Friday, September 16, 2011

Mayweather-Ortiz Five Scenarios

This "Five Scenarios" article analyzes the most probably outcomes of the Floyd Mayweather-Victor Ortiz fight.  Each scenario will have an accompanying percentage next to it, indicating the likelihood of that outcome occurring.  The official SNB prediction of the fight can be found at the end of the article.

Scenario #1  Mayweather defeats Ortiz by wide decision. 35%
When analyzing these two fighters, this scenario makes the most intuitive sense.  Floyd Mayweather has never lost a fight, and he has participated in only a few bouts that were relatively close (for example, the Jose Luis Castillo I and Oscar de la Hoya fights).  He's also not a big knockout artist.  In the last few years, Ortiz has lost to Marcos Maidana and drawn with Lamont Peterson.  Even in Ortiz's most notable recent victory against Andre Berto, he still had to get up from two knockdowns to win the fight.  Clearly, he has not been thoroughly outclassing his opposition.  Mayweather has the better technique and his advantages in accuracy, ring intelligence and punch placement should be enough to ensure a comfortable victory.  

However, there are a few factors that could provide Mayweather with some rough moments, even if he wins relatively easily on the scorecards.  First, Mayweather uses the first few rounds of a fight to feel out an opponent, throwing punches only occasionally, while Ortiz fights aggressively from the opening bell.  In addition, Ortiz possesses enough power to give Mayweather some initial difficulties before he makes the necessary adjustments.  Finally, Mayweather's long layoff must be taken into consideration.  After 16 months off, Mayweather may have some ring rust.  All of these considerations could lead to Mayweather losing a couple of early rounds before he asserts his dominance.

Scenario #2  Mayweather by late-round knockout over Ortiz.  25%
Mayweather's punch output typically picks up in the second half of his fights.  Thrown with pinpoint accuracy, his punches can carve up opponents.  Although he usually doesn't have one-punch knockout power, Mayweather has developed into a strong welterweight.  Furthermore, Victor Ortiz has significant defensive shortcomings; he moves in straight lines, he features no head movement and he doesn't get out of range fast enough.  In short, he is there to be hit, and Mayweather will find him.

Ortiz's chin is not top-caliber.  Both Maidana and Berto knocked him down twice.  They are both good punchers but Ortiz's leaky defense is the more significant takeaway from those knockdowns.  If Mayweather routinely lands his straight right hands and left hooks on the button, Ortiz may not make it to the scorecards.  

Scenario #3  Ortiz early-round knockout over Mayweather. 20%
It's been said before but it needs to be said again: Ortiz has knocked down every one of his opponents. (There was one exception due to a no-contest, early stoppage).  He is top-ten pound-for-pound puncher.  All the available evidence shows that his left hand is one of the most menacing weapons in the sport.  Yes, Mayweather does have a good chin, but it's not impenetrable.  A number of fighters (Demarcus Corley, Zab Judah and Shane Mosley) have been able to wobble him.  

Ortiz wants to blitz Mayweather in the early rounds and test the veteran's legs and chin.  In those early moments of the fight, before Mayweather has settled in and found his rhythm, Ortiz has the chance to land some homerun bombs.  It's a very risky strategy in that Ortiz will leave himself open for Mayweather's counters, but Ortiz's conditioning should be able to survive any of those rough, early moments.  This is his best shot to win the fight. 

Scenario #4  Mayweather defeats Ortiz by close decision. 10% 
If this outcome occurs, things went badly for Mayweather in the fight's first few frames.  Most likely, Ortiz scored a knockdown or two, building a cushion on the scorecards.  However, Mayweather was able to rally in the fight's later stages to pull out the victory.

The template for this outcome is the first Bernard Hopkins-Jean Pascal fight, whereby Pascal dropped Hopkins twice in the early rounds but Hopkins stormed back to earn a draw (he should have been awarded the decision).  In this scenario, Mayweather has to survive some tough moments and wins the decision based on two factors: 1. He makes the defensive adjustments necessary to avoid Ortiz's left hand.  2. He lets his own hands go more frequently.  This outcome would make the most crowd-pleasing fight.

Scenario #5  Other. 10%
1. Ortiz wins by decision.  Ortiz knocks down Mayweather a few times early in the fight but can't put him away.  He wins enough of the early rounds to secure the victory.  2. Draw.  This is possible if Ortiz is able to land some early knockdowns but loses the later rounds as Mayweather comes on.  3. Fight stopped on cuts.  This must be considered because Ortiz does cut.  The official decision would vary based on when the fight is stopped and if the cut is caused by a head butt or a punch.  Most likely, it would be a mid-to-late round stoppage.  4. Mayweather wins by early knockout.  This scenario would occur if Mayweather throws his patented check-hook, which ended Ricky Hatton's night.  Essentially, this outcome could only happen if Ortiz gets hit with a punch that he doesn't see; with Mayweather's speed, it's possible.  

Ortiz surprises the boxing world by knocking down Mayweather by the third round.  His constant pressure makes Mayweather uncomfortable.  Ortiz's thundering straight lefts and uppercuts force Mayweather to cover up early and head to the ropes.  Although Ortiz wins the early rounds, Mayweather starts to counter effectively off the ropes.  By the middle rounds, the fight has turned and Mayweather dominates with his lead right and counter left hook.  He drops Ortiz twice as the match progresses, battering Ortiz in the late rounds.  However, Mayweather doesn't press the action in the 12th round and Ortiz is able to make it to the final bell.

Mayweather defeats Ortiz 116-109, or nine rounds to threeOrtiz drops Mayweather in the first three rounds.  Mayweather scores two knockdowns in the second half of the fight. 

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