Many boxing fans are in an uproar after the controversial knock out of Victor Ortiz at the hands of Floyd Mayweather. In the first three rounds, Mayweather showed no signs of ring rust despite a 16-month layoff. He was able to impose his will on Ortiz with his sound defense and exceptional counter-punching ability.
In the 4th round, a frustrated Ortiz appeared to intentionally head butt Mayweather. Referee Joe Cortez called timeout and instructed the judges to deduct a point from Ortiz. This prompted Ortiz to apologize to Mayweather and even kiss him on the cheek. After the referee called time-in, a remorseful Ortiz touched gloves with Mayweather only to get viciously knocked out with two power punches that sent him to the canvas. Not only did Ortiz not see the punches coming, but the referee was looking in another direction as it happened. Fans booed Mayweather in his post-fight interview and the fight’s ending has sparked an intense debate within boxing circles.
Although Mayweather’s actions were completely legal, questions have been raised as to whether they were ethical. In his post-fight interview on HBO, Mayweather asserted that he was hit with a “dirty shot” and that in the ring a fighter must protect himself at all times. He elaborated on what happened in an interview with Bernardo Osuna on Espn.com: “We touched gloves, he stepped back and it was open season. I hit him with a hook and then the right hand.”
In contrast, Ortiz disagreed when expressing his side of the story to Osuna: “Yeah, it’s protect yourself at all times but when the ref is on call you have to obey him.” Ortiz never heard the referee call time-in. He thought that if he dropped his hands and Mayweather hit him then it would either be a deduction or a disqualification.
Other fighters like WBA and IBF Light Welterweight champion, Amir Khan support what happened. Khan told InRing.com that Ortiz intentionally head butted Mayweather because of his inability to penetrate his defense, and should have defended himself instead of looking to the referee for a foul after Mayweather initially hit him with the first punch. Unlike Khan, WBO Welterweight champion, Manny Pacquiao opposes the knockout telling PhilBoxing.com that it was, “unsportsmanlike.”
Regardless of what boxing fans think of him, Mayweather is extremely smart and ring savvy. With the Money Brand behind him, he also knows how to market himself. He is well aware that fans either really love or hate him and he continues to execute to perfection. If anything, the events from the Ortiz knockout have only compounded more interest for a Mayweather-Pacquao, Evil Villain versus Good Samaritan, super-fight.
At 42 wins and 0 losses, Mayweather appears to be a victim of his own greatness. His pedigree holds him to a higher standard than other fighters. While fans and insiders should be talking about the clinic he put on Ortiz, instead the discussion has centered around the controversial ending. The root of frustration directed toward Mayweather might be the fact that he was well on his way to winning the fight anyway and did not have to end it the way he did. But the controversy only started once Ortiz intentionally head butted Mayweather. Therefore, perhaps this was a little payback by Mayweather in teaching the young Ortiz a lesson – protect yourself at all times.
This article originally appeared on the Sports Agent Blog.