This past Saturday night, I promised my sister that I would babysit my nephew. While in the throes of trying to get my nephew to calm down after realizing he had been left alone with me for the evening, I was anticipating the fight with my Macbook all ready and set up to find some on-line feed somewhere. After a few phone calls to my sister and brother-in-law, the two finally came home and I was reading a play by play of the fight from the Los Angeles Times on-line report.
1st round – Mayweather, 10-9. 2nd round – Mayweather, 10-9. 3rd round – Mayweather 10-9. 4th round – huh? What? Accidental head butt. About to touch gloves in the center of the ring? Left hook followed by a cross? KO? KO. KO. I re-read the result. I looked at my Facebook page. My Friends were posting the following: “Fixed.” “Larry Merchant and Floyd Mayweather JR.” I read the result again. First, RSR readers, I’m still going through some economic challenges. And thank goodness. Thank God, as Mayweather, JR., did during his press conference – thank God I DID NOT ORDER THIS FIGHT. Despite my nephew’s crying, I have to thank my sister, my brother-in-law, and my nephew for keeping me occupied and that I did not order this fight!
As much as I’ve discussed my social life and how I’ve had my heart broken, I’d have to admit that after hearing the result of this fight, my heart is indeed broken and saddened by the state of boxing right now. While I have an admitted love affair/love/hate relationship with my beloved sweet science, I am quite upset and frustrated that in the hype and expectation of a potentially good fight, both fighters failed to deliver on what truly makes the sport such a thrill to match.
HBO’s 24/7 did an excellent job in its series to portray both Mayweather JR and Ortiz as skilled boxers with something to prove with nothing to lose. Mayweather JR, in his portrayal, revealed obvious daddy issues that while he has been blessed with the physical traits and abilities to be the undefeated boxer of his generation, both Floyd SR and Uncle Roger failed in his teaching him to be a professional athlete and sportsman. While boxing has never been the business of gentlemanlike behavior, Mayweather, JR., with his 1st person speak of the use of the word “legacy” upsets me. Yes, as a future Hall of Fame boxer, his undefeated record stands as proof of the swag that he remains the best. However, there are shadows that tarnish the shine of his undefeated record. These shadows will hardly be highlighted in a plaque celebrating his famed record.
First, Mayweather JR’s 42-0 record. Yes, you can’t deny that he has yet to be challenged. But then you look at his record and his time in between fights. As I’ve always argued, Mayweather JR should win all his fights because what else does he have to do but train to get ready for a fight every 15 months. Right now, there’s only one fighter who can step up and defeat him. And as I recall, he’s been toying with the fans’ emotions to ever make this fight happen. However, when it comes to being called out, it’s not Mayweather’s name that is being mentioned after a fight. As I recall, Bradley, Ortiz, and even Judah were all asked if Pacquiao was a possibility. It was never a question that it would be Mayweather JR to be called out.
Second, in each of his returns to the ring, Mayweather has boasted that he is the real deal and undefeated face of boxing. Fans will see him fight because his record serves as a shield showing that he is the best and he is the PPV appeal. But so what, discounting rounds 1-3, the bout against Ortiz certainly did not show he’s the best. His prior bouts against Hatton? Marquez? De La Hoya? Mosley? All three fighters were past their primes. As for Ortiz, he will remain a contender in the next few years. He still has some boxing life to undergo. The loss against Mayweather, JR – a true lesson and a hard one at that to take.
Mayweather JR has perhaps pushed some buttons about his true contribution to the sport of boxing. He makes for the perfect foil against any fighter, but I definitely believe that he should just shut up about the money and his popularity and fight Pacquiao. As far as I’m concerned and I’m definitely not alone in this, his attempts to put the fight to Pacquiao with accusations of steroid use and testing is ridiculous. If money is no object for “Money” Mayweather, he shouldn’t be so reluctant to the fight against the very best in Pacquiao.
As for the bout against Ortiz, I’ll take a dispassionate point of view and address a few obvious points on a technical level.
Keep in mind, I’m only going off of what the LA Times reported. As Mayweather had been leading in the previous three rounds, he must have been frustrating the heck out of Ortiz. Head-butts, however, unintentional, occur when there’s a level of frustration or even desperation that what was going on was simply not working. As I’ve given Ortiz some psychological credit to his childhood and upbringing, he still does not quite have the defending champ fortitude – the intangible to make the fight his fight. I saw it when he fought Berto. Ortiz should have never been knocked down by Berto. But Ortiz did win the fight because he looked better than Berto.
It goes without saying the saying, “Protect yourself at all times,” but it’s a point that must be hammered over and over. Whether in retaliation, a boxer’s best defense is to be alert at all times. Mayweather JR saw the opening, took it, and with help from both Ortiz and the referee, he took his two shots that earned him the victory. “Protect yourself at all times” is the boxer’s mantra. Since my beloved editor Geno already mentioned it, yes, folks, cheap shot. On a technical call, the punches were legal because the round was still live. It wasn’t as if it was the same time of cheap shot by Abraham over Dirrell while he was down that resulted in a DQ.
All that being said, with the Ortiz vs Mayweather JR fight behind us, there is only one fight that remains for the year – the rubber match between Pacquiao and Marquez in November. It will be a great match simply because it has to be – my beloved sport of boxing, my sweet science, has not fully driven me into hopelessness. However, it’s coming close. So, here’s to November. All other fights, I just may stay tuned.