By Jackie Kallen
Can’t wait to get on a plane and head to Las Vegas for the big fight weekend. It all gets started Thursday night at Hard Rock when undefeated Luis Ortiz (21-0) fights 20-0 Lateef Kayode for the interim WBA Heavyweight belt. As they say, “Someone’s 0 must go.”
35 year-old Ortiz, from Cuba, but fighting out of Miami, has been looking forward to this opportunity. The 6’4″ southpaw has never really mixed it up with anyone possessing any particular skill and status. His last win was over 35-102 Monte Barrett and his other opponents have long strings of losses. This is the first time he’s faced anyone with a goose egg on their record.
31 year-old Kayode. from Nigeria, is living in Hollywood, CA. He’s a few inches shorter an a few years younger but his resume is a bit more interesting. Before moving up to heavyweight, he had some nice fights with Antonio Tarver, Matt Godfrey and Felix Cora, Jr. His last fight was a win over Jonte Willis (as a heavyweight).
There are several other undefeated boxers on the card: Jermall Charlo, Julian Williams, Jordan Shimmell and Errol Spence.
Friday afternoon is the big weigh-in at the MGM Grand Garden. These Mayweather weigh-ins are just as crowded as the actual fight. Fans line up three or more hours early to get in and grab a seat. By the time the main event steps on the scale, the place is packed to the rafters. It’s a big party.
On Friday at the The Chocolate Room (at the Paris Hotel) there will be a Raging Babe Soiree from 7- 9 p.m. Some of boxing hottest movers and shakers will be on hand to help raise money for the Kennedy Cunningham Heart Transplant Fund. Kennedy is the daughter of boxer Steve Cunningham and she is suffering from Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and is awaiting a heart transplant.
Saturday morning at the Las Vegas Convention Center, there will be a meet and greet with top champions and legends of the sport. Some of the names reportedly attending include: James Toney, Lamon Brewster, Riddick Bowe, Chris Byrd, Ray Mercer, Mike Tyson, Sergio Martinez, Amir Khan, Roy Jones, jr. and many others.
The sold-out Mayweather-Maidana fight will be the highlight of the weekend. The undercard is pretty impressive, also. There are two other title fights. Leo Santa Cruz (27-0-1) fights Manuel Roman (17-2-3) for the WBC Super Bantamweight title and Miguel Vazquez (34-3) battles (20-1-1) Mickey Bey for the IBF Lightweight belt.
Making it even more compelling, Alfredo Angulo (22-4) meets up with (22-2) James De la Rosa at middleweight and Humberto Soto (64-8) fights John Molina (27-4) at 140#. It’s an action-packed night of fights.
The bettors are hoping for a Maidana upset just to score a few bucks. But the boxing fans seem pretty certain that Money Mayweather will remain undefeated. He has his legion of admirers believing that he is invincible, indestructible, infallible and flawless. But is he?