Protect Yourself at All Times?

By David Harris: In light of last weekend’s mega boxing event in Las Vegas between Floyd Mayweather Jnr and Victor Ortiz and the circumstances surrounding the ending, the reactions from media, fighters and fans I wanted to pen an opinion of my own.

Let me state the facts and the chain of events that led to a 4th round KO victory for Mayweather.

Mayweather came out at the start of the contest showing no ill effect from his 16 month layoff. He immediately settled into a good rhythm controlling distance and touching Ortiz with clean and effective lead right hands. Through the course of the fight Mayweather efficiently moved whilst Ortiz covered considerably more ground without establishing an effective weapon of his own. The pattern of Ortiz moving at a high energy rate and Mayweather cruising at high efficiency meant that Mayweather was finding it increasingly easier to get to Ortiz as time went on.

Towards the end of the 4thround Ortiz flurried in the corner on Mayweather and in an act of frustration intentionally head butted Maywether. Referee Cortez was well positioned and immediately called the foul and a timeout. However Referee Cortez then made his first of several errors by turning his back on the fighters before he had escorted them to neutral corners and given them clear instruction to remain there. At this time Ortiz also made his first error in what would be a sequence by the manner in which he approached Mayweather to apologise. This was an extremely volatile and hostile situation, Ortiz had just intentionally head butted, how are you expecting Mayweather to feel and react in those initial moments?

Mayweather surprised me and in a very controlled manner accepted the Ortiz apology. But note Mayweather made sure to remain side on and basically in his fighting position throughout whilst Ortiz was anything but. Many will say this demonstrated Ortiz’s sportsmanship and sincere remorse and whilst I stress this is my opinion, I couldn’t disagree more. In these moments I feel Ortiz showed above all fear and stupidity. Ortiz had just escalated the volatility of the boxing match with an intentional butt. The foul was an instinctive act and I believe it wasn’t a bad idea. Mayweather was in the zone and boxing beautifully. It is common knowledge you never want to be in a boxing match with Mayweather, the more the contest resembles a scrap/street fight scenario the better chance anyone in the world has of beating Mayweather, Ortiz is no different to anyone in that regard. He was losing a boxing match, so maybe a street situation gave him a better chance? But the fact had he immediately apologised and attempted to defuse the situation tells me he feared the reaction of Mayweather. Was Ortiz thinking I can’t handle a relaxed Mayweahter, how am I going to a handle a seething Mayweather? Also, the way Ortiz approached Mayweather for the apology was just stupid. Don’t approach your opponent defenseless, squared up, hands down, at any time in a boxing match, particularly moments after you have butted and angered him to the highest point.

Cortez then momentarily took control of the situation by holding Ortiz by one hand and leading him on a lap of the ring whilst signaling to the 3 judges notifying them of the penalty, all standard practice. During this lap of the ring Ortiz did what I’d call an appropriate apology (all be it a double up, so not necessary) by extending his arm and glove to which Mayweather accepted..again.

Then Cortez made further errors, he called the fighters back in to action but then distracted himself by taking his attention away from the contest in an attempt to communicate with either a judge or time keeper? He never officially called time ‘in’ prior to allowing the fighters to resume. Not a stellar 25 second period for an experienced championship referee.

Once Cortez called for a re-start Ortiz yet again approached Maywether totally defenseless for his third apology in the space of that same 25 second period. Note again, Mayweather is never too far removed from his fighting stance, always ready to defend or deliver an attack with his cat like reflexes. It was not a case of third time’s a charm for Ortiz because this apology was greeted with a quick left hook, straight hand which put him out for the count.

Everyone involved in boxing knows the saying “protect yourself at all times” and Ortiz paid the ultimate price for his breach. Both Ortiz and Referee Cortez made several errors which contributed to the KO, but let me be clear and state a fact, Mayweather played within the rules and made no error.

The post match interviews and the antagonistic nature of Larry Merchants questions are a topic for another article.

Protect yourself at all times!

Article posted on 19.09.2011

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