Bryan Armen Graham
Saturday September 17th, 2011

Floyd Mayweather and Victor Ortiz faced off Friday after making weight at the MGM Grand. (AP)

LAS VEGAS -- If there was any takeaway from Friday afternoon's weigh-in at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, it was the impressive fan turnout for Victor Ortiz.

Of the estimated 4,000 who came to see Ortiz (147 pounds) and Floyd Mayweather (146½) make weight ahead of their Saturday welterweight title fight, at least two-thirds were clearly in favor of the 6-to-1 underdog from Garden City, Kan., by way of Ventura, Calif.

Mayweather, who operates out of Las Vegas and thus is the theoretical hometown favorite, was booed lustily by Ortiz fans no doubt thrilled to celebrate Mexican Independence Day weekend with the heir apparent to Oscar De La Hoya in a such a prominent role. Or maybe it was disgruntled observers just hoping to see Mayweather lose, as the prevalent chants of "41-and-1" might suggest. Regardless, the atmosphere was buzzing as fans continued to trickle in more than 20 minutes before the fighters hit the stage.

After coming in under the welterweight limit of 147 pounds, Mayweather joined Ortiz for the traditional face off at the front of the stage. When Ortiz flexed his right bicep and slapped it with his left hand, Mayweather gripped his right hand around Ortiz's throat and the two were quickly separated by Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer (and their entire camps, who had surrounded them).

In addition to ring announcer Michael Buffer and comedians Kevin Hart and Paul Rodriguez -- who teamed to emcee the proceedings -- former titleholders Zab Judah, Devon Alexander, Paulie Malignaggi and Jean Pascal took the stage before Ortiz and Mayweather hit the scales. Also spotted were NBA stars Jermaine O'Neal, Trevor Ariza and Caron Butler.

Another noteworthy attendee was was Floyd Mayweather Sr., who stood on the floor beside the stage and went unacknowledged by Floyd Jr. The two hadn't been seen together, and reportedly haven't spoken, since the long-simmering tension father and son boiled over in spectacular fashion during the first episode of the 24/7 Mayweather/Ortiz docuseries.

For one, Ortiz said the sound and fury of Friday's posturing signified nothing. "It's all a big joke," he said of the physical exchange with Mayweather. "It's nothing."

-- Bryan Armen Graham

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