Floyd Mayweather: Champion or Villain?
By David A. Avila
Is Floyd Mayweather a villain for hitting and knocking out Victor Ortiz while he looked the other way?
Everyone has an opinion after witnessing what many call an extreme example of bad sportsmanship on the part of Mayweather who knowingly punched Ortiz while his hands were down last Saturday. Others say it was within the rules.
Ortiz was busy apologizing for intentionally head butting Mayweather on the mouth. He repeatedly hugged Mayweather who seemed to shrug it off and then proceed to wallop Ortiz with a left hook and right cross. Ortiz was looking at the referee who was looking somewhere off in space.
From prizefighters to regular boxing fans the sight of watching the undefeated and controversial Mayweather hitting Ortiz not once, but twice, has resulted in a maelstrom of discontent in the boxing world.
Brooklyn’s Paul Malignaggi, a former junior welterweight world champion, witnessed the Las Vegas title fight and was not surprised or abhorrent of Mayweather’s actions.
“I totally agree with Floyd. You cannot head butt a grown man intentionally all of those times and not expect him to get ticked off. Floyd reacted like any man would, he reacted angrily. I actually think he showed some self control because after that last head butt I would have flipped Victor over the top rope,” said Malignaggi, who fights at the Staples Center on Oct. 15 against Mexico’s Orlando Lora. “The rule is: protect yourself at all times. In a way I feel for Vic, but when I think about it, he also got what he deserved. If you fight like a punk you will be dealt like a punk, especially when in with a veteran like Floyd Mayweather.”
Keith Kizer, the executive director for the Nevada State Athletic Commission, was walking back from the parking lot when we ran into each other after the fight.
“It was sad to see it end like that but there was nothing wrong according to the rules,” said Kizer who’s dealt with controversies for many years as the head of the Commission.
“Once the referee says to fight, then you have to protect yourself.”
Riverside’s lone world champion thought it was a sucker punch.
“Yes it is true, protect yourself at all times. But who wants to witness a cheap shot victory?” said Kaliesha “Wild, Wild” West, the WBO bantamweight champ. “I would have preferred to see a fair-and-square victory. At the same time, I think Vic learned his lesson about being ‘too nice’ in that ring, especially after popping cheap shots. At the end of the night, they both made boxing look bad.”
One boxing fan blames the entire debacle on referee Joe Cortez.
“What a travesty. That just wasn’t right,” said boxing fan Alfredo Esparza, who lives in the Pomona area. “Worst was the referee Joe Cortez. In every fight he referees something bad happens. He was looking at something else instead of the fight. Why does he always get the big fights? There must be a reason.”
Boxing trainer Henry Ramirez, whose charge Josesito Lopez fought and lost by split decision on the same card, said it was one of those things that happens from time to time.
“Honestly, there was nothing wrong with it,” Ramirez said. “The first thing they tell you in the dressing room is to protect yourself at all times.”
Years ago former world champion Israel Vazquez was in the same predicament against Oscar Larios. As Vazquez turned to complain to the referee about an infraction, he was belted by Larios and knocked out cold. In their next fight Vazquez gained revenge by knocking out Larios cold to win the world title.
Maybe the best thing would be a rematch.
Crowded Friday night
It’s a very congested fight week with several local boxing cards taking place on the same night including lightweight contenders Vicente Escobedo and Rocky Juarez leading the charge in Indio on Sept. 23 at Fantasy Springs Casino.
Nearby, in Ontario, young Jonathan Arellano a quick punching junior featherweight from Ontario, tangles with Northern California’s Michael Ruiz Jr. in a battle between undefeated 122-pounders.Also on the Doubletree Hotel fight card will be Venezuela’s Jhon Ortega fighting Riverside’s Alex Viramontes and Sindy Amador matched with Mayela Perez in a female junior flyweight battle.
In Commerce, a boxing card features Tony Hirsch and Said Harrak will be the main event. Both boxing and MMA will be sprinkled liberally on the large fight card at the Commerce Casino.
Fights on television
Fri. Showtime, 11 p.m. Lorenz Larkin (11-0) vs. Nick Rossborough (18-13).
Fri. Telefutura, 11:30 p.m., Vicente Escobedo (23-3) vs. Rocky Juarez (28-8-1).
Sat. Fox, 6 p.m., Jorge Arce (57-6-2) vs. Simphiwe Nongqayi (16-1-1).
Sat. pay-per-view, 6 p.m., Jon Jones (13-1) vs. Quinton Jackson (32-8); Matt Hughes vs. Josh Koscheck; Nate Diaz vs. Takanori Gomi.