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Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Ices Ortiz in Four to regain his WBC welterweight title

(Photo © Will Hart, HBO-PPV)
(Photo © Will Hart, HBO-PPV)


Though entering to the strains of “We Will Rock You,” in the end, it was Victor Ortiz who got his world rocked by Floyd Mayweather Jr. Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in front of a reported 14,687. It was an odd ending but nonetheless shockingly explosive as Mayweather capitalized on Ortiz breaking the cardinal rule of boxing: protect yourself at all times. Following an intentional headbutt by Ortiz, who launched himself headfirst into Mayweather, “Money May” took advantage of an apologetic Ortiz, who seemed to leave the fight mentally after the foul. Mayweather then knocked him out with a left hook and a right hand in the fourth round.
 
From the get-go, you could see the glaring difference in skill level. Mayweather was fluidity personified while Ortiz seemed a little tight to start. As promised, Mayweather met Ortiz at center ring. Floyd tried out his right lead and landed it but not flush. Ortiz got in a left but Floyd countered with an uppercut. It was clear within moments that the long layoff Mayweather had taken did not affect him at all. He seemed able to land his right hand at will and touched Ortiz with it or pummeled him with a jackhammer version, depending on the range and his whim.

The second was more cat-and-mouse with Floyd becoming a lion at times, landing his right hand flush, getting in a lead left hook and making Ortiz tentative. Ortiz got some confidence off a right hand and began to rush in and bully Floyd. The result was middling to not effective at all. At the 30-second mark, Floyd got in three consecutive right hands and Ortiz closed the gap. Mayweather being a master at his craft, stayed calm, slipping right slowly and began to land his right hand again and again.
 
Ortiz already seemed out of answers in the second, not really even knowing the questions in the third. Floyd began drawing Ortiz to the corner and landing lead left hooks. Later on, he began to stalk Ortiz and landed flush right hands that Ortiz smiled at but appeared to be rattled by. When Ortiz did land a left, it didn’t seem to matter at all. Floyd shook his head and smiled, before getting in a right hand and uppercut. As Mayweather is wont to say, “Easy work.”
 
Things heated up at the start of the fourth as Floyd explored how much he could hurt Ortiz, landing a nice right hand and then opening up on him. “Vicious” Victor suddenly let loose with a flurry of shots and seemed to land along the ropes. Suddenly, the carefree manner Mayweather had, while moving through the first three rounds with ease, disappeared and he was all business. Ortiz then went for broke, working on Floyd on the ropes but then backed off, almost as if he was not confident in his strategy. Once again, Floyd landed a right hand. While the multiple rights Mayweather had been landing throughout the early going didn’t hurt Ortiz outright, they acted like Chinese Water torture, slowly breaking down the young man.
 
Normally, the axiom is, “Kill the body and the head will die.” In this case, Floyd demoralized Ortiz with his defense until Ortiz snapped mentally. In the midst of a flurry with Mayweather making him miss on the ropes, Ortiz launched himself headfirst into Floyd. Ortiz immediately knew what he did was way out of bounds, while Mayweather looked at him incredulously and referee Joe Cortez took a point.
 
Then things got crazy. Chaos had broken out in the fight because of the foul and Cortez did not help matters by bringing the fight back to order. After taking the point, Cortez seemed to step off to the side and motion for the action to resume. Ortiz moved to Mayweather, offering to hug him and apologize. Mayweather accepted and then when they stepped back, with Ortiz’s hands at his sides, Mayweather unleashed a lightning quick left hook that teed up Ortiz’s dome. A right hand sent it out of the park and Ortiz onto his back. Cortez seemed to be looking in the other direction when it happened but soon counted out Ortiz, who had no idea where he was as he moved to his knees.
 
“I was looking at Joe,” said Ortiz. “I thought he said, ‘Break.’ I was like, ‘Huh?’ and then boom. ‘I guess it’s time for bed.’”
 
The time was 2:59 of the fourth.
 
With the win, Mayweather regains the WBC welterweight belt he never lost in the ring and pushes his record to 42-0 with 26 KOs.
 
With the loss, Ortiz, 29-3-2 (22), will most likely never forget the rule “Protect yourself at all times.”
 
Ortiz and his management said afterwards that they would like a rematch.
 
When asked if he felt Mayweather won fair and square, Ortiz said that he did not. “I paid for my foul,” said Ortiz. “He didn’t.”
 
“What Victor did was wrong and we apologize,” said Ortiz’s manager Rolando Arellano of the headbutt and resulting aftermath. “We need to just move forward from this.”
 
Floyd Mayweather Jr., who has now vanquished a younger, strong, and powerful titleholder, something his counterpart Manny Pacquiao has not done in recent years, was his usual humble self in victory in the post-fight press conference.
 
“Another unbelievable performance,” said Mayweather. “A lot of people want to know what happened. I got hit with a couple headbutts that busted my mouth open on the inside and outside. Things happen. Sh*t happens. Protect yourself at all times. You guys wanted to see a knockout; that’s what I gave you.”
 
