By Ludwig O. Daza
This is supposed to be the fight that would test the mettle of Floyd Mayweather amid the criticism of his cherry-picked foes. Since his fight with Diego Corrales, his opponents have been small (Juan Manuel Marquez), over the hill (Oscar De La Hoya) and slow (Carlos Baldomir). Zab Judah measured up to Mayweather’s skills, but his mental toughness was suspect.
Here comes Victor “Vicious” Ortiz. Fresh from destroying the erstwhile unbeaten Andre Berto, he appeared to have a chance of beating Mayweather. When he got up from a knockdown in that fight to beat Berto, the WBC welterweight champion, he seemed to have exorcised the demons of his fight with Marcos Maidana; Victor is “Vicious” again and ready to realize his boyhood dream – to inflict upon Mayweather his first loss. Moreover, this is a fighter who suffered a lot as a boy, having been separated from his parents and left to fend for himself, and therefore is supposed to be a tough customer for Mayweather.
But, alas! The moniker “Vicious” seemed apt for Mayweather, and the moniker “Money” should have applied to Ortiz. Ortiz’s apologetic behavior does not lend credence to what he is projecting to the fans – which is being “Vicious”.
In the back of your mind, the thought lingers that Victor Ortiz was there to lose. That all that happened was staged. The head butt, the numerous apologies, and the total disregard to the warning which is basic to anyone who would put on gloves – “protect oneself at all times”.
But the act of taking your eyes off your opponent and letting your guard down, with your muscles relaxed, fully unprepared to receive punches, is just recklessly way too dangerous. The specter of another tragedy similar to Z Gorres cannot be discounted. Ortiz was lucky the shot was not fatal. This was not staged after all.
It was a cheap shot alright, but it was legal. Ortiz already apologized. If you’re a fighter who wants to beat Floyd Mayweather you conduct yourself in a manner befitting your moniker. You need not apologize twice.
The deliberate headbutt surely pissed off Mayweather, and he could have unleashed the punches the first time Ortiz apologized. But he didn’t. Then here comes Ortiz apologizing again. This surely irritated Mayweather, this was the one that ticked him off.
What could have happened if the fight lasted the distance? Ortiz was doing well until that headbutt. He had Mayweather on the ropes with telling combinations. It was the first time I saw Mayweather on the ropes frantically defending. And you sense that Ortiz was strong.
But then again he’s not that “Vicious” after all.
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