Victor Ortiz can only blame himself for getting knocked out against Floyd Mayweather Jr last night. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Since I'm still up and have looked back at the video (I didn't have a chance to see it right away, hit the road to come home, and the slow motion wasn't as telling), I want to correct something I said earlier, which you've surely seen by now but does need to be said.
Referee Joe Cortez restarted the fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Victor Ortiz last night. He may have been slightly out of position and not focused on the action just after in the next moment, but he had restarted the fight.
That means that the left hook and straight right that Mayweather smacked Ortiz with were legal blows -- dirty, maybe. Dishonorable, perhaps. But legal. There is no doubt about that.
Thus my blame shifts further to Victor Ortiz. You may think Mayweather was out of line with what he did, but as some have put it, he spotted a sucker, and he knocked him out. After several viewings, slow motion and real time, different angles, that's the truth.
Ortiz, of course, initiated all of this with an imbecilic, totally blatant headbutt to Mayweather moments earlier. After having a point docked by Cortez, the referee told the two fighters to fight on. Ortiz, for whatever reason, just wasn't ready to go. He was more concerned about his bro hug, his goofy apology for his damaging and classless foul.
Speaking of the bro hug, Jonathan Snowden of MMA Nation has long been a critic of the tactic in mixed martial arts, and wrote a short piece about what happened with Mayweather and Ortiz. Here's a snippet:
Victor Ortiz tried to popularize the bro hug in boxing last night, hugging Floyd Mayweather immediately after a blatantly illegal headbutt, then trying to revisit the hug moments later as referee Joe Cortez stood around looking like he'd lost his car keys. The second time, Floyd struck a blow for fighters everywhere, rejecting the hug and treating a fight like a fight, not like a frisbee golf game. Mayweather popped Ortiz twice, right in the jaw, putting an end to the hugging and the fight.
I would only argue that Shane Mosley, in fact, has tried his best to popularize the bro hug in boxing, as he also got smacked by Mayweather last year for trying to hug too many times, and he hugged Manny Pacquiao repeatedly earlier this year.
Now this won't make the whole thing any less controversial or criticized. But the shots were legal, and Ortiz can only blame himself. I am reminded of the week one NFL game where the Cincinnati Bengals caught the Cleveland Browns off-guard, and quarterback Bruce Gradkowski had the chance to lob a 41-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green. Other than the fact that in this sport guys get punched in the head, I just don't see a major difference here.
Apologies to Joe Cortez for my earlier criticism, which he had not earned. He was, at worst, a little slow to get himself back to the fight he'd restarted. But even if he'd been staring right at it, the same would have happened, because no rules were broken here.