Unfortunately, fouls are a part of boxing. Intentional fouls, are usually the lowest form of conduct in the ring.
This Saturday night, in front of a capacity crowd at the MGM Grand here in Las Vegas, Floyd Mayweather scored a crushing, exciting and somewhat controversial fourth round knockout of WBC world welterweight champion Victor Ortiz. This one however will have fans arguing for some time to come!
For those of you who haven't yet seen the fight, Mayweather was in control throughout. In fact, it's incredible how Mayweather can make boxing look so ridiculously easy. Blinding hand speed and a defence which hasn't been seen since the days of the great Niccolino Loche, Mayweather is an artist in the purest sense of the word, and without a doubt, one of the greatest skilled fighters of all time. From the sound of the first bell Mayweather established his dominance and began finding the mark with a laser like right hand. Ortiz simply had no answer. Time and time again he would back Mayweather into the ropes and before he could mount any type of an attack, Mayweather would disappear in a puff of smoke. Floyd was simply that brilliant, make no mistake about it.
As round four was drawing to a close, "Vicious" Victor once again backed Mayweather to a corner along the ropes. In a spirited attempt to land one of his vaunted punches, Ortiz let fly with a series of shots, which for the most part, failed to find the mark with anything of note. Suddenly, and completely unexpectedly, Ortiz reared back and let fly a "billy goat-like" head butt catching Mayweather flush on the mouth. The capacity crowd let out on unbelieving gasp.
Now here is where the incredible unfolds.
Referee Joe Cortez, who has definitely seen better days as a ref, immediately moves in and begins to deduct a point from Ortiz for his violent, illegal foul. As Cortez is going through the motions, Ortiz seems to regain his composure and immediately realizes what he has done. Quickly he goes to Mayweather offering his apologies and even gives him a kiss on the cheek.
As Cortez resumed the action, Ortiz once again offered both his gloves in a sign of apology to Floyd, Floyd touched Ortiz's gloves and with referee Cortez wrongly looking away, Floyd unleashed a devastating left hook right hand combination with such blinding speed that Ortiz never even saw them coming. Those two punches laid Ortiz flat on his back.
At first there was a stunned disbelief among the masses as the fight ended in such a brutal and rapid fashion. Then the replay came up on the big screen, and with that came a chorus of boos from the pro-Ortiz fans.
While it's clear that Ortiz was virtually defenceless when Mayweather unleashed his fury, sportsmanship went out the window when Ortiz rammed his head full force into Mayweather's face.
It has been a little over 100 years since a fight turned around so quickly after a double-cross.
On October 16, 1909, then middleweight champion, the great Stanley Ketchel , met the legendary Jack Johnson in a bid for Johnson's heavyweight crown. Due to the size discrepancy between the two, it was "agreed" that Johnson would not "hurt" the smaller Ketchel.
A brutal puncher, Ketchel had scored 48 KO's in 51 career wins. Growing impatient, and unable to contain himself any longer, Ketchel, also known as the "Michigan Assasin", let go with a hard right hand that landed flush on the jaw of the unsuspecting champion, Johnson crumbled to the canvas. Knowing he had been double-crossed, Johnson flashed a golden smile at Ketchel and rose from the canvas. What happened next was brutal.
Johnson rose immediately and leapt at Ketchel with full force knocking him senseless. Old fight footage then shows Johnson brushing his right fist removing Ketchel's teeth which were embedded in his glove.
Until last Saturday night, we had not seen such instant retribution in a prize fight.
Floyd Mayweather has NEVER been a dirty fighter! Brilliant, controversial, enigmatic, yes. Dirty, never!
I have watched Mayweather since his amateur days and he has always fought in a clean and sporting manner. Floyd however is an assassin in his own right. Cold and calculated, Mayweather has no hesitation when hunting his prey, nor for that matter does he show mercy.
When Victor Ortiz deliberately head butted Floyd, he sent the message that "anything goes". All the apologies in the world were not going to curb the killer instinct that was lit. The fact that the execution was so immediate is one thing. The certainty is that had it not been, revenge would have been brutal nevertheless.
Question: Did Victor Ortiz deliberately try to injure Floyd with an intentional head butt?
Answer: Yes indeed.
Question: Was Victor Ortiz genuinely sincere in his apologies?
His remorse however, also led to his downfall. Ortiz would have been better off continuing to fight a dirty fight and perhaps even risk disqualification. Instead, he was remorseful and showed weakness and vulnerability, albeit for a brief moment.
Mayweather, on the other hand, sensed that moment of weakness and pounced on his prey looking for immediate restitution. He got it.
Question: Did Floyd Mayweather take advantage of an unsuspecting Ortiz?
Answer: Indeed yes.
Question: Did referee Joe Cortez establish control of both fighters and the fight before the knockout shots?
Cortez clearly has both fighters at a safe distance when he gives them the command "let's go". Unfortunately he never gives the command "time-in". Had he done so, it is likely that the bell would have sounded before any more damage had been done. As they approach one another, Cortez takes his eyes off them as he looks to the timekeeper. I believe Cortez thought he would hear a bell, when he doesn't, he looks down at the timekeeper to see if he had started the clock. Cortez never sees them touch gloves and never sees the first left hook that Mayweather throws. Ortiz seems to look at Cortez after he gets hit with the left hook, Cortez has no idea what's going on and before he knows it a vicious Mayweather right hand ends the contest.
Since the fight, report after report has come in about the age old adage "protect yourself at all times". Of course that cannot be argued. If Victor Ortiz was looking to apologize again, he should have done it at arms length with an extended glove. Had he done so, instead of walking to Mayweather with his hands down after Cortez clearly told him "Let's go", those punches would never have found the target.
We are all familiar with the saying "ask no quarter, give no quarter".
Victor Ortiz gave no quarter, but then asked for forgiveness.
Mayweather, like all great fighters, punished him, without mercy! He also made a loud and clear statement. Not only is he extremely good, it is clear he can also be very bad!