Joe Cortez and Victor Ortiz are taking the brunt of the blame today, but Manny Pacquiao says nothing was illegal last night. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Floyd Mayweather Jr's greatest press rival is, at least to some degree, in his corner in the debate about last night's fight with and knockout of Victor Ortiz. Pacquiao had this to say to the Philippine Star:
"Very poor sportsmanship," said the Filipino pound-for-pound champion in the aftermath of Floyd Mayweather’s controversial knockout of Victor Ortiz in Las Vegas yesterday.
Pacquiao said he didn’t see anything illegal with what Mayweather did because he thought that the referee, Joe Cortez, had already ordered the fight to continue.
"It was not illegal," he said.
I think this is the exact stance a lot of people have. It was legal, and it was poor sportsmanship and at least kind of a cheap shot. Some have no problem with it, some are blaming referee Joe Cortez for not being totally in control (not new), but at this point I don't think anyone is totally blaming Mayweather, and they really shouldn't be, at least in my opinion. Legal's legal.
Freddie Roach, Pacquiao's trainer, has a slightly different take, the one that focuses more on Cortez:
"The referee was still talking to someone at ringside. And I didn’t see him [say] ‘box’ like they always do. I think he lost control," said Roach.
I earlier gave Cortez more blame than I think he deserves now, but as our own Andrew Fruman and many others have pointed out very well, and I agree, Cortez is not blameless here, and this is not his first rodeo with a controversial fight ending. Again, if it were Tony Weeks or Kenny Bayless, does this happen? It might, but probably not exactly like this.