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Fight Week! - Ortiz ReturnsPosted on June 21, 2012 at 04:36 PM.
It’s been over 5 years but I’m glad to be back writing for Operation Sports and discussing my two favorite sports, Boxing and MMA. Welcome to “Fight Week”. Each week I will discuss the different issues and stories concerning the wold of combat sports. With that said, lets get started:
This weekend is full of fight cards so lets break it down card by card:
Victor Ortiz v. Josesito Lopez (Saturday on Showtime) – We last saw Ortiz last September in the biggest fight of his career against Floyd Mayweather Jr. Most people who follow boxing know what happened during the fight but here is a short recap:
Ortiz’s gameplan throughout the fight was to bully Mayweather and force the fight against the ropes. Ortiz actually found some success with that strategy but during the fourth round he hit Mayweather with an intentional headbutt. After referee Joe Cortez docked him a point for the headbutt, he apologized for the foul on three separate occasions. During the third apology, Cortez called for the fight to begin again and Mayweather immediately threw a left hook and a right straight (perhaps the best two-punch combo in his career) and KO’d Ortiz. While the Mayweather combo was completely legal, many felt it was bad form and Lopez has seemed to gain more popularity because of the loss than from his most significant win against a man he was scheduled to face this Saturday…..Andre Berto
Berto/Ortiz 1 was my clear 2011 Fight of the Year pick and is a must watch for any boxing fan. The fight had it all: Constant back and forth action, multiple knockdowns and a close decision. The fighters’ backgrounds also added to the intrigue. Berto walked into the fight undefeated and at the time was one or two fights away from fighting boxing’s current big 2 (Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao). Ortiz was coming off of a draw against Lamont Peterson and was still attempting to shake the stigma of a quitter after he lost to Marcos Maidana in 2009 and had a rather sad interview after the fight where he stated he “wasn’t sure he should do this (fight) anymore. “ Many pundits questioned his heart and whether he was cut out for elite level boxing. That was until he recovered from two knockdowns and beat Berto by unanimous decision.
After the Mayweather loss, the obvious choice was Berto/Ortiz 2. Showtime shelled out millions (outbidding mighty HBO) to broadcast the fight and promoted it constantly as one of the biggest fights of the year. Then Berto injured his bicep and the fight was pushed back until June. Then Berto tested positive for steroids and was pulled from the fight. Now we have Josesito Lopez filling in for Berto.
Lopez is a virtual unknown with his most significant win being against Mike Dallas Jr. He is also coming off of a split decision loss to Jesse Vargas (on the Mayweather/Ortiz card). Ortiz is expected to walk through Lopez and the only thing that makes this fight interesting is what lies on the horizon for him. If Ortiz wins (and walks out healthy) he will face Saul Alvarez on September 15 in Las Vegas in one of the biggest fights remaining this year.
The Lopez fight is a walk in the park for Ortiz if the aggressive and heavy-handed version of Ortiz shows up. The only question remaining is his mental stability. The Maidana and Mayweather incidents are signs of a somewhat unstable mental foundation and I wonder if Ortiz will be able to focus on the task at hand and win easily. I think we are looking at unanimous decision for Ortiz with Lopez bringing a tougher fight than most experts think.
Bellator 71 (Friday on MTV2): The big story from this card is the return of Brett Rogers who is one of the most hyped and underperforming heavyweights in the history of MMA. He has built an entire career behind one win of Andrei Arlovski and one decent round against Fedor Emelianenko. Other than that he’s spent his time losing 3 out of his last 4 and spending time in jail for beating his wife.
It’s an interesting signing for Bellator who appears to be confidently spending its newly found Viacom money by signing ex-Zuffa fighters like Rogers, Mo Lawal and Paul Daley. Bellator is desperate for heavyweight talent so I understand signing Rogers but I’m not sure that they may have been better served signing a less well know talent with less baggage.
UFC on FX 4: Guida v. Maynard (Friday on FX) – I’ll put my picks below but for a great read about this card, take a look at my colleague Joe Chacon’s blog:
Guida by UD
Stout by 2nd round TKO
Ebersole by UD
Pearson by UD
UFC 147 (Saturday on PPV)– If it weren’t for UFC 149, UFC 147 would hold the title of biggest dropoff from the original card to the final card. This card lost Anderson Silva, Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort and about 60,000 fans (UFC 147 was going to originally be held in a soccer stadium). What we are left with is a rematch really no one wanted to see between Wanderlei Silva and Rich Franklin. We’ll im one of the few who is excited about this fight. The first one was an exciting and close standup brawl between two extremely tough veterans. The problem is no one actually saw the fight. Why? Because the next card was UFC 100 and many people (including me) held off on buying another PPV until that card. We are in a similar situation now with UFC 148 on the horizon.
Regarding the actual fight, I’m going with Franklin. Silva KO’d Cung Le in the second round of his fight last November but I thought he was a step slow and sluggish before he came on later in the fight. I think Franklin has a stronger chin and will be a step faster. Franklin by KO2.
I’ll be back next week when I will discuss how the UFC’s health insurance program may have been the worst move the UFC has made in years. If you have a comment about the blog, post below or tweet me at @aholbert32
BORN: September 25, 1977 (35)
JOINED: Jul 18, 2002 (10 years, 308 days ago)
MEMBER # 83
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