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A Touch of No Class


If you plopped down in your easy chair on Saturday night to watch a great fight between Floyd Mayweather and Victor Ortiz, you were instead treated to the theater of the bizarre.
 
Ortiz looked good in the first round while Floyd seemed to scope him out to see what he was coming with but it wasn’t long before Mayweather found a home for the overhand right every time Ortiz came forward. Ortiz seemed clueless as to how to stop that punch, thrown with perfect precision, from landing.

As expected by most, Mayweather proved to simply be too quick and too sharp and as the fight went into the third round, “Money” was clearly taking control, frustrating the young lion.
 
In the fourth round, with Mayweather pinned in the corner, rolling away from Ortiz’s punches, Ortiz, venting his frustration, bent low and then came up with his head into Floyd’s face, like a ram. The foul was so blatant that referee Joe Cortez, who had warned Ortiz about headbutting, had seen enough. He immediately called time and walked Ortiz to the center of the ring after Victor had hugged, kissed and apologized to Mayweather.
 
Mayweather accepted the apology and after Cortez had deducted a point, Mayweather stepped to the middle of the ring and waited for the fight to resume. As Cortez was looking over the ropes, apparently talking to the timekeeper, Ortiz walked to the center of the ring and as Mayweather began to pick up his hands, Ortiz again touched gloves and then once again hugged Mayweather.
 
It was clear to see that Mayweather had had enough of the hug-fest. He looked annoyed and somewhat confused by Victor’s actions. He had already accepted Ortiz’s apology and was ready to fight. As Ortiz stepped back, he kept his hands at his sides, apparently waiting for Cortez to signal the boxers to resume fighting.
 
However, with Cortez, the Hall of Fame referee, still looking over the ropes, oblivious to what was happening behind him, Floyd caught Victor with a left/right combination that sent Ortiz down to the canvas. Seeing Ortiz fly past him, Cortez turned around and immediately counted Ortiz out, igniting a controversy not seen since Mike Tyson made a Happy Meal out of Evander Holyfield’s earlobe.
 
It was a crazy turn of events but it was triggered by a nasty, flagrant foul on the part of Victor Ortiz.
 
Randy Gordon, the former chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission and now the co-host of “Friday Night at the Fights” on Sirius/XM radio, points out that Cortez apparently couldn’t remember calling time in after deducting a point from Ortiz and seemed to be asking the timekeeper if he had when Floyd leveled Ortiz. Randy’s broadcast partner on “Friday Night at the Fights,” former world heavyweight title contender Gerry Cooney points out, “It’s protect yourself at all times.”
 
Actually, both men are right. Cortez did not call time in but Ortiz left himself wide open in the middle of a boxing ring, which proved to not be a healthy choice.
 
The raging debate is whether or not Mayweather threw a cheap shot.
 
Cortez apparently did say to Mayweather, “Let’s go” which, to Mayweather, probably was the same as Cortez saying ,“Box,” meaning the fight had resumed.
 
So the real question is not whether Floyd threw a cheap shot but whether he should have thrown it at all.
 
Most people feel that in the spirit of sportsmanship, Mayweather should have waited until Ortiz was ready but in the spirit of fairness, Ortiz also should never have intentionally headbutted Floyd the way he did either, so call it a wash. However, based on the boos aimed at Mayweather during his post-fight interview, the crowd at the MGM Grand did not like Floyd’s actions at all.
 
Once again embroiled in controversy, Mayweather’s frustrations exploded on air and he needlessly attacked one of the icons of the boxing world, Larry Merchant, loudly calling for HBO to fire him and telling him he doesn’t know anything about boxing. Nothing, my friends, could be further from the truth.
 
Having spoken with Larry Merchant on more than a few occasions, this writer can attest to the fact that Merchant has probably forgotten more than Floyd Mayweather will ever know about boxing. For Floyd Mayweather to disrespect this man, one who has been one of the most respected commentators in the sport of boxing for generations, would be tantamount to someone not respecting Mayweather, his belts or his record and calling him a classless punk.
 
Then again…who would do that?
 
Allan Scotto can be reached at boxingriter@aol.com.


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