floyd on fight night. Not that I think it’ll make a difference; if Floyd is anywhere near the version we saw last May, Ortiz is still going to be outclassed. What will make this good is that Ortiz is confident and will go after Mayweather and make him fight, especially inside. Money’s inside-work often gets overlooked, and it’ll be a nice scrap to witness. I doubt Mayweather will be able to visibly discourage Ortiz like did against Mosley.
What say you, good boxing fans? Will you be ordering Mayweather-Ortiz?