Mayweather-Ortiz: Trainers take stage
by Andreas Hale
Photos by Chris Cozzone
Boxing is a ballet of philosophies. Each fighter must stick to the script and change accordingly when faced with adversity or risk falling into a trap that they may not be able to dance their way out of. Behind every game plan is an instructor who orchestrates the routine over and over again until it is down to perfection the moment before the curtain raises and the show is on full display.
The instructors for this battle of wills are Danny Garcia and Roger Mayweather. They are two completely different trainers with totally different fighters. Garcia has helped the young Victor Ortiz get into a position to challenge the self-proclaimed best fighter on the planet while Mayweather has trained his nephew, Floyd Mayweather, to become the epitome of greatness and grace in a sport that relies on sheer brutality. When these two polar opposites clash, it will be the trainers that will put the game plan in motion and hope their fighter executes to perfection. For Garcia, the first thing to go on Saturday night will be the respect factor.
“Most fighters give Floyd too much respect and we don’t respect him,” Garcia says. With Ortiz being considered a stronger puncher and a southpaw, Garcia believes that is the perfect recipe to erase Mayweather’s “0” in devastating fashion. “Victor is a southpaw with a lot of power, he’s hungrier and younger,” Garcia says about the advantages that Ortiz holds over Mayweather. “I wouldn’t be surprised if Victor puts him down with one punch.”
Garcia has been studying Floyd Mayweather long and hard for months. Rather than pick one tape to formulate a game plan off of, Garcia has pieced together a strategy based on some of the minor miscues Mayweather has had over his 41 fight career. If all the mistakes Floyd makes are taken advantage of, Garcia believes Ortiz will be the first man to topple the great Mayweather.
“Floyd said there’s nobody that can make a good plan to beat him but I have it. We’ve seen little things from every other fight and we’ve put them all together,” he says. And all of that talk about Mayweather standing in front of Ortiz from the opening bell is recipe for disaster.
“I think Floyd is going to run. He says he’s going to stand in front of Victor but how are you going to stand in front of Victor when you don’t hit hard? He’s going to get nailed and then he’s going to have to run,” Garcia says while citing that Ortiz will also have to demonstrate patience in order to not tire out like Mayweather’s other opponents have when facing the defensive minded five-division champion.
“We will knock him out.”
The confidence Garcia displays is nothing new to Roger Mayweather. It’s all old hat to him these days. 41 have tried and all 41 have failed. All of them have the same story. The questions about how to beat his nephew are routine, but expected.
“When you get in that ring, you should leave no doubt as to what you will do in the fight,” Mayweather explains when asked about Victor’s game plan. “When Victor Ortiz gets his ass whooped, he’ll say the same things all the rest ‘I shoulda, I coulda, I woulda.’”
And that’s exactly what every other fighter has said after being outclassed by the expert marksman. Even though Mayweather is widely known for his speed and defense, all of his opponents have stated that he is deceptively quick and hard to hit while possessing the punching power that they certainly didn’t expect. Roger Mayweather believes that Ortiz will be making a major mistake if he stands and trades with his nephew.
“We hope he does stand in front of him and throws his best punches,” Mayweather says. “That’s definitely going to get his ass knocked out.”
Without going as far to guarantee a knockout victory like his nephew has, Roger doesn’t see Ortiz being any different than Floyd’s previous opponents. And regardless of all of the pre-fight planning, Roger concedes that it is his nephew’s talent and in-ring ability that will be the deciding factor on Saturday night.
“(Victor) is a good fighter but he’s never been in there with an elite fighter,” he says. “In boxing you find a way to win. That’s why my nephew is the best pound for pound fighter in the world. That’s what boxing is all about.”