By Kirk Jackson
By the time perennial pound for pound great Floyd Mayweather steps into the ring in mid September, it would have been approximately 17 months since he last saw action.
Mayweather’s last fight took place in May, against then the top welterweight in the division, “Sugar” Shane Mosley.
Much has changed since his victory over the future hall of fame fighter in their anticipated block buster match.
Former welterweight contemporaries such as Antonio Margarito, Miguel Cotto and Mosley are no longer a factor in the division, and in the eyes of many, Manny Pacquiao has risen to the ranks of undisputed pound for pound king.
In Mayweather’s anticipated return, he is already accomplishing something Pacquiao has neglected to do for several years now.
And that is facing a young, talented fighter in their prime, like Victor Ortiz.
Ortiz recently stepped up to the welterweight class and already has established himself as one of the best in the division, by completely dominating the undefeated Haitian star Andre Berto.
Granted, Ortiz isn’t the clear cut best fighter in the division, and has flaws just as most fighters do.
But after a overcoming some mental issues inside the ring, Ortiz has bounced back from his unexpected loss from Marcos Maidana.
With a rejuvenated attitude, the Kansas born brawler looks to live up to the potential many critics saw in him when he was coming up as a prospect.
Sometimes referred to as the new “Golden Boy,” Ortiz looks to make well on that name and what better way than facing one of the truly great pugilists of this era in Mayweather.
Some people see this as an easy fight for Mayweather, but that may not be the case in this match up.
Ortiz is a strong fighter, with a swarming style, and he tries to overwhelm his opponents with his aggression and power. Ortiz also has good speed, and as a southpaw, will undoubtedly put up the best effort he can.
As mentioned earlier for Mayweather, he is facing a prime, upper tier fighter, who is entering the with a ton of momentum. Ortiz just ended a fighter’s undefeated streak, and he looks to end another.
Pacquiao as great as he is, has faced questionable opposition in recent years.
After finally getting around to facing Marquez for a third time, it seems at least most fans will be getting what they wished for.
I wish this third fight would of happened a few years sooner.
The match up looks great on paper but more than likely it will not live up to expectations.
Marquez is one of the all- time great fighters in his era, but he will be 38 when he steps in the ring with Pacquiao, and in recent fights he has shown the effects of his age.
Pacquiao faced Mosley who was 39 years old, and coming off two terrible performances. Mosley was completely dominated by Mayweather in May of last year, and “Contender” star Sergio Mora fought Mosley to a lack luster draw.
When Pacquiao faced Antonio Margarito, he was coming off a tune up with a tomato can. And before that tune up against the mediocre Roberto Garcia, Margarito was suspended for a year.
Before Margarito’s suspension, he was outclassed and knocked out by Mosley. It’s bad enough Margarito had to cut an extra four pounds to make the catch weight he and Pacquiao fought at.
Miguel Cotto as well entered in fight against Pacquiao looking not too good in his recent fights. Cotto also had to meet Pacquiao at a catch weight losing and extra two pounds, which I am sure didn’t do him any favors.
Leading up to their fight, Cotto looked bad in his controversial victory over Joshua Clottey, and many argue Cotto hasn’t looked the same since he was beaten to a pulp by Margarito in their fight that took place in 2008.
Ricky Hatton was on the downslide as well. The addition of Floyd Mayweather Sr. in his corner was a miscalculated error, and the best of Hatton was taken out of him when he was knocked out by Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Just look at Hatton’s come back fight against Juan Lazcano. Hatton was rocked a few times late in the fight, and had the benefit of a hometown referee who used questionable tactics to intervene because Hatton was on the verge of being knocked out.
Oscar De La Hoya was obviously a done deal before he even stepped in the ring against Pacquiao. Pacquiao’s head trainer Freddie Roach knew this, that’s why they took the fight.
De La Hoya was entered this fight meeting at a catch weight in the welterweight division, a division he hasn’t stepped foot for seven years.
The “Golden Boy” was also coming off a loss against Mayweather, and a tough fight against Steve Forbes, and it was obvious De La Hoya wasn’t the great fighter he used to be.
Now it’s easy to find faults in Pacquiao’s recent opposition.
But the same can be said for a lot of fighters. No one has a perfect resume, and even if the guys he faced may have been coming in at a disadvantage, they still signed up and took the fight. If they lost the fight or took a brutalizing beating, that’s on them.
But I wanted to recognize and highlight what Mayweather is doing with his comeback fight.
No Ortiz isn’t the best fighter in the world. But he is a promising fighter on the upside that can be a threat to any fighter out there.
That’s all we should ask of our champions. Take a challenge, and fight some good opposition. Hopefully this fight against is the first step, assuming Mayweather wins, to going against Pacquiao in one of the biggest fights in boxing history.
For now we shall have to wait and see.