Lucas Matthysse vs. Roberto Ortiz: Preview and Prediction for Upcoming Bout

Briggs SeekinsFeatured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2014

Lucas Matthysse vs. Roberto Ortiz: Preview and Prediction for Upcoming Bout

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    This Saturday night in Cincinnati, light welterweight contender Lucas Matthysse returns to action against undefeated Roberto Ortiz. Matthysse is one of the most exciting fighters in the sport, and Ortiz fights with a style that would almost seem to guarantee fireworks. 

    Matthysse's TKO of John Molina last April is still the leading candidate for Fight of the Year. Expect another fan-pleasing bout this weekend. 

    The winner should also be in line for a shot at a belt. 

Tale of the Tape

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    Julie Jacobson/Associated Press
    Per BoxRec     Lucas Matthysse     Roberto Ortiz
    Record:     35-3, 33 KOs     31-0-1, 24 KOs
    Height:     5'6.5"     5'9"
    Reach:     69"     69.5"
    Weight:     140 lbs     140 lbs
    Age:     31     28
    Stance:     Orthodox     Orthodox
    Hometown:     Buenos Aires, Argentina     Torreon, Coahuila de Zaragoza
    Rounds:     152     140

    Ortiz has a height advantage here, but his reach is only a half-inch longer. Being the more compact fighter is likely an advantage for Matthysse in a fight as physical as this one promises to be. 

    On paper, Matthysse and Ortiz appear to have a similar amount of experience, but that is misleading. This is Ortiz's first step up to a major fight while Matthysse has been fighting the best names in the division for the past three years. 

Main Storylines

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    A year ago, Matthysse was one of the hottest fighters in the sport. His three-round destruction of Lamont Peterson in May 2013 was electrifying. Matthysse's showdown with champion Danny Garcia on the Floyd Mayweather-Saul Alvarez pay-per-view was more eagerly anticipated by hardcore fans than the main event. 

    Matthysse clearly lost to Garcia but made the fight close and exciting. A rematch between the two in the future would generate interest again. 

    Matthysse's return to action in 2014 was a thrilling brawl against John Molina last April. The tough Argentine came back from two early-fight knockdowns to pound away at Molina and stop him in Round 11.

    Matthysse might not have the momentum he had this time last year, but he remains one of the sport's most popular fighters.

    Ortiz is a relatively unknown fighter, but he's got the wide-open style to make for an entertaining fight with Matthysse. A win here would launch Ortiz's career, but he's going to have to beat a top-level fighter at his own game to get it.  

Strengths

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    Eric Jamison/Associated Press

    Matthysse

    Matthysse is an outstanding offensive fighter. He throws heavy combinations in quick flurries, attacking from every angle. 

    He is particularly good at throwing a punch and moving into position for the next one. He is very durable and remains dangerous even when he has taken a lot of punishment. 

     

    Ortiz 

    Ortiz is a hard-hitting, action fighter. He has very good power with both his lead hook and his overhand right. 

    He is very good at cutting off the ring. Ortiz has not been in the wars that Matthysse has, but he has shown the ability to recover after being rocked. 

Weaknesses

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Matthysse 

    Matthysse treats defense as an afterthought. He is so dangerous offensively that he's willing to gamble and put himself in position to be hit. 

    It's generally been a winning strategy for him, but it has cost him, too. Danny Garcia closed his eye en route to beating him. Although Matthysse outlasted John Molina earlier this year, he took a lot of damage along the way. 

     

    Ortiz 

    Ortiz shows signs of sloppiness in his fighting. While he's been able to pound almost everybody he has faced so far in his career, he's the kind of fighter who gets hit a lot, and Saturday he's going to be fighting a man who hits often and hard. 

Matthysse Will Win If...

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    Ortiz should give Matthysse exactly the kind of fight the Argentine gunslinger has always excelled at—a high-action brawl. Matthysse's only three losses all came against boxers: Zab Judah, Devon Alexander and Danny Garcia. 

    And those two losses to Judah and Alexander were hotly contested, split decisions in which Matthysse dropped both men.

    Against come-forward, pressure fighters, Matthysse has always taken as good as they can give while hammering them into submission. 

    So simply fighting his normal fight is a battle-tested strategy for Matthysse in this one. He should move inside, pound Ortiz in the body and then look to drill the taller man with an uppercut. Ortiz is probably going to put himself in position to get hit, so Matthysse should hit him two or three times and then move into position to hit him some more.

    Ortiz has power, so Matthysse should probably show a bit more defensive caution than he showed against John Molina last April. Even if he can once more overcome taking damage, Matthysse is not getting any younger.

    But in the heat of the exchanges, expect to see Matthysse fall back on what he knows best: beating the other man up.  

Ortiz Will Win If...

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    If Ortiz has some defense wrinkles I missed watching him on YouTube, Saturday night against Matthysse would be the ideal time to pull them out and put them into action. Matthysse has been one of the most destructive pound-for-pound fighters in the sport over the past few years.

    He's lost, but nobody has ever beaten him by standing in front of him and trading. Ortiz should try to get going with the jab from the first round on, so he can slow up the hard-charging Matthysse and set him up to walk into some big punches. 

    But more than likely, Ortiz is going to find himself in the pocket with Matthysse, trading for all he's worth. So the undefeated prospect needs to come prepared mentally for a battle of attrition far more intense than he's ever faced.

    If Ortiz turns out to be a tough enough fighter to take what Matthysse dishes out and give it back to him, he'll have a shot to win the biggest fight of his career.

      

Prediction

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    If Ortiz can win this fight and stay undefeated, it will mean we have an exciting new fighter to watch in the 140-pound weight class. But that is a huge if.

    Matthysse has shown himself to be one of the best offensive fighters in the sport. Nobody has ever beaten him by standing right in front of him and trading, and that looks to be what Ortiz is likely to do.

    Even when Matthysse got dropped by a couple of big punches against John Molina last April, he was able to take control of the fight and batter Molina down the stretch. Danny Garcia closed Matthysse's eye, and Matthysse responded with some of his better rounds in the fight.

    They don't call him "The Machine" for nothing. Matthysse is an extremely durable, explosive fighter. Before I'll believe a relative newcomer with Roberto Ortiz's resume can beat Matthysse, I'm going to have to see it happen.

    I'm picking Matthysse by Round 8 TKO in another exciting fight.

    Adrien Broner fights Emmanuel Taylor on the same card. If both men win, Matthysse vs. Broner would be a great clash of styles.