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WBC welterweight champion “Vicious” Victor Ortiz will have a lot of things coming to him this Saturday night, September 17th 2011.

It will be the 24-year old Ortiz first defense of his welterweight belt, which he nabbed after an impressive unanimous decision over then undefeated Andre Berto. It will be Ortiz’s first megafight, as far as the definition of a megafight is concerned. It will be the Mexican-American’s first fight against an elite opposition.

For Floyd Mayweather, it will be another day in the office, despite the last time he clocked in was more than a year ago when he scored a lopsided win over the aging Shane Mosley. But Mayweather, as great as he still is, may be in for a tough night.

At 34 years old, the former pound-for-pound topper who held titles in five different weight classes, may no longer be in the same level as he was a year ago.

As you age, you lose your speed. Or so the adage goes.

Floyd Mayweather (left) is expected to win over Victor Ortiz (right), but boxing is an unpredictable sport.

And for ring warriors who relied so much on their speed and quick reflexes during their prime, especially when it comes to defense, losing that essential asset as they grow older meant getting tagged more often than they did when they were young.

Roy Jones. Wilfred Benitez. Muhammad Ali.

They were all speed demons. But they didn’t stay that way.

Can the same thing be said about Mayweather? It can be debated. But if glimpses of his training provided by the ever-prying cameras of 24/7 suggest, the guy is still fast. But will he be as fast as he was a year ago? Or is his age dictating his body to go on a slight decline?

If it’s the latter, then slight can be deadly inside the ring.

Ortiz holds a significant advantage in terms of power and youth. The fighter from Garden City, Kansas, a celebrated amateur, is also out to prove himself come fight night.

After beating Berto en route to a world title at welterweight, a victory over Mayweather, will put Ortiz in a perfect position to challenge fellow welterweight beltholder Manny Pacquiao.

But Mayweather is certainly no easy prey. A prizefighter who rightfully belongs to the topmost echelons of the sport, Mayweather boasts of ring acumen and a very phenomenal adjustment rate that enables him to adapt to whatever his opponents bring to the table.

If this was a contest of ring craft superiority and boxing skills, Mayweather should win this fight easily. But it’s hard to discount the heart of a champion and Ortiz has tons of it, as evidenced by the Berto fight. That said, the older Mayweather should be able to beat Ortiz handily.

Should, not would.

Photo credits: Infotech Garage

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Kenneth P. Ragpala is an award-winning sports blogger who has been covering the sport of boxing since 2008. His works have appeared in local newspapers in his home city in Cagayan de Oro and in several online publications abroad. Ragpala has written for several boxing websites, namely Fight Hype, 8 Count News, and Bleacher Report.