Victor Ortiz relearned one of the first rules of boxing - protect yourself at all times - the hard way, dropping his guard and then getting knocked out by Floyd Mayweather Jr. at 2:59 of the fourth round last night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
With the victory, Mayweather regained the WBC welterweight championship and maintained his unblemished ring record at 42-0 with 26 KOs.
The end came after a bizarre series of events that began when Ortiz was charged with a foul for deliberately head-butting Mayweather after landing a barrage of punches in the corner. Referee Joe Cortez deducted a point from Ortiz for the foul, and Ortiz came over to Mayweather and embraced him to offer an apology.
When the two fighters were brought back to the center of the ring, Mayweather embraced Ortiz, then stepped back and landed a quick left and right combination that sent Ortiz falling to the canvas. Cortez seemed to be distracted by something outside the ring, but he seemed to have cleared the boxers to resume the action.
"Time was in," Cortez said. "The fighter (Ortiz) needed to keep his guard up. Mayweather did nothing illegal."
Said Mayweather: "In the ring you have to protect yourself at all times. After it happened, we touched gloves and we were back to fighting and then I threw the left hook and right hand after the break. He did something dirty. His corner said I was dirty when I won the fight."
The crowd turned on Mayweather almost immediately and was booing him. And Mayweather got into a profanity-laced shouting match with HBO boxing commentator Larry Merchant during the in-ring interview.
"I'm going to do you a favor and let you talk to Victor Ortiz," said Mayweather, 34. "You never give me a fair shake. HBO need to fire you. You don't know s--- about boxing. You ain't s---! You're not s---!"
To which the 80-year-old Merchant replied: "I wish I was 50 years younger and I'd kick your ass."
While it might not have been the best way for the fight to end, it wasn't a foul by Mayweather. It also highlighted the inexperience of the 24-year-old Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KOs), who was lured in by Mayweather's embrace and wasn't aware that he should have kept his guard up.
"I took the break by the ref and I obeyed exactly as I was told and then boom! He blind-sided me," Ortiz said. "I'm not a dirty fighter and I apologized for the head butt. There was a miscommunication with the ref and neither he or I and nobody is perfect. This is a learning experience."
Ortiz's southpaw stance provided Mayweather with an easy and inviting target to land right hands. From the first round on, Mayweather peppered Ortiz with a variety of right-hand shots - straight rights, right crosses, all on the mark. But the fight never got a chance to settle into a proper contest before the strange but jarring ending.
After making the welterweight limit of 147 pounds at the weigh-in on Friday, Ortiz had bulked up to 164 pounds by fight time. That was well more than Mayweather's walking-around weight, which he said is around 150 pounds. Mayweather was still a heavy favorite at 5-1.
The buildup to the fight had been marked by Ortiz dismissing Mayweather's record and his past accomplishments. Also, Daniel Garcia, Ortiz's trainer, accused Mayweather of being a dirty fighter because he said Mayweather uses his elbows and turns his back. Mayweather countered by saying that boxing is a dirty business. Before the fight, Garcia was shown on the video screens in the arena telling Cortez to watch for fouls with the elbow.
Heading into the fight, Mayweather and Ortiz had boasted that it wouldn't go the distance and they both vowed that they would fight going straight ahead. Mayweather hadn't had a KO since he stopped Ricky Hatton in the 10th round in 2009.
HBO had a split broadcast for the Pay-Per-View audience, with Saul Alvarez defending his WBC super welterweight title against Alfonso Gomez from Los Angeles. The four TV screens above the ring were lowered so that fans at the MGM Grand could watch that fight before Mayweather and Ortiz faced off.
Alvarez beat Gomez on a TKO at 2:36 of the sixth round after referee Wayne Hedgepeth stepped in to stop it following a flurry of unanswered punches by Alvarez.
HISTORY FOR MORALES
On the undercard, Erik Morales (52-7, 36 KOs) stopped Pablo Cesar Cano (22-1-1, 17 KOs) on a 10th-round TKO to pick up the WBC super lightweight title, and became the first Mexican boxer to hold world titles in four weight classes. Cano's face was a bloody mess when the doctor advised referee Kenny Bayless to stop the fight after the 10th round... Junior welterweight Jesse Vargas (17-0, 9 KOs) scored a 10-round split decision over .Josesito .Lopez (29-4, 17 KOs). Lopez appeared to beat Vargas from ring post to ring post, but Vargas, who had a point deducted for a low blow, did enough to win the bout on two of the three judges' scorecards.
THAT NI**A TRIED TO HEAD BUTT FLOYD & CUT HIS PRETTY FACE & FLOYD WAS LIKE F**K THIS SH!T! I'M KNOCKING THAT NI**A OUT! LOL!