Ortiz-Lopez: Can Victor keep his mental focus on Saturday?

By Marcus Richardson: Victor Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KO's) will be facing Josesito Lopez (29-4, 17 KO's) in a crucial bout on Saturday night for the vacant WBC Silver welterweight title at the Staples Center, in Los Angeles, California. The made up Silver title is meaningless, but what does have value is the victory for Ortiz. He stands to get a big money bout against WBC junior middleweight champion Saul Alvarez if he can defeat Lopez on Saturday night.

A win for Ortiz will take him straight into the September 15th fight against Alvarez. A loss for Ortiz will result in him having to work his way back up. The good news is that Ortiz is still young at only 25, so it won't be the end of the world if he gets beaten. But a loss will pretty much show that Ortiz doesn't have the game to fight at the highest level on a consistent basis. He did open up some eyes with his win over Andre Berto last year, but then Ortiz ruined things in his next fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. when Ortiz decided to head-butt him in the 4th round.

That led to Ortiz apologizing over and over again, and then dropping his guard for Mayweather to land two big shots that took Ortiz out. It just looked like Ortiz mentally fell apart when things weren't going his way against Mayweather. You can say the same thing in Ortiz's loss to Marcos Maidana in 2009. Ortiz was fighting well early on when he put Maidana down on the canvas several times, but then Ortiz got knocked down in the 6th and he basically quit. That's the thing with Ortiz - you never know what you're going to get with him. He's not someone that consistently fights well. He fight well one fight but then the next bout he'll do something bizarre like backing off after he's got control of the fight.

In ortiz's bout against Lamont Peterson, Ortiz put Peterson down two times early in the fight, but instead of continuing to throw hard leather, Ortiz decided to start boxing him in the second half of the fight. This allowed Peterson to come back and get a draw. Why Ortiz decided to box Peterson is unknown because the fight was right there for him if he had merely kept slugging it out with the smaller Peterson.

Lopez, 27, doesn't have much power, and he's not particularly fast either. He's just an average fighter who belongs near the bottom of the 1st tier. However, he is mentally strong and he does a reasonable job of pressuring his opponents despite lacking the tools needed to be a good pressure fighter. Lopez may not need to be good at pressuring on Saturday night, because if he can at least put a little pressure on Ortiz, we could see Ortiz mentally breaking down and quitting or doing something stupid like fouling Lopez.

Article posted on 21.06.2012

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