Immediately after the Mayweather/Ortiz fight, and its controversial ending, it seemed like the world had its opinion, whether good, bad, or indifferent. Some opinions made perfect sense, while others bordered on the ridiculous. Let me try to set the record straight.
As painful as it may be to read, Floyd Mayweather did nothing legally wrong by hitting Victor Ortiz while he was totally defenseless. Now, was it morally wrong, and completely unsportsmanlike? Absolutely. I hadn’t seen something so egregious in boxing since Mike Tyson tried to make a meal out of Evander Holyfield’s right ear, in their June 28,1997 bout. For the record, Victor Ortiz deliberately head butted Floyd Mayweather prior to being knocked out. I’m convinced that that was the sole reason Mr. Mayweather launched his own personal Pearl Harbor.
There’s a saying in boxing that goes, “protect yourself at all times.” I’m guessing you might’ve heard this a time or two. It’s one of the most fundamental and key components of the sport. I preach it everyday to my own fighters until it is engrained in their psyche and becomes muscle memory. Now, either Mr. Ortiz was never taught this in training, or he decided to show Mr. Mayweather a lot more deference than he is entitled to. I choose the latter to be true. After all, Mr. Mayweather is an arrogant, opportunistic, self-aggrandizing, low class narcissistic buffoon, and regardless of his boxing acumen, he is bad for the sport of boxing. Sure, he fills the seats, generating more money than most people could spend in a lifetime, but he is an embarrassment, not to himself, because he seems to lack all sense of humility, but to self-respecting minorities who don’t feel that Mr. Mayweather represents them. I don’t think Mr. Mayweather is overly concerned with being a role model anyway.
I won’t defend Mr. Ortiz in some regard, because, he too, resorted to trash talking prior to the fight. It was a bit out of character for him and totally unnecessary. But let’s face it, long gone are the days that fighters choose to allow their fists to do their talking. I can only recall a few present day fighters that don’t feel a need to trash talk (Manny Pacquiao, Sugar Shane Mosley, and Miguel Cotto). You may know of a few others, but these three stand out as gentlemen fighters; the type I admire, would love to meet, and would gladly pay for the privilege for.
Let’s delve a little more into my thoughts on the prospect of Mr. Ortiz pulling out an upset, and the events of the night that Mr. Ortiz was “dry gulch” by Mr. Mayweather. Frankly speaking, Mr. Ortiz stood as much a chance of defeating Mr. Mayweather, as Samuel Soto would stand a chance of defeating me. Samuel Soto is my thirteen year old son, by the way, and I’m sure the day will come when he will be able to defeat me. But for now, that day is still years from becoming a probability. I said this about Mr. Ortiz’s chances from the outset, and it was evident during the fight.
As we in the boxing game like to say, styles make fights. Andre Berto’s particular style is what led to his destruction, at the hands of Mr. Ortiz, and, it was the defining fight that earned Mr. Ortiz the opportunity to fight Mr. Mayweather. Mr. Mayweather, though, is an elusive genius, that doesn’t mind carrying a fighter the distance. That’s only when he isn’t fighting much smaller men, like Juan Manuel Marquez or Ricky Hatton. It doesn’t make for a excitable bouts, but it does help to extend a fighter’s career. That’s the style that makes up Mr. Mayweather.
For as hard as he tried, Mr. Ortiz could not penetrate Mr. Mayweather’s superb defense, and could not mount a successful offensive attack either. Mr. Ortiz’s frustration over not being able to figure out a viable strategy against Mr. Mayweather, led to his intentional head butting, and it cost him dearly. Did Mr. Mayweather have no other recourse than to punch Mr. Ortiz while his arms were at his sides? No, he did not. Mr. Mayweather was ahead on all of the judges’ scorecards, and could have systematically dismantled Mr. Ortiz the way Muhammad Ali mercilessly dismantled Ernie Terrell in 1967, in what was called the, “What’s my name?” fight. It was a different time though; a time where professional integrity existed in boxing. Professional integrity, however, is yet another characteristic Mr. Mayweather does not possess. I’m sure you’ve seen all the HBO 24/7 episodes. Do Floyd Mayweather, Sr. and Roger Mayweather really look like they were positive mentors to a young and impressionable Floyd Mayweather, Jr? Again, just watch the HBO 24/7 episodes, and judge for yourself.
There are boxing critics who believe that Mr. Mayweather’s actions from September 17th, created a huge blight on boxing, and has served to muddle the sport even further, only helping to elevate MMA. I don’t entirely agree. As influential as Mr. Mayweather is in the sport, he too, must retire someday, as all fighters do. I believe that if his antics and behavior in and out of the ring persist, he will not cement his legacy as a great fighter, but rather be relegated to the likes of cheaters, Luis Resto and Antonio Margarito, and the low blow king, Andrew Golota; not good company to be associated with. Once More, I am not implying that Mr. Mayweather cheated. He used extremely poor judgment, and we, the paying public, that line his pockets with millions of dollars, should not give him a pass.
Joe Soto has been coaching, training, and motivating athletes for over 20 years, for either fitness or competition. He has a unique love affair with the sweet science, and is a constant study of the sport. He conditions his own body by doing boxing training, and is a boxing historian as well. He is a registered and certified Level I Boxing Coach/Trainer with the USA Boxing Organization, trained by the professional team at Gleason’s Gym, in Brooklyn, NY. He is also registered as a professional Boxing Manager with the Maryland State Athletic Commission, and had previously been registered with the Florida State Boxing Commission as a Boxing Trainer. He currently resides in Maryland, with his family, where he continues to teach technical boxing and run a boxing clinic program.