Zou Shiming vs. Jesus Ortega: Preview and Prediction for Flyweight Bout
Undefeated Chinese former Olympic standout Zou Shiming will return to action this Saturday night from Macau, China, as he takes on Mexico's Jesus Ortega.
Shiming, who twice captured Olympic gold for China, was unimpressive in his professional debut this past April. He won a four-round unanimous decision over 18-year-old Eleazar Valenzuela but left many observers with the impression that he would not transition well to the pro game.
Ortega is a much tougher opponent than Valenzuela, and he's expressed confidence that he'll be able to stop the former Olympian's rise to the top.
Read on for our complete preview and prediction for this Saturday's big bout.
Tale of the Tape
There really isn't a ton to go on here. Both fighters are relatively inexperienced as professionals, with only 15 combined rounds between them, but Shiming holds a massive amateur edge.
Ortega has shown some flashes of power in his brief career and is definitely a step-up opponent for Zou in just his second fight. Shiming showed a stunning lack of power in his professional debut, and he will need to improve on that in order to prove he belongs.
1-0, 0 KO
3-1, 2 KO
|Hometown:||Zunyi, China||Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico|
Shiming is the most decorated amateur fighter in Chinese history. He twice captured Olympic gold and is a multiple-time world amateur champion. He turned pro after capturing gold once again at the 2012 London Summer Olympics, but he was thoroughly unimpressive in his debut this past April.
Against Valenzuela his punches looked slapping, with little power, and he spent much of his time showboating against his 18-year-old foe. His biggest problem, however, might be Father Time. Shiming is 32 years old, and he doesn't have a ton of time to make improvements before his career slips away from him.
This will be a step-up fight for him and will be his first six-round bout.
Ortega is looking to make a name for himself by going into hostile territory and upsetting the home fighter. He understands that a victory here could propel him up the ranks of the flyweight division, and that these type of chances don't come around all the time.
Shiming is a decorated amateur fighter, but that style doesn't always translate to success in the pro ranks. He struggled mightily in his debut against Valenzuela while employing a style more befitting the Olympics than professional boxing. That type of style didn't cost him on that night, but it could when his level of opposition rises.
Zou's biggest strength is his ability to understand, and learn, from the criticism leveled against him. He knows that his debut performance was disappointing, and that he'll need to make adjustments in order to meet success as a professional.
He has a solid team around him, led by Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, and does possess excellent boxing skills.
Ortega is considered a pretty decent prospect in his native Mexico. He's shown some decent punching power—two of his three wins are by knockout—in his early career.
He understands that he has a chance to make a big name for himself with a victory in this fight. Zou's reputation alone makes this more significant than most fights featuring two guys who have only 15 rounds between them, and it's a chance to cash in.
He has a championship pedigree, and he's a stablemate of WBA/WBO flyweight champion Juan Estrada.
Shiming doesn't appear to have much steam on his punches. He's a slapper and will struggle with a fighter who can force his way on the inside.
He's spent so much time fighting in the amateur ranks that he could be forever wedded to a style that doesn't work in the pros. In the amateurs it's all about scoring points, but Shiming gets hit a ton—and that could be a big problem going forward.
Zou is 32 years old, but he appears to be an old 32, and he doesn't have a ton of time to improve.
Ortega, 19, is being trucked into this fight to lose. He faces a well-known opponent, on his home turf, and will be given no breaks.
This is a pretty big stage for a young fighter, and he'll be in a very hostile environment. How he reacts will go a long way to determining his chances in the fight.
Zou Shiming Will Win If...
Shiming will win this fight if he's able to fix some of the mistakes he made in his professional debut. Slapping, showboating and getting hit too often can be overlooked when you're facing an 18-year-old with little chance of victory.
But as the competition level goes up, which it surely will and fast, it's a recipe to get embarrassed.
Zou needs to sit down on his punches more, and he needs to throw them with mean intentions. In the amateurs, you win fights by landing more punches. It doesn't matter who lands the harder, better shots. You just need to land more.
That's an expectation he'll need to break himself from—fast. If he does, he can win this fight.
Jesus Ortega Will Win If...
Ortega needs to get inside, attack and leave no question about who won each and every round. The Mexican fighter has shown some decent punching power, and we have no idea about Zou's ability to take a punch. His best bet is to make sure we find out.
Ortega wants to make this fight as uncomfortable as possible for his foe. He has little reason to respect his power, and he needs to fight like he'll never get this chance again. Walk through Zou's punches and land your own. That's Ortega's best chance of victory.
If I were working his corner, I'd tell my fighter to go into the fight looking for a knockout. It'll be hard to get anything but a clear-cut decision in this bout, but that's something Ortega says he's well aware of going into the fight.
And the Winner Will Be...
Not a lot is known about Ortega coming into this fight, but you'd have to expect that Top Rank isn't worried too much about him. Whatever you think about Shiming's in-ring talents, you can't deny that he's hugely marketable to a Chinese population of over one billion people.
Reports of his demise are greatly exaggerated, and Freddie Roach will have his fighter more than prepared to correct the mistakes that plagued his professional debut.
It might be dicey at times, and you can't build Rome in a day, but Shiming will win a narrow unanimous decision over Ortega on Saturday night.
Zou Shiming, 58-56