Protect yourself at all times.
If there is one rule that gets beaten, pummeled and imprinted in the brain of every boxer who laces up a pair of gloves it’s that. During a match, you never let your guard down. Not to apologize to your opponent and, certainly, not to apologize to him multiple times.
Victor Ortiz broke that rule during his bout on Saturday night against Floyd Mayweather Jr. and, as a result, paid the ultimate price for it. We recapped the action in all of its glory for fans last night, but here’s a quick summary video version for anyone averse to reading round-by-round recaps:
Now, first and foremost, it’s important to note that Ortiz quite clearly headbutted Mayweather on purpose. It was an illegal maneuver, and while yesterday in the heat of the moment it was plausible that it could’ve been an accident, reviewing the replays clearly indicates that it wasn’t. Ortiz was losing the match handily and, despite his mild flurry of punches in the fourth round, he was obviously starting to get frustrated with his opponent’s elusiveness and defensive wherewithal.
As far as the cleanliness of what Mayweather did – well, that’s where things get murky for some people. Let’s take it from the top in order to get an accurate picture of what transpired.
Ortiz headbutted Mayweather and, in response, the latter looked noticeably irritated. Nevertheless, when Ortiz came over to shake hands and give Mayweather a hug, the undefeated champ accepted both apologies and tapped gloves like a good sportsman. Then, inexplicably, Ortiz came in for another round of apologies and pleasantries after the referee -- quite clearly -- said it was time-in and pointed for the fight to start. Mayweather, realizing that the match was back on, gave him two quick hits and called it a night.
So, was it a dirty move by Mayweather? Absolutely not.
Low blows are dirty. Headbutts are dirty. Loaded gloves are dirty. Taking advantage of the fact that the match had begun and yet your opponents’ arms are bizarrely still not up, is not dirty.
Love him or hate him, Mayweather is an amazing fighter – and a 42-0 mark simply reaffirms that.