Did you happen to catch the championship fight on HBO last week? The highly promoted, over-priced, four round fiasco was a phenomenal bust! Definitely not worth the $59.95 HBO price tag. I’m certainly glad I didn’t fork out the money on this one. In fact since June of 97 when Tyson was disqualified in the 4th round for biting both of Holyfield’s ears I’ve only paid to see one fight, the De LaHoya -Pacquiao bout in 2008, and I split the cost on that one with my son and son-in-law so it only cost me $20 and even that was a waste. Oscar should have never been in that ring, he was outmatched, outboxed and took one hell of a beating. That’s why I waited to watch the replay this past weekend for free. I wasn’t about to put out $60 to be disappointed. I can get plenty of disappointment without having to pay for it. Besides, after a week of outrage and debate about it’s controversial 4th round ending, it made it interesting to watch.
For those of you who might have missed the fight a quick recap. Near the end of the 4th round Ortiz had Mayweather backed into a corner and was fighting in close. After a flurry of punches which were mostly blocked he launched his head upward towards Mayweather’s jaw and head butted him. The fight was stopped by the ref and a point was deducted. While this was taking place Ortiz had made his way to Mayweather and apologized, going so far as to kiss him.
What happened next is unclear. Both fighters were brought to the center of the ring and appeared to touch gloves. The ref then turns away from the fighters and you can plainly hear him say “let’s go” but it’s unclear whether he was speaking to the time keeper to start the clock or to the fighters.He then appears to look over towards the commissioner. In the meantime Ortiz moves in close to Mayweather and makes one more apologetic gesture and hugs him. As he backs away with both gloves down. Mayweather throws a right in the face of the unprotected Ortiz. As Ortiz stumbles back, he looks at the ref as if to say “wtf” then Mayweather finishes him with a solid left. Ortiz goes down, can’t get up, end of fight.
So what did you think? Was Mayweather’s knockout legal or did he totally sucker-punch Ortiz? Did he follow boxing etiquette or take advantage of a defenseless Ortiz? It seems like everyone’s got an opinion.
After listening to a host of arguments on several sports talk shows and reading about the incident nearly everyday last week I think it’s fair to say that what Floyd Mayweather did was perfectly legal. He did absolutely nothing that violated boxing’s written rules. But was what he chose to do to a defenseless boxer in a major championship fight good sportsmanship? Is it the kind of behavior we have come to expect from a noted champion and highly regarded sports figure? I think not, but then what do I know.
Boxing has long been described as a battle or war in the ring and you know what they say, “all’s fair in love and war” meaning you are allowed to be deceitful in order to get what you want. You are not bound by the rules of fair play and the end always justifies the means. Sadly this is a harsh reality in society today. “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing!” It seems to be the law of the land.
Mayweather saw an opportunity and he took it. He exacted his revenge for the earlier head butt and the excessive pleas of forgiveness from Ortiz. He displayed a complete disregard for good sportsmanship but broke no rules. Many people in their bid to be the best do the exact same thing every day and no big deal is made of it. This is a cut-throat world. People want to get the most from it that they can without making the grand sacrifice. If they see a shortcut they take it. If they see an opportunity they jump on it. They don’t care if it bends the rules or hurts anyone, because the end always justifies the means.
Mayweather came away from the fight victorious. Although he may have violated the spirit of the rules of good sportsmanship, he broke no written rules. Sucker punch or not, he is the champion and in the end that all that really matters isn’t it?