By Eric Raskin
As a wild week of commotion, promotion and emotion gives way to Saturday’s Floyd Mayweather-Victor Ortiz showdown, let’s take a look through what everyone’s been buzzing about—from the HBO.com insiders to the fight fans following along:
Mayweather and Ortiz didn’t arrive at this mega-event by accident. They each scored significant wins on the road to “Star Power,” and now find themselves jockeying for position in the upper reaches of the talent-loaded welterweight division. With his sublime skills, Mayweather is the consensus favorite in the fight. But not everyone sees it that way. HBO expert analyst Emanuel Steward broke down the strategic intricacies of the fight and gives Ortiz an excellent chance, and not surprisingly, Ortiz’s promoter, Oscar De La Hoya feels the same way—and has the first-hand experience fighting Mayweather to validate his viewpoints.
But there are countless different ways to analyze a fight beyond just what the industry insiders have to say. You can explore the finer points of the matchup. You can crunch the CompuBox numbers. You can even try to figure out who won the verbal joust at the final press conference.
And when it’s all said and done, you make your predictions. The experts had their say, and unanimously went with the chalk and tabbed Mayweather to win. The fans were a little more divided. On Twitter, @rcollick and @crucifixio picked Mayweather via varying margins, but @odogg33 went with the underdog Ortiz. Meanwhile, on the comment boards on the HBO Inside Boxing blog, Elvin T. took the Ortiz side as well, predicting “Floyd is gonna be looking up at the lights thinking, WTF happened?” But commenter Ish A. envisions a knockout win for Mayweather, claiming “Victor Ortiz is nervous, has no defense, and come Saturday will receive a boxing lesson of a lifetime!”
In addition to the 12 rounds (or less) of Mayweather vs. Ortiz, there’s plenty of before and after to consider. Prior to the main event, we’ll see an intriguing undercard, featuring a plethora of popular Mexican and Mexican-American fighters—many of whom, like Mayweather, come from boxing families. And after the main event is over, attention will inevitably turn to what’s next. No matter the outcome, Manny Pacquiao’s name will be on fight fans’ minds. Two HBO.com contributors explored this in detail on different corners of the web, with Chris Mannix tackling the Pacquiao factor on SI.com and Kieran Mulvaney experiencing Floyd’s many personalities on ESPN.com.
But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. The opening bell of Mayweather vs. Ortiz is almost here, and there’s nothing more thrilling than that moment when fight week gives way to the fight itself.