Nightmare Alley: Floyd Mayweather Jr. KO4 Victor Ortiz

****

Victor Ortiz saw his welterweight dream turn into a nightmare last night when he was spectacularly–and paranormally–knocked out by Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the fourth round of a scheduled 12 at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The official time of the stoppage was 2:59, although how that figure was arrived at can only be a subject for guesswork, since referee Joe Cortez once again seemed to slip through some sort of stargate and into another dimension. When Cortez separated the fighters to deduct a point from Ortiz, he half-heartedly gave a signal for the fight to resume, and an unprepared Ortiz was drygulched by Mayweather for a brutal KO loss.

That is one bad mojo Cortez possesses, and if he can somehow bottle its essence, witchdoctors all over the world will never have to worry about missing another square meal again. These may be harsh words, but Cortez simply cannot be allowed to put the lives and livelihoods of boxers in danger any longer. He should be fired, and the Nevada State Athletic Commission should take this action immediately to avoid further weakening the confidence of bettors, spectators, and, most of all, fighters, who toil long and hard only to be faced with the possibility of having a rubber-stamped addlepate send them hurtling into disaster.

As for the fight itself, Ortiz, 146 1/2, looked more like the man who spent two years suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after being steamrolled by Marcos Maidana in 2009 than the keyed-up dynamo who smacked Andre Berto around last April with glee. Sure, Ortiz can probably give Berto the treatment every day of the week, including Sunday, but against Mayweather he looked tentative on the perimeter and often merely flailed when he had Mayweather against the ropes. He landed an occasional straight left and a few knifing hooks in close, but Ortiz never really looked like he was going to seriously threaten Mayweather, 147.

On the outside, Ortiz, fighting out of Oxnard, California, was ineffective, and when he stepped in to engage, he walked into a number of straight rights. He had some desultory success bumrushing Mayweather in the corner, however, and he attempted a few headbutts here and there as preparation for his tour de force of noggin knocking in the fourth round.

For his part, Mayweather, Las Vegas, Nevada, opened up his offense earlier than usual, raking Ortiz in the third round with some blinding combinations and dusting off his wicked but long-dormant uppercut for good measure.

Then came the blatant headbutt from Ortiz, who halted his own momentum by committing a foul. He also seemed to enrage Mayweather, who suffered a small cut because of the infraction.

Retaliation in boxing is nothing new, and if Ortiz was bushwacked by a cheap shot, it was one he should have seen coming. Of course, saying he deserved it goes far beyond good taste and sportsmanship. But to paraphrase William Munny in Unforgiven, “Deserve has got nothing to do with it.” Being a world-class prizefighter means more than just skipping rope, knocking out Vivian Harris, and blaming the media for all your troubles. Ring I.Q. is an edge Mayweather will have over 95% of his opponents, but against Ortiz, it was a no-brainer going in. If you make your own luck in boxing—a sport where participants actively forge their own destinies from moment to moment—then you can do the same for misfortune, and Ortiz worked hard to wind up staring at the ring lights.

First, the headbutt he shook Mayweather with was as deliberate a foul as has been seen in an American ring in some time. Then, almost before Cortez could dock a point from him, Ortiz, all apologies, was embracing Mayweather. One hug and kiss was enough contrition for the night, but Ortiz, 24, decided to double his pleasure—and our fun—by reaching out to whisper further sweet nothings to Mayweather once Cortez was done taking points away.

Finally, Ortiz, incredibly, was not sharp enough to read the expression of his oncoming opponent. Ortiz might be a competent boxer, but he will never be a good poker player. Replays showed Mayweather approaching Ortiz not with a look of love, but with one of anger. There also seemed to be a hint of payback in his eyes. Before striking with sidewinder quickness, Mayweather took a moment to see if Joe Cortez had any say in the matter. Naturally, Cortez was not even paying attention, and Mayweather was free to do what prizefighters, after all, are paid to do during three regulation minutes of every scheduled round: sock his opponent on the jaw as hard as possible.

Mayweather, 34, landed a ripping left that staggered the unsuspecting Ortiz—who looked to a goggle-eyed Cortez for help—and then followed up with a straight right-nasty snarl combination that dropped Ortiz in a heap. Cortez woke from his fugue long enough to count out the groggy fighter. One thing Cortez is still capable of is counting to “10,” although there is no telling when that specialized skill will desert him as well.

Ortiz, who slips to 29-3-2, entered the ring an enigma and seemed more puzzling than ever after the penlight had been taken out of his eyes. No sooner was Ortiz listing on his stool, in fact, than he broke into a lopsided smile. Like Dr. Sardonicus, nothing, it seems, can wipe the perpetual grin off of his face–not being knocked senseless, not being shown evidence of his dishonesty, not being choked at a press conference. Sooner or later, someone is going to have to ask the question, “What the fuck is so funny?”

