Floyd Mayweather Jr. was hardly a minute into his speech Tuesday afternoon before he heard the “P” word.
The words, “I just want to give the fans what they want to see,” just left the undefeated five-division champion’s mouth when a passionate follower screamed an expected line from the balcony at the Hudson Theatre.
He shouted, “We want Pacquiao,” referring to Manny Pacquiao, a Filipino superstar.
Mayweather smiled, appeared in the direction of that follower and said what practically each boxing enthusiast has waited for him to say as he entered a self-imposed deport after his simple success over Shane Mosley almost 14 months ago.
Mayweather said, “Do I want the Pacquiao fight? Absolutely. If that’s what the fans want, that’s what I’m going to give the fans. But it takes one step at a time. I can’t overlook Victor Ortiz.”
Mayweather, who has 41-0, 25 KOs, is a total professional. He never ignores a challenger.
The beleaguered star definitely would not ignore Ortiz with 29-2-2, 22 KOs, a young physically powerful southpaw who must give a much stronger test than the 7-1 odds suggest.
Ortiz is 10 years younger than Mayweather, who will finish a 16-month layoff when he fights for Ortiz’s WBC welterweight title September 17 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. A colorful fighter from Oxnard, California, Ortiz gives off assurance since he’s fresh off the largest win of his seven- year pro career, a undisputed choice over Andre Berto with 27-1, 21 KOs.
Ortiz got down the canvas twice to succeed their April 16 fight in Mashantucket, Conn., the surest indications so far that he has conquered that well-known meltdown against Argentina’s Marcos Maidana two years ago in Los Angeles.
He is not Pacquiao, but Ortiz is the greatest work Mayweather could acquire if this is about to be ready to at last fight Pacquiao next year.
Mayweather claimed once more on Tuesday that the actual motive he has not fought Pacquiao is the failure of the Filipino to present to Olympic-style drug testing. Pacquiao openly has declared that he will get those tests to make the possibly largest fight of boxing a reality, although that is a matter for another day.
Mayweather said, “We’re not worried about that. Our main focus is Victor Ortiz.”
If it is not, Mayweather may find himself getting ready for an Ortiz rematch.