Referee Joe Cortez says that inexperience cost Victor Ortiz the fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr on Saturday night. From BoxingScene.com:
"I had already ordered them to continue fighting and the clock was running, but Ortiz wanted to apologize again and he was off guard. Mayweather, who is more experienced, he took advantage, but did nothing illegal. Nowhere is there a rule that says the boxer has to apologize and hug the other fighter and do it at least two or three times."
Not surprisingly, Cortez isn't admitting any mistakes in his handling of this. He's not wrong in his assessment here, at least technically. In terms of legality only, it was all on the up-and-up.
Of course, what's worse is that Nevada will continue to assign Cortez major fights even though it has been painfully clear for years now that he has a habit of losing full control of the action in the ring, and that when forced to make a quick decision, he's very prone to screwing up. Look, boxing fans are an emotional, often immature, often silly fanbase, same as with any other sport. I'm not saying Nevada should bend to the will of yahoos. But Cortez draws criticism constantly. When something keeps happening, there's a reason for it. We also detailed all the major issues that referee Russell Mora has had this year, but he got only a slap on the wrist (at best) for his disgracefully bad performance in the August fight between Joseph Agbeko and Abner Mares.
The issue with Cortez this time is that his corny catchphrase ("I'm fair but I'm firm!") just isn't true. He was anything but firm in his restart of the fight. I'm as big a critic of Victor Ortiz as you're likely to find, but no, I wouldn't be surprised if he legitimately wasn't totally aware that Cortez's not-so-clear restart was in fact a restart. A firm one, I guess.