Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mayweather's "cheap shot" not so cheap

I've wanted to update for the last few days, but thanks to an annoying habit of getting sick every time the weather changes, I just haven't felt up to it. Now that I'm back to full strength, posts should be back to a regular basis.

Saturday night I sat down and watched the Floyd Mayweather / Victor Ortiz fight, which has to be one of the strangest, yet most entertaining, sports-related things I've seen in recent memory.
For those of you who aren't aware, many people are calling it one of the most bizarre ends to a title fight, ever. Midway through the fourth round - after "Money" Mayweather had maintained control through most of the fight - Ortiz began battling back and had Mayweather reeling in the corner. In a midst of his punch combinations, Ortiz dropped boxing etiquette and went for a headbutt, busting open Mayweather's lip. Everything stopped for a moment as referee Joe Cortez broke the two apart, warned Ortiz with a point deduction and then made the two tap gloves. 
Floyd "Money" Mayweather drops Victor Ortiz with
a 1-2 combo punch for the win after a headbutt
from Ortiz prompted a brief stop in the match.
Source: AP
That's when things got weird.
Ortiz went to apologize, even going as far as to plant a kiss on Mayweather's cheek. Although Cortez wasn't looking directly at the two fighters, the fight was still on. Mayweather was ready to keep fighting while Ortiz kept his hands to his side. Spotting the opportunity, he decked Ortiz with a left and then a right, and that was that. The ref counted to 10, and Mayweather's record improved to 42-0. 
Some people argued that it was a cheap shot, that Mayweather took advantage of Ortiz, that he should have shown more class by waiting until his opponent was ready, etc. After everything was said and done, it was a legal shot, and I say that's enough. 
What was Mayweather supposed to do, stand back and let the guy who just headbutted him get ready? The referee initiated the restart, and Ortiz kept his hands down. I may not know much about boxing, but I do know that protecting yourself is a big part of it. Granted, the avid boxing fan is probably upset about the whole thing.

Floyd "Money" Mayweather stands in the ring after
knocking Victor Ortiz to the mat with what some
people are calling a "cheap shot."
Source: AP
But if Ortiz is going to ignite the situation with a headbutt, he'd better be ready when the fight goes on. 
Perhaps I'm biased in this, because I was pulling for Mayweather when the fight began. Like I said, I'm not a hardcore boxing fan by any means, but the guy entertains me. His tirades, his attitude, his flashiness - he backs all of it up once he steps in the ring, and that's all that really matters in boxing. That's why I like him. Michael Jordan was the same way, and look at how people adore him. 
And despite all of the knocks against his ego, Mayweather is ultimately good for the sport of boxing. Even if people are buying pay-per-views and tuning in to root against him, they're still watching. I don't think the average person has cared as much about boxing since the days of Mike Tyson, much for the same reasons.
The post-match interview with HBO's Larry Merchant didn't do much to help Mayweather's reputation, either. Within moments, the welterweight champ ranted and raved about how the 80-year-old Merchant never gave him a "fair shake" and how HBO should fire him. How did Merchant respond? "If I were 50 years younger, I'd kick your ass!" 
That's great TV.
After the match, Floyd "Money" Mayweather tells
80-year-old Larry Merchant that he never gets
"a fair shake" and refuses the interview.
Source: AP
Again, I'm no boxing fan, so I can't say that he's disrespectful to the sport or that he's desecrating the history of it all, because I truly don't know. But as someone who sat down to watch a pay-per-view, it was all worth it. It was entertaining, thrilling, controversial - all things that will have me coming back for more. So thanks to Mayweather's ego, the absurdity of rapper 50 Cent carrying his titles to the ring for him, the "cheap shot," and the rant afterwards, I will probably keep up with boxing now more than ever. Those may not be the best reasons to start following a sport closely, but it's true. 

On a side note, I truly hope Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao come to an agreement about facing one another. Pacquiao is scheduled to fight Juan Manuel Marquez next month, but no matches have been announced by either he or Mayweather after that. They're the two most popular boxers right now, and they're both in the same weight class, which is unprecedented. Hopefully it gets squared away and the boxing world gets to see what it wants. 

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