Fight Prediction: Mayweather vs Ortiz

September 14, 2011 in Boxing, Sport by pacejmiller

On September 17 in Las Vegas, undefeated 34-year-old Floyd Mayweather Jr (41-0,  25KOs) will return from a 16-month lay off take on 24-year-old southpaw brawler Victor Ortiz (29-2-2, 22KOs) for Ortiz’s WBC Welterweight belt.

Love him or hate him, you can’t deny that Floyd Mayweather Jr is entertaining.  Some would say more out of the ring than in it, though true fans of the sport can’t help but be in awe of his phenomenal ability.  And sure, Mayweather is not fighting the man everyone wants him to fight, Manny Pacquiao, but Victor Ortiz does make a very interesting ‘tune up’ for the Pacman — if the megafight is to finally take place next year as recent reports would suggest.

In the meantime, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  Ortiz is a dangerous young opponent coming off a career reviving win against previously undefeated Andre Berto in April 2011 — his most satisfying win since being stopped by Marcos Maidana in 2009 where many believed a badly cut Ortiz had quit against his heavy-hitting opponent.  But does he stand a chance against someone in the class of Floyd Mayweather Jr?

Personally, I’m kind of torn here.  I’d love to see someone knock Mayweather off his pedestal, but at the same time that could spell the end of Mayweather-Pacquiao — and after all these years of waiting, that would be a monumental disappointment.

That said, the probability of Ortiz pulling off the upset is incredibly slim.  On paper, at least, or if you’ve ever watched the two men in action, Mayweather should punish Ortiz and give him a boxing lesson all night long.  Mayweather is simply too skilled, too slick, too fast, too experienced, and too defensively sound for someone as raw as Ortiz.  On top of that, Mayweather seldom gets hit flush, and when he does, he has survived and come back stronger.  His ability to adjust mid-fight is second to none.

But as the saying goes, anything can happen in boxing, and Ortiz at least appears to have the weapons and temperament to trouble Mayweather, whose form after 16 months off could potentially be a little off.

First of all, Ortiz is 10 years younger than Mayweather and, judging from his last fight, is in the form and shape of his life.  He’s like a caged animal that has been released after years in captivity and has this fearless attitude about him, like he just wants to tear through everyone in front of him.  His motivation and determination is through the roof right now.

Secondly, Ortiz is physically stronger than Mayweather and visibly bigger.  At 5’9″ he is an inch taller and has arms like tree trunks.  His thick body is also built like a brick house.  His punches can do serious damage and it looks like he’ll be able to take a punch much better than he used to.

Thirdly, Ortiz may not be as fast as Mayweather but he does have decent speed.  I’m not sure if it’s enough to bother Mayweather but it could be a significant factor in the fight if Mayweather underestimates it.

Fourthly, Ortiz is a southpaw, and we’ve all heard about Floyd’s troubles with southpaws throughout the years (Corley, Judah, etc).  The conventional response to that assertion is that Floyd has beaten every southpaw he has faced, but it must give Ortiz encouragement that Floyd has more difficulty with southpaws than orthodox fighters, primarily because his celebrated shoulder roll technique doesn’t work as well against southpaws.  It has to count for something, right?

Another thing Floyd is said to have problems with is a strong, stiff jab, which Ortiz also has.  He just has to learn to utilise it consistently throughout the fight.

On the flip side, Mayweather has not fought for 16 months, not since his May 2010 fight against Sugar Shane Mosley which he dominated after a major scare in round 2 where Mosley rocked him with a couple of big right hands.  Before that, Mayweather dominated Pacquiao’s next opponent, Juan Manuel Marquez, in September 2009.  And before that, a KO against Ricky Hatton in December 2007.  That’s three opponents in 45 months!  Yes, Mayweather won all those fights, but the inactivity, combined with his age (34) could come back to bite him in a hurry.

Mayweather also has brittle hands and hasn’t shown genuine KO power for quite some time, which could allow Ortiz to walk through some punches in order to land his own.  And if he does, will Mayweather be able to withstand the onslaught?  As the fight against Mosley suggested, if a big power shot lands in the right place, Mayweather can be hurt.

Lastly, there’s the distractions.  We all know about the Mayweather family’s legal troubles, and now the first episode of the Mayweather-Ortiz 24/7 series (one of the best yet, by the way) has revealed another rift between father and son.  Junior insists it doesn’t bother him at all, but his face suggests a different story.

Do all of these things add up to an upset in the cards?  Possible, but unlikely.  I’d put Ortiz’s chances of pulling off the improbable win at around 10-15%, and he’ll most probably have to do it via a stunning knockout.  He’ll have to be aggressive but patient, use that stiff jab of his to control the pace and pounce on Mayweather and not give him a chance to dictate.  If Ortiz goes in looking to brawl his way to a win he’ll become the perfect target for Mayweather’s counters.  If he remains disciplined and uses controlled aggression he could shock the world.

The more likely scenario is one where Ortiz comes out with guns blazing, takes it to Mayweather in the first couple of rounds, maybe even win them…before Mayweather figures out Ortiz’s style and schools him the rest of the way en route to a clear unanimous victory or even a late round KO.  I am still suspicious of Mayweather’s power at this stage of his career so I am going to predict a comfortable Mayweather UD.

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Canberra’s Best: Aubergine

September 14, 2011 in Canberra, Food, Reviews, Travel by pacejmiller

Sydney has plenty of fine dining restaurants that have delightful food, but the majority of them cost a leg, an arm, and two balls, especially if you are having wine.

Canberra, being the tiny town that it is, doesn’t have nearly as many, so we did our research before going.  And according to that research, the best fine dining restaurant around is Aubergine, which could be described as modern Australian with strong French and European overtones.  The Chef is Ben Willis, who had previously worked at Michelin-starred restaurants overseas.

The best part?  Two course meals are only $60.  Three course meals are $70.

We went for the three course set, chose six different dishes, and shared.  Here is what we had.

First up…well, we didn’t order this appetiser — almonds and olives — surprisingly good!

The first course, roast quail, scallops wrapped in bacon, braised lentils and soubise (like an onion puree sauce).  I’m not a big fan of lentils but this was deluxe.  That thing on top is a quail egg.

The alternate first course, the saute of sand whiting, chorizo, south coast squid and smoked rice.  When I first saw it I didn’t think much of it, but I think this turned out to be my favourite dish.  That black stuff mixed in with the lightly flavoured whiting and the salty chorizo was phenomenal.

Then the first main course: mustard crust pork loin, black pudding, pork croquette and braised fennel.  Ohh…I loved this one.  Big fan of mustard crust and the croquette, and the sauces mixed in together was simply sensational.  Even the black pudding was pretty good.

The alternate main course: white river veal fillet, veal sweetbreads, creamed potatoes, glazed shallots and salsa verde.

Dessert was very nice too.  The chocolate fondant with praline parfait.  Interesting array of textures with the soft fondant and the creamy parfait was a great combination.

Lastly, crepe suzette with mango ice cream.  A little disappointed with this one as the crepe got a bit soggy, but it was probably because they left this out while waiting for the fondant to bake.

In all, still an exquisite meal that would have cost twice as much back in Sydney.  Definitely one of the highlights of the trip!

8.5 out of 10!

Aubergine
18 Barker Street, Griffith, ACT, 2603
Phone: +61 2 6260 8666
Lunch: Tuesday-Saturday from 12pm
Dinner: Monday-Saturday from 6pm
Website: http://www.aubergine.com.au 
Note: Book online in advance!