Floyd Mayweather Jr. pours salt in Victor Ortiz's wounds
Floyd Mayweather Jr. has launched mental warfare against his 10-years-younger Saturday night opponent Victor Ortiz, inviting Ortiz's ex-trainer Robert Garcia and Ventura County rival world champion Brandon Rios to watch near ringside.
"I saw Garcia at a fight at state line [Primm, Nev.] not too long ago. He asked to come to my next fight, and I said that'd be great," Mayweather said. "I'm a man of my word."
Especially when it's this irritating to the opposition's camp.
Not only did Ortiz drop Garcia as his trainer after a 2007 bout, claiming the trainer was "mean," he hired Garcia's brother, Danny, as his new trainer.
That created such a severe falling out in the Garcia family that Robert and Danny are not on speaking terms. It doesn't help that their backyards in Oxnard butt up against each other.
Mayweather claimed Wednesday that Ortiz's explanation that he was abandoned by his father at the age of 12 was "not true," counting Robert Garcia and Internet reports as his "research."
Contacted by telephone, Robert Garcia told The Times he's heard from a former neighbor of the Ortiz family that Ortiz's "dad never left him, was always there for him."
Garcia said he couldn't remember Ortiz's father ever checking in by telephone or any other means after Garcia and his father effectively took over guardianship of Ortiz at age 16, with the then-amateur boxer relocating from Garden City, Kan., to Oxnard.
On Wednesday, Ortiz gave Mayweather's claims little attention, though Danny Garcia announced he "loves his brother" and expressed hope for a reunion someday soon. Robert Garcia said he agreed with that sentiment but first wanted Danny "to admit" he was wrong by not alerting the Garcia family to his intentions to replace Robert as Ortiz's trainer.
"He knows why I don't want to talk to him," Robert Garcia said. "I had brought Danny in to help me train fighters and get a piece of every guy. Then we find out by surprise that Victor wants to go somewhere else, and that Danny is training him. If he wanted to do that in the first place, all he had to do was tell us. Fine, go make some money.
"Finding out without him telling us, it's ugly now. I've learned when there's money involved, it can change people. I just want Danny to tell me why he did it.
Mayweather was reportedly contemplating asking Robert Garcia and his star fighter Rios to accompany him into the ring with Ortiz, but Robert Garcia said he "wouldn't be comfortable" doing so. He said he did want to attend the fight, however, and was pleased to receive an invitation from Mayweather advisor Leonard Ellerbe on Wednesday.
"I think Mayweather wins, and I'm not the only one," Robert Garcia said. "Victor does hit hard, and he has power, but I believe Floyd will pick him apart.
'Victor is weak-minded. If Floyd starts landing [punches] on him, Victor will lose it. I know he will. It happened when I had him in the amateurs. It happened [two years ago] against [Marcos] Maidana."
-- Lance Pugmire
Photo: Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, and Victor Ortiz. Credit: Steve Marcus / Reuters / Las Vegas Sun