Floyd Mayweather Didn't Throw a Sucker Punch; Victor Ortiz Was the Sucker

On Saturday night, Floyd Mayweather stepped in and administered a lethal left-right combination to Victor Ortiz that produced the most stunning knockout of Mayweather's professional career. That he would have punched a guy who simply wanted to hug him seems to have offended millions of viewers around the world, including longtime HBO boxing analyst Larry Merchant.

They can all go to hell.

Let me be clear, I'm not a Mayweather fan. I think he's an obnoxious, spoiled brat. But that has nothing to do with his actions in the ring Saturday night.

HBO is busy taking down the video clips of the spectacular ending to the welterweight championship fight, but while the above clip is still functioning, click on it to see the part that everyone is calling "controversial." (If it doesn't work, don't blame us.)

Since you may not be able to go to the video, here's a description: Mayweather definitely won the first three rounds. He wasn't dominant, but he was certainly in control. Since Ortiz was reputed to be the heavier puncher, there was still plenty of suspense going into the fourth round. Ortiz, though, was getting visibly frustrated by Mayweather's hand speed and ability to slip punches. Bulling Mayweather against the ropes, he clearly head-butted the champion. Referee Joe Cortez momentarily stopped the fight and made it clear he was deducting a point from Ortiz.

Ortiz seemed embarrassed by his boorish behavior and began to apologize profusely. But he did protest too much. First, he leaned over and kissed Mayweather on the cheek. Then, after Cortez signaled that the break was over, Ortiz put out his arms as if to hug Mayweather.

First, there's a rule in boxing that you're told the first time you step in the ring — the first time I strapped on my headgear in a Philadelphia gym, my handler slammed me on the shoulder, looked me in the eye, stuck a finger in my face and said, "Remember, protect yourself AT ALL TIMES!". And "all times" means exactly that.

What the hell did Ortiz think he was doing? Did he think that if he made nice-nice to Mayweather he could get the point on the foul erased?

The rule in boxing is no punches during a referee's break, but it doesn't say anything about after the break. (Was Mayweather supposed to trust that Ortiz wasn't going to butt him again or throw a punch instead of giving him a hug?)

Anyway, when you watch the re-broadcast this weekend (of if you can find a clip of the whole thing), see HBO showing the ridiculous exchange between Mayweather and Merchant. In the wake of Merchant's postfight commentary, Mayweather tells him that HBO should fire him. The 80-year old Merchant shoots back that if he was 50 years younger, he would kick his ass.

Yeah, right. When I was 18 I was a gopher for Merchant at a newspaper office, and man, did he take long "lunch" breaks. Put it this way: What Merchant didn't get done before "lunch," he didn't get done at all.

It looked to me as if Merchant had taken another long lunch break before the fight, and, frankly, I think Mayweather was right: Merchant should be fired for his comments.He was in the wrong. Nothing Mayweather did was illegal.

Leave it to Mayweather to be in the right and still make everyone hate him.

After the fight, he made the unbelievable accusation that Manny Pacquiao has been ducking him for the last two years and that he won't fight him unless Pacquiao "takes a drug test" — the implication of course being that Manny is so sensational that he must be taking steroids. (Has Mayweather thought that one through? Every time he repeats it, he's simply flattering Pacquiao.)

Note to Floyd Mayweather: Manny Pacquiao is no Victor Ortiz, and when you step into the ring with him — perhaps I should say "if" — the last thing he'll have on his mind is hugging it out.

By the way, Bert Sugar, the dean of American boxing writers, reminds us that there was one other major controversy over a foul in the ring. In 1927, Jack Dempsey, having lost his heavyweight title on a decision to Gene Tunney, fought the number one contender, Jack Sharkey, to earn a rematch with Tunney. In round seven, Sharkey turns to the ref to complain of a low blow — the claim has never been substantiated, and it's hard to tell in the film whether the punch was above or below the belt — after which Dempsey flattens him with one of the most devastating short left hooks you'll ever see. Give it a watch:

The clip from the archives of the late Jim Jacobs shows both the sixth and seventh rounds, so be patient.

• • •

Go to the Voice's Runnin' Scared for more Jockbeat by Allen Barra.

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25 comments
TrueGangstar
TrueGangstar

 Mayweather is a nigger and you have to expect a nigger to act like a nigger, No honor or morals. That is why Floyd Monkey Mayweather is such a dick licker. he has AIDS..

ReyesRulez
ReyesRulez

Look, I'm not going to say whether it was legal or not, but here's the thing that people are frustratingly wrong about: "Protect yourself at all times," is not a rule, and failing to protect yourself at all times does not make illegal punches legal. Using that logic, Floyd could have headbutted him and it would have been legal because Ortiz wasn't protecting himself. 

I can't find the rules for this sport, but as far as I was aware, when a referee calls time, time isn't in again until he says it is. He did motion the two fighters to come together, but that is not in and of itself a "time in" call. And the commission's explanation that time was in because Ortiz touched Mayweather is ludicrous. That can't possibly be right, because the referee is the sole arbiter in the ring, not the boxers. The boxers can't call time out or time in, and hugging in the middle of the ring does not restart the clock. 

So I personally believe the punches were illegal, and the ref was covering his ass by counting. If you watch, after he saw what happened, he looked over at the commissioner and grimaced, which says to me that he knew the punches were illegal. I'd love to get a camera on that commissioner to see if he gestured to the ref to count, because I bet he did. 

At best, it was a sucker punch and the worst officiating the sport has seen in a long time, at least at this level. 