In thanking everyone on his team, Mayweather was emotional, embracing key members of his team and crying to the point where he had to take a moment to regroup.
 
“Unbelievable training camp. Blood, sweat and tears,” said Mayweather. “Getting up at night, running seven miles. I deserve this.”
 
Regarding the final sequence, Mayweather said, “I was once told protect yourself at all times. I’ve been hit with headbutts. I’ve been hit with elbows. I didn’t complain about it. Once we touch gloves, it’s fight time. Once we touch gloves, it’s open season.”
 
When asked to follow up in his explanation, Mayweather said, “We came together. We touched. It’s fight time, from what I know.”
 
As for a rematch, he said. “Floyd Mayweather ain’t ducking or dodging no one. If he wants a rematch, we can get it again. It’s nothing. It’s nothing.”
 
In the co-feature from Los Angeles’ Staples Center, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, 38-0-1 (28), focused on defense and accuracy while eschewing volume in stopping a game Alfonso Gomez in the sixth round. Gomez came to fight and pressed the action for much of the bout but it was Alvarez who landed the harder punches through. Alvarez dropped Gomez at the end of round one with a left hook and in the sixth, exploded with a right rear uppercut followed by a right that hurt Gomez badly. He stumbled away to the ropes and “Canelo” landed a right hand and slammed into Gomez’s guard with hard shot after hard shot. They didn’t land flush but Gomez, 23-5-2 (12), was hurt and ref Wayne Hedgpeth stepped in to call a halt to the action. The time was 2:36 of the sixth.
 
In a junior welterweight war, Erik “El Terrible” Morales, 52-7 (36), won his fourth world title in as many weight classes by stopping Pablo Cesar Cano, 22-1-1 (17). The fight was a war with the momentum of the bout going both ways throughout. Morales took some time to warm into a rhythm in the early going as Cano outworked him with a jab for the first couple of rounds. In the third, Morales got going and started landing his long right hand flush time and again. Cano was not to be outclassed and he fought bravely throughout, rocking Morales with flush left hooks and uppercuts on the inside.
 
By the middle of the fight, Morales had Cano’s face busted up. The younger fighter’s right eye was swollen, his left was cut and his nose was bleeding from hard jabs by Morales.
 
In the tenth, Morales landed a hard right hand that blew up Cano’s jaw. A nasty follow-up barrage had Cano reeling and soon, the left side of his face was a mask of red as blood streamed from a nasty cut. Referee Kenny Bayless had the doctor examine the cut and they let the fight continue. But when the round ended, it was clear Cano could not continue and the fight was stopped. Morales was awarded the victory via TKO in ten rounds along with the WBC junior welterweight belt.
 
“He’s a young fighter and he threw many hard punches,” said Morales afterwards. “It took me some time to get my rhythm but when I did, I was clearly the better fighter. I could tell the blood affected him and made him nervous and once he stated breathing profusely, I could tell he was scared.”
 
“I’m a little upset I didn’t win,” said Cano, “but I took this fight on a week’s notice and did what I had to do. I fought a legendary fighter and now the world knows who Pablo Cesar Cano is.”
 
“I’m very happy about winning the fourth title,” said Morales, “but it was more difficult than I expected. He came to give it his all but I dominated him because of my experience.”
 
In the opener, junior welters Josesito Lopez and Jessie Vargas put on a solid fight that ended with a split decision neither the crowd nor press row agreed with.
 
The fight came down to what you like as a judge. Vargas used speed and lateral movement to outland Lopez with seemingly lighter shots while Lopez landed the heavier blows throughout. Vargas seemingly took the first two rounds but in the middle of the fight, Lopez seemed to take control. He went to the body often, rocking Vargas over the top with hard right hands and bringing trench warfare into the fight.
 
Vargas stayed on his bicycle and used his jab and right hand at long range, mixed in with a left to the body. Lopez stayed on him but did have to eat those shoe shines coming in. In many of the rounds, that may have been the difference. While Lopez got inside and landed good shots, Vargas was the one who was landing in volume.
 
In the eighth, with Lopez seemingly in control and Vargas appearing to have hit the wall, Vargas landed an intentional low blow and was deducted a point. The loss of the point seemed to energize Vargas and from there, he won the ninth on my card and gave as good as he got in the tenth.
 
The crowd booed the score of 95-94 Lopez, 96-93 Vargas and 95-94 Vargas for a Vargas split decision. Not one person I spoke to on press row felt Vargas won and the crowd booed heavily.
 
“I think it was a good ten-round decision,” said Vargas, 17-0 (9), afterwards. “He was a hell of a fighter and I give him nothing but respect.”
 
“I needed to give a little more to win in Vegas,” said the classy Lopez, 29-4 (17), in reference to Vargas being the hometown fighter. “Anything close like this, you can’t let it go to the judges.”


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