Controversy erupted on Saturday night in Las Vegas (Sunday afternoon in Australia) as Floyd Mayweather Jr. closed the show on the fight card billed as “Star Power”.
Trailing behind on the scorecards, a visibly flustered Victor Ortiz managed to trap Mayweather on the ropes with a flurry of punches in the fourth round.
He then ended the exchange with a blatant head-butt, forcing referee Joe Cortez to deduct a point.
Mayweather, feigning acceptance of Ortiz’s apology, unleashed a left-right combination while Ortiz’s hands were still down. The result was a knockout victory for “Money”.
The questions and controversies will linger on long into the next century. Here’s one fan’s take on all the events.
Who wasn’t wrong?
Floyd Mayweather Jr: Perhaps the oldest rule in boxing is the simplest one of all; protect yourself at all times.
Call it cheap or unsportsmanlike, but Floyd’s actions didn’t break any rules. He hit Ortiz after the referee had made the call to continue fighting. It may have been unfair, but it certainly wasn’t illegal.
Joe Cortez: Though Floyd’s knockout punches happened while Cortez’s attention was elsewhere, this was more a result of human error rather than a lapse in professional judgement.
Cortez made the call to continue fighting and was right to count out Ortiz while he was on the floor. Otherwise, the Nevada State Athletic Commission would have ruled the bout a no-contest.
Who was wrong?
Victor Ortiz: For all his bravado in the lead-up to the fight, Ortiz wasn’t able to mount any significant offence throughout the fight. His best moment came in the flurry he threw right before the head-butt.
The illegal shot was rightfully docked a point, and one could argue that Mayweather’s reaction was simply an eye for an eye.
Either way, it was Ortiz’s responsibility to protect himself once the referee made the call to continue.
No matter whose side you’re on amongst all the controversy, one thing is for sure: a controversial ending to one of the year’s biggest and most high-profile pay-per-view events is yet another stain on boxing’s already tarnished public image.
Some post-fight thoughts:
• Despite the long lay-off, Mayweather looked as fast and sharp as he ever has in his career. Ortiz’s southpaw stance posed no problems as “Money” landed lead right hands at will.
• On a similar note, a rematch would only serve to settle the controversy, and wouldn’t do much to prove who the better fighter is. Mayweather’s flawless four rounds already showed that.
• At 24 years old, Ortiz still has a long time to bounce back and improve from this loss. However, it seemed to me like he was a little too jovial about the fight’s outcome.
• Larry Merchant may be biased and unprofessional at times, but as one the sport’s most grizzled veterans behind the microphone, he’s earned every right to be. Still, the idea of a 30 year old Merchant putting up his dukes against Mayweather is comedic at best.
• The young Saul Alvarez was very impressive in stopping the durable Alfonso Gomez. Alvarez’s combination of solid punching power and slick defence will be even more of a threat in the coming years. The scary part is, he’s only 21 years old.
• At 35 years old, the war-proven Erik Morales continues to prove that he still has a lot of warrior spirit left, despite already being a shoe-in for the hall of fame. Kudos, “El Terrible”.