Boxing


'Left-Hook Lounge': Vivek Wallace's Mailbag feat. Mayweather/Ortiz & Manny Pacquiao

Alan H. (Las Vegas, NV): I thought Mayweather's punches to end the fight was completely illegal. You spoke on your facebook page about why you thought they weren't. Can you elaborate on that for a second, please?

Vivek W. (ESB): You know, some feel I've unjustly taken up for Mayweather, but this is why. The fact that he's the man most love to hate makes him subjected to certain criticism that the average fighter would never be met with. Seems most of the venom spit his way (at least what I responded to on my FB page) was stirred up from disgruntled Pacquiao fans who still find great displeasure in his position on Pacquiao and the drug test. What's funny about this is that Pacquiao himself came out and stated that the shot was perfectly legal. What I think people have to really sit back and identify is the fact that we have a man who won the fight legally by doing something the rules allow him to do against a man who nearly won the fight illegally who lost points for doing something the rules DON'T allow him to do.

Ortiz had a point deducted for a reason, and it was because he cheated. Mayweather had no point deducted for his actions in this case because what he did do was perfectly within the rules. Coming into the fight we knew that experience would play a strong role in the outcome. This occurrence was a product of that very sceanario. Ortiz, being the younger, less experienced fighter left himself wide open at a time a seasoned veteran like Mayweather knew was opportune to seize the moment. I've said it a million times in the past: "The first thing an amateur fighter is told in the gym as a kid is the last thing he hears years later as a pro about to do battle - "PROTECT YOURSELF AT ALL TIMES". Hopkins, Toney, Mayweather.....all old-school guys who know every rule and advantage in the book, and have enough 'thug' in them (for lack of better words) to use these not-so-popular tactics.

I can't blame Mayweather for his actions because he did what the rules allowed him to do to win. People call Hopkins dirty, but I always remind them, when has he ever lost multiple points in a fight? He doesn't, because he knows (as a seasoned vet) precisely how and when to adapt these subtle strategies to turn the tide of a fight. Some may not like the way it was delivered, but remember, he didn't start the 'fire', he just put it out. Not the way many would have liked, but if you don't like his move within the rules, you must be equally critical of the multiple headbutts landed by Ortiz to the face, and the rabbit punches that put a huge bump on Mayweather's noggin! When Mayweather was headbutted to the face, he protected himself when he protested to the ref. That, along with his knowledge of the rules allowed him to capitalize on a situation that started bad and ended good for him.

Bottomline: Speed kills. And when the fight was allowed to resume, as soon as Cortez said "box", Mayweather's speed on offense clearly 'killed' Ortiz's lack thereof on defense. Nighty night.....don't let the bed bugs bite! He never saw Mayweather again during regulation. Instead, it was a vision of the rafters, courtesy of lala land. It was just another crafty veteran move. Same one he used against the late Arturo Gatti (RIP), as well as Shane Mosley.

Robert N. (Atlanta, GA): I wasn't too crazy about the way the bout ended, but I'm curious to know how you rated Mayweathers performance against Ortiz overall before the stoppage?

Vivek W. (ESB): I thought Mayweather's performance was pretty much what many felt it would be. Strong in some areas, rust-apparent in others. I think Mayweather has been such a defensive master in the past that many felt he didn't look as good because he appeared to get hit more, but for those who did feel that way, I'd point them in the direction of the s
stat sheet where his plus/minus ration was still an incredibly strong +17. Ortiz landed 18% of his punches, and that included not one single jab against Mayweather. All were powerpunches, which were to be expected considering the fact that Mayweather followed through on his word and stood in the pocket. In the more rust-apparent zone, I think you'd have to point to Mayweather's own jab count.

Typically, his jab is a laser shot that comes on a frozen rope; however, last Saturday night, he was far from precise with it. Statistics show that Mayweather landed what appeared to be his worst ever jab percentage (14% on 12 of 83 landed). The thing here, however, is the fact that it's a bit tough to analyze whether or not it was rust that led to this poor statistic, the fact that Ortiz actually gave pretty good head movement and was active moving around the ring, or simply the fact that Mayweather was in against a southpaw, which is an angle we haven't seen him in against in years. Each of those things could have contributed, because Mayweather's final jab numbers were completely horrendous. One other outside possibility is that his Father was absent from camp, and more so than Roger, Floyd Snr. is the one who has tried strongly to polish this punch within the young Floyd.

The upside to Floyd's performance is that he was able to use a still stellar defense and combine it with an offense that was nothing short of incredible. He stated that he would stand in the pocket and bang, and that's exactly what we got. He used a more compact, Clottey type defense to pick shots, and immediately countered with crisp, strong powershots, to the tune of an amazing 49% on 61 of 125 shots landed. That number is pretty telling because he landed at this stellar clip against a southpaw, dismissing the notion that he somehow has an issue against the somewhat offsetting target. Overall, I think the numbers bode well for him, and I think it just proves yet against why he is who he is. Not his best performance, but certainly inspiring considering what he was able to accomplish and the fact that he employed a strategy few thought he could and made it his own.

Hector A. (Dallas, TX): This was Mayweather's supposed "coming out party" to show the world he could bang in the pocket rather than run with footwork like he always has. Do you think this style would give him a better chance against Pacquiao?

Vivek W. (ESB): I think it's his ONLY chance against Pacquiao. I've always said that I lean slightly towards Pacquiao in a fight between the two because Pacquiao's fierce fighting style has to be met fire with fire or the opponent will be a victim to statistical domination, courtesy of his rapid combinations which score quick points. For Mayweather to punch, and move, and try to defeat Pacquaio on the run would be an ill-fated plan, in my opinion. What made Morales and Marquez so effective against him was two things: Counter-punching, and standing in the pocket, willing to take a few shots to land a few more.

This new style of Mayweather's, as noted in the previous question, was accentuated by doing just that. Strong counter-punching and standing in the pocket. With his speed, deceptive power, and ability to land precise power punches from nearly point blank range make him very dangerous for anybody.

The challenge for Pacquaio with Mayweather's new style would be the fact that the minute he stops throwing punches or loses his proper angle, Mayweather's speed would give him the right timing to land some of those patented laser shots on that proverbial frozen rope. Clottey proved to many that Pacquiao can be busted up very quickly with powershots up close. If Clottey was able to do that much facial damage after only landing 100 punches or so, Mayweather's new style would make him a very credible danger to Pacquiao, who history has told us is clearly hittable on his best night. I still think it's a 50/50 fight, but I do think Mayweather's new style makes him a threat to anybody. Even the great Manny Pacquiao.

(Vivek "Vito" Wallace can be reached at vivexemail@yahoo.com, Youtube (Vivek1251), Twitter (VivekWallace1251), Skype (Vito-Boxing), and Facebook).

Article posted on 19.09.2011



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