After blatantly head butting Floyd Mayweather, Jr. last night, “Vicious” Victor Ortiz went off Romeo style and forced as much male bonding as perhaps the boxing world has ever seen—including a kiss. Referee Joe Cortez deducted a point for the head butt (there is no rule in boxing that prevents excessive man love), and Ortiz continued prom night with an attempt to round second base. With Mayweather, however, “no means no” and he rejected Ortiz’s advances by way of a left hook-straight right combo package that sent Ortiz down for the count at the end of the fourth round.
Cheap shot? Maybe. Against the rules? Absolutely not. The circumstance would not have happened if Ortiz had not treated Mayweather’s melon like it was a soccer ball. The dude went full on vertical with the head smash (he said it was not intentional…uh, right), which is why it is probably appropriate now for him to drop “Vicious” and go with “Vertical.” There would be no objection here if he went with “Valentino” either because that kiss was very romantic.
Additionally, Joe Cortez could have kept the fighters a part, as he is supposed to do, and restart them when he was ready. For reasons only known to him, he didn’t and, as such, the fighters remained in protect yourself at all times mode. Most of us wish that Floyd had not taken the opportunity because it had defenseless payback written all over it. Regardless, it happened and a rematch is probably due, which most of us probably would pay to see.
Ortiz was ready to die (and make love), which means that he may have exorcised the Marcus Maidana demon. He was prepared, landed effective punches on Mayweather, and the largess of being in the biggest fight of his career did not seem to faze him. His moments were not frequent enough, however, which means that he was not likely on track to win the fight, but he was most certainly in the fight and performed better than most expected.
Mayweather had ring rust and/or is suffering from the naturally aging process because his reflexes were not where they have been. He still blocked most of Ortiz punches, but he ate more leather than we are accustomed to seeing. By Floyd’s own account, he prepared exceptionally well for Ortiz. If what we saw in four’ish rounds is how he is able to execute these days, then it is not a reach to say that he has lost a step—which still makes him better than any other non-Filipino welterweight.
If Mayweather had hopes of using a victory over Ortiz to fuel the fire for a fight with Manny Pacquiao, then he failed. Ironically, assuming there is no rematch, it is perhaps Ortiz who now presents the best option for Manny after the Juan Manuel Marquez trilogy concludes in November. As for Mayweather, Larry Merchant wants a piece.