Once again, an event that claimed to showcase the Sept. 17 bout between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Victor Ortiz instead focused on an absent Manny Pacquiao.
Both Mayweather (41-0, 25 knockouts) and Ortiz (29-2-2, 22 KOs) mentioned Pacquiao throughout their news conference Wednesday at LA Live.
Mayweather declared he wanted to face Pacquiao in his next fight. Ortiz said such statements were offensive and would come back to haunt Mayweather.
“I’m tired of hearing he’s fighting Pacquiao next,” said Ortiz, who will defend his World Boxing Council welterweight title in Las Vegas. “No, no, no. He’s fighting me next. Victor Ortiz.”
Mayweather gave Ortiz plenty of credit, insisting he would never lose sight of his next fight, but still, his comments came back to the Philippine congressman.
“I’m never going to overlook a guy like Victor Ortiz,” Mayweather said. “He’s young, he’s strong and he’s the WBC welterweight champion of the world. … To be the best, you got to beat the best in front of you.
“We only want to fight the biggest and the best out there, and yes, Manny Pacquiao you’re next.”
Mayweather last fought May 1, 2010, defeating Shane Mosley in Las Vegas. Ortiz’s layoff has been drastically shorter, winning the WBC belt from Andre Berto in April.
Against Berto, Ortiz was a big underdog, but against Mayweather, he will be even more so — a prospect he relishes.
“I love it. I’m always the underdog,” he said. “What is somebody like Mayweather going to give me that I haven’t already faced?”
Mayweather’s defeated opponents usually cite his speed, his power, and the lethal combination of the two as unexpected.
“His speed and style do not worry me,” Ortiz said. “There’s good. There’s great. And there’s outstanding. I’m outstanding. I stand out from everyone.”
The crowd at LA Live certainly agreed, as a largely pro-Ortiz contingent cheered for the Ventura native throughout the news conference. Ortiz admitted having the crowd’s support allowed him to loosen up compared to a similar event in New York on Monday. His more relaxed attitude led to a brief encounter with Mayweather upon his introduction.
“I was going to smack him,” Ortiz said. “I was going to lay him out. He said, ‘You don’t get this, son,’ and I said, ‘No, no. I’m the world champ. You don’t have a chance.’”
The two will have to wait until September to sort that out.