Alan Dawson and Robert Delgado – London and Los Angeles
The Star Power event had garnered much hype but with the televised undercard curtain-raiser between Jessie Vargas and Josesito Lopez failing to get anyone out of their seats, there was a further burden on the headlining fight to deliver. There were many talking points during and after Floyd Mayweather Jr and Victor Ortiz‘s welterweight championship: from Ortiz’s inability to circumvent Mayweather Jr’s defence, to Floyd’s accuracy, the controversial kayo and, of course, his post-fight comments. On The Beak lists some of ours…
1: Victor’s southpaw stance was stifled by Mayweather Jr who rifled the right cross
Heading into the contest, staged at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday September 17, some analysts pointed to Mayweather Jr’s apparent inability to deal with southpaw fighters as effectively as he does to those who line up in the orthodox stance as a potential factor in the fight. However, Victor’s portside fighting was rendered so ineffectual that Mayweather Jr (42-0-0, 26ko) managed to land 49 percent of his heavy hits as he focused more on power punching as opposed to jabbing. It was Floyd’s defensive posturing that ended up proving arduous for Ortiz (29-3-2, 22ko) to crack as he landed none of his southpaw jabs.
Ortiz’s only successful shots were his power punches – yet he only landed a miserly 26 out of 117 (or 26 out of 148 overall). The rest were parried away by Mayweather Jr’s forearms, gloves, or shoulder. Victor could have perhaps enhanced his punches landed statistic by attaching the power punches with the lead jab. His best moment of the night was ultimately his last, when he backed Mayweather Jr onto the ropes and flurried… while the headshots bounced harmlessly off of his opponent’s guard, he had gotten through to the body. That work, though, was undone when he got over-excited and lunged in with his head out of frustration.
Floyd’s accuracy was converse in nature to his opponent. Including the two-punch move that ended the fight, Mayweather Jr landed 12 of his 83 jabs (below his own average) but that small stat was offset with his prolificacy when it came to the left hook and right cross (the combo that incidentally finished Ortiz).
2: Legitimate or not, another Cortez fight ends controversially
Joe Cortez has been synonymous with world championship boxing for decades and has officiated well over 170 professional major title bouts. However, in the past five years in particular, his refereeing is perceived to be invasive, obstructive and obtrusive.
He was deemed to be “too involved” in Ricky Hatton’s fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr and received the same criticism when officiating Amir Khan and Marcos Maidana’s scrap last year. When Evander Holyfield was up against John Ruiz, Cortez deducted a point away from Evander for a “low blow” that was not the real deal but a belt-line shot. His presence at the Humberto Soto and Francisco Lorenzo was also strange for he disqualified Soto after three rounds for punching after the break even though Lorenzo was badly beaten up, suffering multiple lacerations and a horrific broken nose.
With Mayweather Jr and Ortiz, there was an element of confusion as to whether Cortez had called “time in” to allow boxing to resume. Such ambiguity was clarified by the Nevada Commission who backed Cortez and Mayweather Jr, rendering the knockout legit, however, when the left hook struck, Cortez was looking and interacting with the timekeeper outside of the ring. Ortiz was looking over to Cortez, who was unable to see the follow up right cross from Floyd. Whilst the two-punch move was within the Queensberry Rules, Cortez would have been none the wiser if the punches had, for example, been low as – like Ortiz – his attention was not on the fight that he had restarted.
3: A reminder of Boxing 101 as fluid Floyd preserved his zero
It’s an age-old lesson and one reminded to boxers both in the dressing room and also in the ring: Protect yourself at all times, keep yourself protected at all times, keep your gloves up… or any variant thereof.
Before Cortez had instructed the judges at ringside to deduct a point from Ortiz’s card for lunging in with his head while Mayweather Jr was against the ropes, Victor had once already attempted to apologise to Floyd – something he, as the victim, accepted. Ortiz put his arm round him, even kissed his cheek, yet when boxing resumed, he went to hug Floyd as a sorry again. The time to embrace is after the fight, not when there is potentially eight rounds of fighting left to complete. Floyd’s finishing move was not illegal… opportunistic? Yes, but he should not be made a villain for taking advantage of Ortiz’s naivety.
4: Both Floyd and Ortiz seem to fight better when it’s ‘them against me’
The ‘Them vs Us’ scenario has been one that has long inspired athletes to disprove their doubters. In European soccer, current Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho is a master of it as he deflects attention, uses the press and plays the pantomime villain role perfectly. Any negative column inches are put up in the dressing room and he rallies his teams to domestic and continental success.
With boxing, both Ortiz and Mayweather revel under it. For Ortiz, prior to his loss to Marcos Maidana he was considered the next breakout prospect, but the knockout defeat devastated that status and commentators began questioning his heart and will. He used that ‘everyone is against me’ attitude – something he had since a child – to barnburn his way through Andre Berto earlier in the year and he still had an element of that fire during the HBO: Face Off with Max Kellerman and Mayweather Jr. Instead of focusing his attention on Floyd, Ortiz was zoned in on Kellerman who had been critical of Ortiz’s performance against Maidana. Against Floyd, though, Ortiz was considered the ‘good guy’.
Nobody polarises opinion in boxing more so than Mayweather Jr. It’s a win/win situation for him, it guarantees him a great gate receipt and huge pay-per-view income… whether he is paid to see win or lose, he gets his purse. He even uses his “haters” to motivate himself, as is evident during his stretching and exercising when he barks “I’ve got the most haters” after finishing one rep.
5: Mayweather lacked class, Merchant had brass
Whilst Mayweather Jr deserves no criticism for the manner in which he finished the fight, the censure he will receive for his post-fight “shit”-laden tirade against an 80-year-old Larry Merchant (who has worked with HBO: World Championship Boxing since 1978) is perhaps justified. Merchant and Mayweather Jr do not get along, but to square up and shout “You ain’t shit, HBO should fire you!” to a man 56-years older than him was certainly not one of Floyd’s classier moments.
However, Merchant’s swift retort that if he “was 50 years younger I’d kick your ass!” was arguably worth the pay-per-view fee in itself.