RingTV.com caught up with Golden Boy Promotions President Oscar De La Hoya for his thoughts on the controversial finish to Saturday night’s WBC welterweight title bout between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Victor Ortiz.
After being head-butted for the third time in the fourth round by the 24-year-old Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KOs), the 34-year-old Mayweather (42-0, 26 KOs) saw an opening and took advantage of it.
Having been penalized by referee Joe Cortez for his intentional infraction, Ortiz attempted reach out to apologize to Mayweather with a hug.
An instant after their embrace, Ortiz dropped his hands and Mayweather nailed him first with a jarring left hook, and then with a straight right hand — the latter dropping the younger fighter to his back.
Ortiz rolled over and struggled to rise, but failed to beat the 10-count of Cortez.
Cortez has contended that he restarted the fighters, and that Mayweather’s punch was legal against Ortiz, who had dethroned current IBF beltholder Andre Berto (28-1, 22 KOs) by unanimous decision for the WBC crown in April.
Below are De La Hoya’s comments about the fight.
Oscar De La Hoya on his general thoughts about the fight:
“First of all, I have to say that both Victor Ortiz and Floyd Mayweather looked good. No doubt about that. Ortiz’s foul of headbutting Floyd was uncalled for and there is no excuse for it. If I was the ref, I would have deducted two points.
“But what Mayweather did was bad sportsmanship. The referee, Joe Cortez, I don’t know what was going through his head. He fell asleep during the fight.”
On his belief that Joe Cortez did not say “Time in” and properly re-start the action:
“I’ve watched the fight maybe 10 times already, and Cortez does not say ‘Time in.’ That’s the bottom line. Was it fair to Mayweather to go ahead and punch Victor? I don’t know. I didn’t hear him say ‘Time in.’
“But, it was bad sportsmanship. You don’t do that. You don’t win a fight like that. How are you feeling right now thinking that you won a fight like that?”
On the notion that Mayweather believes he was right to throw the ruled “Legal” punches:
“In boxing, it’s protect yourself at all times. But my argument is that it just looks bad on the sport. Speaking as a promoter, it just looks bad on the sport. Bad sportsmanship should not happen in any sport.”
On the notion of a rematch with Mayweather:
“What I am going to pursue is what’s right for Victor. He’s a young guy. A young lion should not go out like that. A young lion like Victor should have another opportunity, because it was only the fourth round.”
“In the fourth round, you’re barely warming up. You’re 24 years old. I’m going to fight for a rematch for Victor. He’s going to be world champion once again, that’s my feeling.”
On the potential for a rematch with Berto:
“I’m going to obviously fight for Victor wants, whether he wants to rematch with Floyd or whether he wants to win another world title. That’s going to be up to him, and I’m going to stand behind him 100 percent.
“I’m going to obviously talk to Victor after things cool down, but he’s going to want a rematch with Mayweather, and that’s the bottom line. It’s not fair to go out like that.”
On Mayweather’s strategy:
“First of all, Mayweather looked great. He didn’t lose a step. He was landing one punch at a time on Victor. Obviously, we all knew that punch was the right hand.
“But in the fourth round, you’re barely warming up, and you’re 24 years old. There’s arguments left and right that people can make about this and that, so we’ll never know.”
On Ortiz’s role in his own demise:
“I blame Victor for it as well, because Victor wanted a street fight when he headbutted Floyd. And Mayweather made it a street fight and he ended it in the streets with that bad sportsmanship-like punch.
“In the heat of the battle, inside of the ring, it’s all on you. There’s no blaming anybody else or pointing the finger at anybody else. It’s all you.
“I can understand Victor Ortiz, heat of the moment, heat of the moment, he has Mayweather cornered, landing combinations. But then, he headbutted him.
“Uncalled for. Bad sportsmanship. Awful. You don’t do that. But he got penalized for it. He apologized for it.”
On Ortiz’s excessive apologies:
“One thing that I don’t agree with is that Victor Ortiz kept on apologizing. After the first time that you apologize, then it’s once again into the heat of battle.
“Once again into the taking his head off. That’s what that squared circle is all about. That’s just based on Victor being too nice. That’s all that it was based in.
“Victor wanted to apologize and he knew that he did wrong. He just apologized too much, and you don’t apologize over and over again when you’re up against Floyd Mayweather.
“Of course, you could see something bad coming because Mayweather wants to win. That’s all that he wants to do is win. So, of course, you could see that coming from a mile away.”
On how to rebuild Ortiz mentally:
“Well, I will definitely talk to Victor and explain to him that I’m behind him 100 percent. I will definitely explain to him that obviously I understand where he’s coming from, who he is on the inside.
“I understand that he’s a nice guy and he can forgive anything and anybody. I understand all of that, and that’s wonderful. I love that about him because he’s very special. You don’t get too many people in life like that
“He’s genuinely a nice young man, and I appreciate and respect that in him. It’s not about handling the big stage for Victor. I thought that he handled it well. He just didn’t handle that moment and that situation the right way.
“Obviously, Victor will be back, no doubt about it. He’s all about coming back. It’s just got to be a different Victor. He’s got learn from his mistakes.Victor is a smart young man, and a guy who knows where he wants to be.
“He wants to be a world champion, and I’m sure that he will be a world champion. But when you’re inside that squared circle, it’s war. It’s war! That’s all that it is.
“It’s you take their head off before they can take your head off first. Because nice guys can finish last. In the ring, that’s what history shows.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org