Before I begin, let me preface my remarks by saying, "Outside of his boxing skills, I have never been much of a Floyd 'Money' Mayweather fan." That said; I have no problem with the outcome of Saturday night's fight against former welterweight champion 'Vicious' Victor Ortiz. I can hear the uproar already, but before all the anti-Mayweather fans start screaming bloody murder at me, let me explain my reasoning.
For three and a half rounds Saturday night, the fight was going just as I and many boxing experts had expected it would; Floyd Mayweather (42-0, 26 KO's) keeping the fight in the center of the ring picking apart a game, but outmatched Victor Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KO's). Sure, Ortiz came into the ring the WBC welterweight champion, but at just 24 years old, his level of experience is still nowhere near Mayweather's and it showed early on and throughout.
Although Ortiz had a couple minor flashes/moments throughout, it was Mayweather's precise counter punching that dictated the way the fight was going the first three and half rounds. That was until all hell broke loose. For one of the very few moments in the fight, Ortiz backed up Mayweather and appeared to finally be doing some damage while having the slicker opponent up against the ropes. As a matter of fact, had he stayed with what he was doing at that point, he looked as though he could possibly pull out the fourth round. That was until the unexpected happened.
In the midst of throwing punches at Mayweather, Ortiz, for some strange reason, decided to live up to his nickname, get "vicious" and throw a head butt at Mayweather's chin. Blatant and obvious, referee Joe Cortez jumped in and stopped the action. He then proceeded to take a point away from Ortiz. After this, the two fighters embraced with Ortiz apologizing for his actions and Mayweather seemingly accepting. What happened next is what ends the fight and starts the controversy.
As they parted their embrace, Mayweather hit Ortiz with a left hook and right hand that knocked down the former champion. Unable to recover, Ortiz was counted out by Cortez, who for a 'Hall of Fame' referee looked a bit bewildered by the whole thing. The stoppage came at 2:59 of the fourth round. Immediately the question began, was Mayweather dirty or unprofessional for hitting Ortiz as they finished their embrace and his hands were down? I say no and here's why.
First of all, Mayweather did nothing wrong. The timeout that was called after the initial head butt was back in, which means "protect yourself at all times." That is the first and repeated rule of boxing, MMA, wrestling or any other combat sport in the world. Mayweather had his hands up after the embrace, so why didn't Ortiz? Experience, that's why.
Second, it was Ortiz, not Mayweather, who initiated the intentional head butt, thus turning an otherwise clean fight up to that point, into 'no holds barred'. Therefore, even if the punches Mayweather threw after the embrace were "dirty," which I am saying they were not, he was just adapting to dirty tactics that were being used upon him. In other words, Ortiz made a mistake by fighting a fighter at something he is good at. Not necessarily fighting dirty, but using it to your advantage. At this, Mayweather is a master.
The unfair uproar that is being hurled at Floyd Mayweather has nothing to do with professional prizefighting and everything to do with people's diluted perception of sportsmanship. Don't hate the player, hate the game. As much as boxing and mixed martial arts are sports, they are not played with the same courteous etiquette that you will see on a tennis court or golf course. While there are rules in place, it is still a fight.
Floyd Mayweather fought that fight within the rules. If he hadn't, the same way referee Joe 'Mr. I'm Fair, but I'm Firm' Cortez penalized Victor Ortiz for not fighting within those rules, he would have penalized Mayweather. Also note there was no negative reaction or response at all from Ortiz. He just smiled in his corner as though he realized he was just outmatched. A valuable, but costly lesson was learned by Ortiz Saturday night, protect yourself at all times.