With the win, Mayweather improves to 42-0 and solidifies his standing as one of the most talented lightning rods for controversy boxing has seen since the Mike Tyson era ended. Still feeling pugnacious, Mayweather lambasted Larry Merchant during the post-fight interview, saying that the veteran journalist, who began covering boxing in the 1950s, should be fired. This ugliness could have been averted if only Mayweather had been interviewed by a member of fighthype.com instead of Merchant, whose inability to gladhand has offended cross-eyed forum barkers for years. Still, it was a fitting conclusion to a strange fight, one whose surrealist air began when a nine-year-old Victor Ortiz, somewhere in Garden City, Kansas, first dreamt of fighting Floyd Mayweather, Jr. in some sort of parallel universe moment that was just too true to be good.

*****

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Topics: Floyd Mayweather Jr., Joe Cortez, VICTOR ORTIZ, Welterweights

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  • thenonpareil

    @PhilS Hi Phils,

    thanks for the video. I happen to be a Dempsey freak, so I will say, unequivocally, that Demspey is not a good example of the boxing gentleman. Outside of the ring, Dempsey was one of the nicest men you could hope to meet and one of the most beloved athletes in American history. Between the ropes, however, he was a savage terror whose take no prisoners style single-handedly revived boxing in the US. His two-fisted whirlwind attack was honed in lawless mining camps and in barrooms, where he basically fought to survive. He could never get rid of that killer instinct and brought it into the ring with him at all times. Also, we should note that Dempsey was getting beaten badly that night when he saw the opening. As for Sharkey, he was one of those Black Cloud fighters, exceptionally talented but so mercurial that he never reached his potential.

    I would say fighters were much more sportsmanlike years ago, but there was a certain “wildcat” type–Ketchel, Dempsey, Wolgast, Hudkins–that was full-throttle all the time inside the ring. What happened with Mayweather-Ortiz would have happened all the time in the old days…the difference, I think, is in the attitudes and public personas of the fighters today.

  • thenonpareil

    @PhilS Hi Phils,

    thanks for the video. I happen to be a Dempsey freak, so I will say, unequivocally, that Demspey is not a good example of the boxing gentleman. Outside of the ring, Dempsey was one of the nicest men you could hope to meet and one of the most beloved athletes in American history. Between the ropes, however, he was a savage terror whose take no prisoners style single-handedly revived boxing in the US. His two-fisted whirlwind attack was honed in lawless mining camps and in barrooms, where he basically fought to survive. He could never get rid of that killer instinct and brought it into the ring with him at all times. Also, we should note that Dempsey was getting beaten badly that night when he saw the opening. As for Sharkey, he was one of those Black Cloud fighters, exceptionally talented but so mercurial that he never reached his potential.

    I would say fighters were much more sportsmanlike years ago, but there was a certain “wildcat” type–Ketchel, Dempsey, Wolgast, Hudkins–that was full-throttle all the time inside the ring. What happened with Mayweather-Ortiz would have happened all the time in the old days…the difference, I think, is in the attitudes and public personas of the fighters today.

  • PhilS

    @thenonpareil Thank you Carlos. I suspected this much, but just don’t have the history in my head. I totally agree on the difference between today and yesteryear. Thank you

  • PhilS

    @thenonpareil Thank you Carlos. I suspected this much, but just don’t have the history in my head. I totally agree on the difference between today and yesteryear. Thank you

  • thenonpareil

    @Tim From Iowa

    Hi Tim,

    the real trick is to find a picture of Crotez in action when he DOES NOT look batshit insane!

  • thenonpareil

    @Tim From Iowa

    Hi Tim,

    the real trick is to find a picture of Crotez in action when he DOES NOT look batshit insane!

  • thenonpareil

    @elstriko27

    Hi elstriko,

    My apologies, but your last comment got lost somewhere in the vast cyber-netherworlds due to technical difficulties. Sorry about that, man, I don’t know where it disappeared to. To answer your question, I do not leave comments on other sites and I do not associate with many other blogs/websites. It’s a treacherous world out here in boxingland, so I decided a while ago to go all lone wolf, basically. As for the screen name, I’ve used it for over two years in boxing and for over five years in online poker (r.i.p.). It wouldn’t surprise me if someone swiped it, since I get my share of imitators out there. Hell, people even rip-off my Facebook page!

  • thenonpareil

    @elstriko27

    Hi elstriko,

    My apologies, but your last comment got lost somewhere in the vast cyber-netherworlds due to technical difficulties. Sorry about that, man, I don’t know where it disappeared to. To answer your question, I do not leave comments on other sites and I do not associate with many other blogs/websites. It’s a treacherous world out here in boxingland, so I decided a while ago to go all lone wolf, basically. As for the screen name, I’ve used it for over two years in boxing and for over five years in online poker (r.i.p.). It wouldn’t surprise me if someone swiped it, since I get my share of imitators out there. Hell, people even rip-off my Facebook page!

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