Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Victor Ortiz vs Marcos Rene Maidana Preview

Yesterday, Michael Nelson previewed the main event of the June 27th HBO double-header (John vs Juarez II Preview). Today, he takes a look at the opening bout between Victor Ortiz and Marcos Rene Maidana.

Photo © Ray Kasprowicz

Victor Ortiz is an undefeated 22 year old knockout artist that HBO is looking to push. He's coming off a surprisingly easy victory over the normally tough Mike Arnaoutis - blowing him out in two - following dominant knockout wins over the likes of Emmanuel Clottey, Jeffrey Resto, and Carlos Maussa. Next Saturday night, he'll be facing an Argentinian fighter who has never been on American television and is coming off a loss.

Make sure to check out The Boxing Bulletin's live blog coverage of this event

Smells like another Boxing After Dark showcase for a young talent, right?

Not so fast. Marcos Rene Maidana is no "opponent". A young man himself, the 25 year old has knocked out 24 of his 25 victims. While those victims aren't exactly a who's who at light welterweight, some of them are hard nosed journeymen that he dispatched much easier than other players in the division. Arturo Morua beat Cosme Rivera, Carlos Maussa and Emmanuel Augustus, and went the distance with Ricardo Torres a year before he fought Maidana. Maidana destroyed him within three rounds. Manuel Garcia beat Maussa and controversially lost to Juan Lazcano before suffering a lopsided defeat to Timothy Bradley. Maidana took him out in eight.

His only blemish is the split decision loss to Andriy Kotelnik in February. The WBA World light welterweight title match was a hotly contested bout that could have gone either way. But as opposed to Kotelnik's bout with Junior Witter - in which Kotelnik swept the last several rounds and looked as if he could easily go 15 - he had to use every bit of grit and heart inside him to survive his encounter against Marcos. At the end, Kotelnik had a disfigured face featuring a badly swollen jaw, a twisted, bloodied nose, and a knot under his right eye.

In other words, we have two explosive, young bangers who are capable of ending a fight at any moment. Remember the pre-fight hype amongst the boxing faithful over James Kirkland against Joel Julio? This looks to be an even better matchup.

Yes, hindsight is 20/20. Kirkland-Julio failed to produce many thrills, as James proved too strong for Julio, whose game plan was to awkwardly leap around the ring like a gimpy gazelle. But the free-swinging Maidana is unlikely to take many backward steps and will provide plenty of counter opportunities for Ortiz, who like Kirkland, is a strong, aggressive southpaw. And while he's more patient than James, he lets his hands go in combination and will swarm when the smell of blood is in the air. There will be violence in spades. In all likelihood, there will be a knockout.

Given that both men are only into their fifth year as a professional boxer (and neither have exactly been on the fast track), both are bringing something into the ring that the other has never seen before. Ortiz has never faced a slugger with the power and durability of Maidana. Nor has he faced Maidana's crave to fillet a rib cage with slashing right hands and sharp left hooks. Meanwhile, Maidana has never faced a fighter with the power of Ortiz, or a southpaw nearly as talented as Ortiz.

The Kotelnik fight alone gives Maidana the definitive experience edge. Facing a tough, technically proficient titlist, Maidana opened the bout strong before getting soundly outboxed during the middle portion of the fight. As the waters began getting deep, he answered an examination that Ortiz hasn't been close to being challenged with by sucking it up and furiously rallying in the championship rounds. He showed enough stamina, heart, and bullheaded determination four months ago to be sure that he's not going to be intimidated by Ortiz at any point in their fight. He's coming to put the young lion to sleep and he'll walk through hell to do it.

Another learning experience Maidana can take from Kotelnik is how to deal with a fighter that has a tight guard. Ortiz' defense isn't dissimilar to Kotelnik's, keeping his hands near his cheeks at all times and exploding out of his shell with compact combinations. Maidana nailed Kotelnik with a number of uppercuts; he'll look to penetrate Victor's guard the same way while mixing in wide shots around the gloves and elbows.

Nevertheless, Victor has the clear edge in technique. His straighter punches should allow him to effectively counter the Argentinian and win most of the exchanges. Ortiz has shown solid footwork in the past as well; expect him to move around the ring in spots to lure Maidana into traps. He'll try to land powerful lead lefts inside of Maidana's looping right hands.

How many flush left hands and right hooks can Maidana take to the chin? And how will young Ortiz react if Maidana is still in his face after several rounds, ripping shots into his midsection and launching uppercuts between his guard? These type of questions don't make for a showcase, they make for vintage Boxing After Dark chaos.

I for one can't wait to find out the answers.

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Ortiz vs. Maidana said...

Both fighters are willingly to take the belt. But only one will get that belt. Ortiz vs Maidana fight will surely a great fight of the month.