As the old saying goes, in order to be the best, one has to beat the best. That’s exactly what Oritz hopes to do against Floyd Mayweather Jr. this Saturday night in Las Vegas.
Here’s how he can do it.
Volume, volume, volume
Mayweather is an exceptional defender. He blocks and parries punches better than any of his peers, but no one is unhittable. Ortiz will need to throw punches early and often against Mayweather in order to be successful, and the more he lets his hands go, the more chances he’ll have to get them through.
Not only that, he’ll need to throw them anywhere and everywhere he can to land them. He can’t focus on trying to only hit Mayweather upstairs. That would be his undoing. Heck, he can’t even really focus on just going to the body either (though it’s important to do so). It’s just the kind of thing Mayweather wants. He’ll need to literally hit him everywhere he possibly can. If it's a legal punch, Ortiz should throw it.
Case in point, when asked in an interview how he’d go about fighting Mayweather a second time around, the late, great Diego Corrales said he’d try to “just touch him” next time. He’d hit his arms, his hands — anywhere he could land solid shots, he’d do it. He’d land punches early and often no matter what, and that’s exactly the type of thing Ortiz needs to do.
Getting on top of Mayweather with lots and lots of punches will do two very important things for Ortiz: it would get him out ahead on points against the sometimes-slow-starting Mayweather, and it would set him up later in the fight when the high volume of punches could start to pay some real dividends.
Short, powerful combinations
Because he’s such an adept defender and counter-puncher, Mayweather eats long, looping, single-punchers alive. Victor has shown in recent fights the ability to throw short, powerful combinations versus his opponents, but he’ll have to be even better at it against Mayweather. In his last fight, Ortiz did an excellent job of this early against Andre Berto. Ortiz’s punches landed first and they landed with more power. This helped Victor establish early dominance in the contest.
However, as the fight wore on and fatigue set in, Ortiz’s punches became less and less compact. The shot he took from Berto that floored him in Round 6 was because his combinations became more looping than short, more open than compact. That cannot happen against Mayweather. Where Berto may be bullet-fisted, Mayweather’s punches are more like lasers: they are fast, straight and unforgivingly precise. Ortiz can’t leave himself open for anything like he did against Berto and hope to come out on top.
Not just a nickname
Yep, “Vicious” Victor Ortiz will have to be just that: vicious. He’ll need to be equal parts fierce and ferocious. Like he did against Berto, Ortiz will have to come to the ring focused, determined and just plain mean. More than that, though, he’ll have to drag Mayweather somewhere he’s never been before: down for the count. Ortiz is generally a nice guy outside of the ring, but in the ring on Saturday, he’ll need to have a scowl on his face. He’ll need to be a beast.
Ortiz will need to be more vicious than he’s ever been.
His aggression will need to dictate the fight. Mayweather should always be stepping backwards and never comfortable. Ortiz will need to come in with his guard high ready to throw punches. He’ll need to push Mayweather where he wants him and he’ll need to unload on him whenever he gets the opportunity.
Most importantly, if he catches Mayweather with something solid and hurts him, he’ll need to finish the job. Mayweather has shown the ability in his career to come back after taking some pretty decent shots to recover quickly, so Ortiz will need to make sure Mayweather doesn’t have any time to do so. He’ll need to unload hard, fast and heavy. Once Ortiz puts him to the canvas (rather, if he puts him to the canvas) he’ll need to have been vicious enough during their preceding time together in the ring that Mayweather will not want to get back up and fight — even if he can.
More, more, more
It won’t be easy, but it can happen. Ortiz can shock the world Saturday night, but he’ll need everything he has. He’ll need to be more than a volume puncher, more than a short, powerful combination puncher and more than vicious. He’ll need to be all those things combined. He’ll need to be great. He’ll need to be the best.
That’s how Victor Ortiz can defeat Floyd Mayweather.