By RASEC RINBA
Bob Arum said it. James Toney said it. Robert Garcia said it. Even Teddy Atlas said it. Victor Ortiz quit against Floyd Mayweather in their super-fight last Saturday. And I agree with them. In a bout where he was being dominated in, Ortiz would start a controversy that would be discussed in years to come. He gave Mayweather a head-butt in the fourth round and after a point was deducted from him, he kept on apologizing even after the fight was resumed by the referee. Ortiz dropped his hands and apparently, allowed Mayweather to give him a 1-2 combination. Result: instant knock-out of Ortiz.
Since that time, thousands have speculated on what transpired. But the bottom line is: Ortiz simply wanted an easy way out. It was not a matter of miscommunication or that he was caught unaware. Ortiz got so frustrated that night that he wanted the fight to end, either by getting a no-contest or having Floyd disqualified. Ortiz has always been labeled a quitter. While he got some form of redemption in his title bout with Andre Berto last April, I believed it was just a matter of time before his true nature would re-surface.
A day before his bout with Floyd, Fighthype.com released an interview of Ortiz’s former trainer, Robert Garcia. In the article, Garcia described Victor as weak-minded and that he always had the tendency to give up when frustrated or losing. He said Victor did this several times in the amateurs, even naming Amir Khan as one of his opponents where he gave up. According to the world-class trainer, when Ortiz loses heart, he just drops his hands in the middle of a fight and lets his opponent claim the victory. Garcia would then point out Ortiz’s biggest quit job – the Marcos Maidana fight in 2009, as proof.
This interview came out a day before the Mayweather fight. It was almost prophetic. In like manner, Ortiz just dropped his hands against Floyd, hoping the fight would end faster than Floyd’s flapping mouth.
But while it’s easy to spot Ortiz’s cop-out last Saturday, Floyd is not necessarily exempted from taking the easy way out. True, he did not quit like Ortiz. But he opted to finish the fight early without challenging himself by actually beating his opponent on even terms. It was an easier way to end the night. Yes, his punch was legal but any real competitor, especially at this level, would not want to win against a defenseless guy. Floyd could’ve just waited for a “level playing field” as he always puts it or at most, given Victor a love tap on the kisser, just like what he did with Shane Mosley. For the sake of the fans, sportsmanship, boxing in general and even his own legacy, he didn’t have to sucker punch Ortiz.
But that’s Floyd Mayweather. He is all about low risk, high reward. He neither cares about the fans nor true gamesmanship. It doesn’t matter if he’s challenged or not. As long as he wins and gets paid well, he will avoid any form of risk. Forget the fact that he was already winning all four rounds. He saw the opportunity to earn his money without further risk and he took it. It’s as simple as that. It’s Floyd’s nature. He has been avoiding stiff competition for years. And since people watch him anyway, he’d rather fight lesser opponents than be challenged for the same price.
Over the years, he has managed to sidestep a younger Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito and more recently, Manny Pacquiao. It’s not that he can’t win against any, if not all of them, but again, it all boils down to earning the easier way. In fact, Floyd ‘admits’ this in his post-fight conference last Saturday. He claimed he didn’t need Pacquiao since he could earn 70 million (a bloated figure) fighting just about anybody. If that’s not taking the easy way out, I don’t know what is. Everyone knows only Pacquiao has a chance of beating him at this point. And to fight ‘just about anybody’ is, I’m afraid, an easy way out.
A leopard cannot change its spots. And for both Ortiz and Mayweather, they simply remained true to their natural colors. Both wanted an easy way out.
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