LAS VEGAS – The words of wisdom reverberated across the MGM Grand Garden Arena after the crazy ending to the Floyd Mayweather Jr.- Victor Ortiz fight Saturday night.
“DEFEND YOURSELF AT ALL TIMES.”
Indeed. Victor Ortiz, new to mega-fights and in over his head, was brutally knocked out with one second remaining in the fourth round because he let his guard down in a moment of confusion and stupidity. For that he can only blame himself.
On top of that, he had purposely head butted Mayweather only moments earlier. It was an ugly moment, although one that probably can be attributed to a frustrated kid losing his head.
Again, though, he must take responsibility for his actions.
Ortiz clearly wasn’t prepared to fight at the moment he was taken out and Mayweather knew it. The two were about to embrace to signal the end of the rough play -- or so it seemed -- when Mayweather, not interested whatsoever in niceties, landed a short left.
Ortiz then looked at referee Joe Cortez, at which time Mayweather landed a right-handed bomb that put Ortiz on his back and ended the fight.
Mayweather can argue that he had a right to be angry after Ortiz's head collided with Mayweather's mouth, which is true even if Ortiz apologized by embracing and then kissing him on the cheek. Apologies don't compensate for a badly cut lip.
He can also argue that Cortez ordered the fighters to box, which Cortez later confirmed. He’s right again. The punches were legal. I believe he violated the spirit of sportsmanship; he tricked Ortiz into believing they were going to embrace and then smacked him.
However, Ortiz forfeited the right to be treated in a sportsmanlike manner by his actions. He can’t fight dirty one moment and then complain that his opponent did something dirty a moment later. It’s too late at that point.