Memo to Victor Ortiz: It’s called a sucker punch because you’re a sucker for letting your guard down.
The much-hyped Ortiz vs. Floyd Mayweather showdown, which was supposed to somehow prove that the latter couldn’t just take 16 months off and come back to dominate, did the exact opposite. From the beginning of the fight to the 2:59 mark in the fourth round when it came to its mildly shocking conclusion, the undefeated Mayweather was quite clearly the better fighter any way you want to cut it.
Right out of the gate, Mayweather went to work on Ortiz, making the most out of the reach advantage that he had over his taller counterpart in a flurry of short punches. Ortiz, for his part attempted to battle back and tried to time a few powerful body shots, but all of them ended up missing the mark. Towards the end of the first, Ortiz tried to trap Mayweather in the corner, but when he got him there, he literally did nothing to take advantage.
After undoubtedly winning the first round, Mayweather appeared more reserved in the second round, picking his moments and timing his punches more efficiently. Even when Ortiz backed him into a corner, Mayweather would use his trademark defensive skill to elude all of the powerful swings and, more or less, completely neutralize his opponent. Again, Mayweather quite clearly won the second round in similar fashion as he did the one prior.
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In the third round, Mayweather came out jabbing and retreating. Ortiz opted to get more aggressive at this point trying to sneak in quick lefts and hook follow-ups, but it was to no avail. Leading up to this point, Ortiz had yet to deliver a single legitimate blow to his counterpart. In fact, according to the CompuBox through the third round, Ortiz landed only two punches in the frame. Without question, Mayweather captured the third round as well.
In the fourth round, Ortiz continued to stick to his ridiculous recipe of cornering Mayweather and then doing absolutely zero about it. Now, to be fair, I’m oversimplifying. Clearly the reach advantage was a problem for Ortiz and that’s why he couldn’t utilize his positioning against Mayweather, but still, it got to the point of ridiculousness. Finally, part of the way through, Ortiz landed a nice right hook on Mayweather that actually got the crowd back into the fight. Mayweather tried to respond, but the punches didn’t appear to do much damage to Ortiz.
Now, right after this exchange, things got a bit dicey. This is the sequence sports pundits will dissect come Monday morning. Ortiz, after cornering Mayweather, appeared to have head-butted (accidentally?) him, forcing the referee to step in and separate them. Right after the fact, Ortiz seemed to apologize to Mayweather. Then, surprisingly enough, Ortiz lowered his gloves to seemingly apologize again, and that’s when Mayweather popped him.
Needless to say, this fight won’t win Mayweather any fans. His move wasn’t especially classy, and in some circles, it may even be regarded as a cheap shot.
Honestly, though, it’s hard to fault Mayweather for spotting an opening and taking advantage accordingly. Ortiz had already apologized once. How many times did this exchange need to occur? The No. 1 rule in boxing is always keep your hands up, and Ortiz, being the young gun that he is, forgot that cardinal rule.
Either way, regardless of your opinion on Mayweather’s KO, there is no denying that he was quite clearly the better fighter on Saturday night. Maybe he would’ve beaten Ortiz with a later KO, maybe he would’ve beaten him by decision. Either way, though, he would’ve beaten Ortiz.
With his dominant win tonight, Mayweather made one thing perfectly clear – he’s still good enough to challenge Manny Pacquiao. And, to take it a step further, Pacquiao is the only fighter around whose good enough to challenge Mayweather.
While some may have written Mayweather off in the last year and half as someone too rusty to ever reclaim his place atop of the sport, the undefeated champion made a statement here tonight – he’s still Money in the ring.