(Not your usual boxing nose-to-nose staredown. Photo by Stacey Verbeek, via, with speculation)
Don’t follow boxing very often, but you want to know the gist of Saturday’s mega-fight between Floyd Mayweather and Victor Ortiz? Follow boxing all the time, and want one place that rounds up all the links about the welterweight showdown you could ever want? This Ultimate Guide to the Sept. 17 pay-per-view bout is for you, no matter what kind you are.
(P.S., by way of explaining picture above, it’s probably just a depth-of-field illusion. Either that or Mayweather is LITERALLY trying to get into Ortiz’ head, rather than the figurative term for his usual psychological warfare.)
We start, as always, with a review of this site’s coverage this week. I contemplated where Mayweather-Ortiz fits into the Mayweather proxy war with Manny Pacquiao; told you a bit more about Ortiz than you might’ve learned from 24/7 or various interview shows; broke down the keys to the fight, in two installments; analyzed the undercard; and provided a final preview and prediction. Then, in a roundtable, the site’s staff chimed in what they thought of the fight card and how it has been promoted.
Sometimes, though — and I believe this has been said before somewhere — a picture tells a thousand words. I’ve found that, for someone who isn’t familiar with the two combatants, the highlight clips below that HBO produces can be a good introduction, even if I usually question whether the fights chosen are the best reflection of those combatants’ careers. For hardcore fans, it’ll get your juices flowing. For the complete records of both men, BoxRec is the place. And if you want to get a sense of each man’s personalities, 24/7 is the place to go, even if it glosses over some things; here’s the much-talked about first episode. The final episode airs tonight, and replays for the entire series will appear all over HBO over the weekend, especially during an HBO Zone block of Mayweather-Ortiz programming Saturday that begins at noon and continues until 6 p.m.
Let’s say you want to go to the fight. Good luck affording it, unless you’re a rich person, and then you might get your tickets for free! Tickets haven’t sold out, though, perhaps because of those exhorbitant prices or perhaps because it’s a split-site card, with an undercard that could be sucking some fans away in Los Angeles. And the pay-per-view? They raised the prices by $5 for a big PPV to $59.95 for standard definition and $69.95 for high-def via your cable or satellite provider. Boxing is stupid, man. Yeah, by charging higher rates for things, you might get more money, but you also might have fewer fans watching or attending, and that’s how you shrink a fan base so that next time, even fewer people want to fork over their dollars. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The #1 problem in boxing is a lack of long-term thinking in favor of short-term, immediate gain. For the PPV, the Tecate rebate of $25 helps, but that’s been around for a while (and it’s good for the people who go to the show in L.A., too, but for $20). Another option for watching is the movie theater, which is cheaper but, usually, no booze.
I honestly am “over” watching weigh-ins for big events, with the parade of crappy celebrities and the second-rate pep rally atmosphere, but you can watch the Mayweather-Ortiz weigh-in live at 5:30 p.m. ET in a variety of places, among them here, but also possibly on ESPN News, per past precedent. If there’s any intrigue, it’s in Mayweather’s allegation that Ortiz has had trouble making weight, but I find that hard to believe, like I do with most things Mayweather says, unless that back pain that cropped up a few weeks back kept Ortiz out of training for longer than we realized. There will be various analyses all over the Interwebs about how “ashen” someone looks, if you just want to read those accounts later.
The mainstream media parachutes in with boxing coverage for Mayweather’s fights and Manny Pacquiao’s fights. I’m pleased for the attention, but it’s getting time for them to make a habit of this outside those two big names. I love Gordon Marino’s stuff at the Wall Street Journal; this time around, he examines the Mayweather-Pacquiao dilemma. Lance Pugmire is also way up there on my list; he examines Mayweather’s love of the spotlight. The New York Daily News’ Tim Smith examines Ortiz’ trash talk. USA Today’s Bob Velin examines the Ortiz game plan. The Associated Press examines the personal problems in Mayweather’s life. Yahoo!’s Kevin Iole examines both men. ESPN’s Fight Credential examines everything. The New York Times’ Greg Bishop examines the business of Mayweather. (The Washington Post, as usual, could not give less of a damn about boxing, among big papers.)
So what kind of business will this card do? I don’t think it’ll do sell out in Vegas because of the price, although it might in Los Angeles because Saul Alvarez is such a big attraction, and overall it’ll make a lot of cash. I think the increased pay-per-view price will scare off some people, as will one of the key undercard fights falling through. I say it’ll approach 1.5 million buys, but beyond that, I wouldn’t get too confident. If it hits 1.5, it’ll be a success, I’d say. Leave your predictions in the comments section, won’t you?
As always, I part with a related comedy video. This clip of Ortiz’ most recent fight features HBO commentator Emanuel Steward’s “Howard Dean moment.” I was inspired to run it by a conversation with friend of the site jasonmfschoming.