Benbetancourt
Benbetancourt

THE REF DID NOT SAY "BOX" Mayweather new exactly what he was doing. He's a bum sucker punch throwin bitch

wango
wango

i think we established that what mayweather did was completely legal. i personally think it was a dirty and cheap win. how many other professional boxers at that top level would take advantage of an opponent with their hands down looking at the ref? probably not many. Cortez is also to blame for not being aware of the fighters' actions. Cheapshot and fail.

An #EXOLL Advocate
An #EXOLL Advocate

It's sad that because you don't like a fighter you will lie about what you and everyone else can clearly see.

Guest
Guest

FWIW, I have never been a big boxing fan...However, I think a few points should be made.1)  I would be pissed if I spent my money on this fight.2)  The ref should be held accountable for not asserting control.  If he wasn't sure about the time, leave the fighters in neutral corners.3)  While I understand the punch was legal, I still think it was unsporting.  Every sport has some sort of action that is perfectly legal, but considered "dirty."  This brings me back to #2.  Ortiz could have been seriously injured by that 1-2. 

Also, Ortiz opened the can of worms.  Had the headbutt not initially been thrown, the round would have ended and neither combatant would have been in that situation.Ok...another thought....

If Mayweather is sticking to his guns about the punch being legal, but then criticizes Paq for not wanting to take more drug tests than are required by the sport...isn't this a case of the pot calling the kettle black?  What Paq is doing is totally legal...

geronimo jr
geronimo jr

doesnt matter what mayweather fans think...from now on the work suckerpunch will now be foreverlinked with this chump of a champ who tried to protect his legacy by cherry picking his fights....Floyd SUCKERPUNCH Jr!!!  kARMAs a bitch... aint no way a person as arrogant and disrespectful as mayweather will be able to establish himself as the one of the best of all times

Mi Keg
Mi Keg

Yes it was legal, but it wasn't "Cool". You don't unload on someone that has his hands down and is not looking... Wait, that's called a sucker punch!

Jopango
Jopango

What Ortis did is wrong.But Mayweather action is legal but he show to the boxing fans how disgrase he is.Its better to win fighting than winning the box that your opponent not fighting.

Sx3silent
Sx3silent

the round was over

diaz15
diaz15

The round was not over.. If you watched the fight the ref signaled for time-out.. That means that the time stops and there was :09 seconds left in the round.

Jason
Jason

You couldn't be more wrong. I have never read anything you have written but it is clear that your knowledge base on this topic is zero.  The issue is not whether the hit was legal or not. The issue was the lack of control the referee had during these moments of the fight.  The referee nor the organizations sanctioning the fight handled the bazaar conclusion to this fight in the proper way.  There was no time during a fight that a referee should allow fighters to be confused about what their expectations for that moment should be.  When Mayweather hit Ortiz the referee was not watching the action nor had he reestablished control of the fight.  Mayweather should have never been in stricking distance of Ortiz until the confusion on the floor was resolved. 

Bbrown550
Bbrown550

You can not be saved by the bell in any round

Chrissy
Chrissy

@Pez_27 How can the head-butt be considered "dirty" when it was clearly unintentional? Ortiz was trying to get inside on him, and got too close. OK. A point was deducted. How is that turning it into a dirty fight? Ridiculous.

An #EXOLL Advocate
An #EXOLL Advocate

He jumped into him. That's worse kinda head butt. Do you hate Mayweather that much that you can't be honest?

Kthespis
Kthespis

You're crazy.  Look at headbutt again.  Open your eyes this time.  He clearly leaps, pal...

Pez_27
Pez_27

anyone that thinks this is wrong is simply an idiot.firstly people that say the ref didnt say fight on look at 30 secs in he says 'lets go'secondly ortiz turned it into a dirty fight not mayweather by bringin in the headbutt, ortiz got what he deserved.this is simply an experienced boxer teaching a younger boxer a lesson.ortiz made the skool boy error off not protecting himself at all times.

Pez_27
Pez_27

@Chris C look 30 secs into the video on this page, the ref says 'lets go'

Ewarburton
Ewarburton

Yeah right, he was gonna head butt him again? Please! Why not wait for the ref to say "fight" rather than throwing at an opponent who obviously not ready. Mayweather is a cowar! Always has been!!

Norm
Norm

play with fire gonna get burnt . throw a head butt then moan about the knock .. sounds like karma ..

Chris C
Chris C

I don't think Ortiz ever moaned about the knockdown.  WE are, however, complaining about it.  This is boxing.  Not an eye-for-an-eye street fight -- even though Ortiz started it.  This was some WWE/WWF crap.  Crazy.  Do you really think Mayweather should get his agreed upon payday (many millions for 4 rounds and disgusting behavior) for the fight and the dude at home who paid $60 for this get nothing back?  

Chrissy
Chrissy

 I think we can all agree that there are plenty of legal plays that qualify as unsportsmanlike. The fact that this is in bounds does not make it right. Mayweather is a disgraceful coward- it's time we all stopped encouraging him.

Chris C
Chris C

i still think the round was over.  nobody's talkin about that.  2:59 in the 4th round, my whatever. plus, the ref, never said "BOX!", he was distracted and never really told them to get back and fight.  BS. some other ref had to initate the count from the floor.  And Mayweather is dirty and cranky as hell.  And, what about his darn elbowing all these years.  maybe he deserved a good headbuttin'.  

Bryant_james22
Bryant_james22

His elbowing (as you so unobservantly put it) is a classic defense. By using his elbow to keep distance without illegally making strike he is able to do just that keep the distance between him and his opponent.

When you elbow someone thats a real strike and in no way can be mistaken for defense due to the fact that elbowing is a blatantly constructed blow with your.

Thats not what floyd does and at no point has anyone been elbowed by him in a fight.and to go eye for eye let's not forget the Victor Ortiz head-butted at least four times before the refferee called it and took the point

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