Lem Satterfield

Q&A with Hopkins on Mayweather-Ortiz

RING and WBC lightheavyweight beltholder Bernard Hopkins sanctioned the actions of unbeaten, five-division titlewinner Floyd Mayweather Jr., which resulted in Saturday night’s controversial fourth-round knockout that dethroned Victor Ortiz as WBC welterweight titleholder at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The 46-year-old Hopkins (52-5-2, 32 KOs) is the holder of a record 20 title defenses as undisputed middleweight champion, defeated Jean Pascal (26-2-1, 16 KOs) to become the eldest man to win a major title belt, and has a defense of his belt against Chad Dawson (30-1, 17 KOs) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles that will be televised on HBO Pay Per View on Oct. 15.

In victory, the 34-year-old Mayweather earned his seventh belt and improved to 42-0 with his 26th knockout, dropping the 24-year-old Ortiz to 29-3-2, 22 KOs.

Moments before being stopped, Ortiz had been penalized by referee Joe Cortez for a blatant and intentional headbutt against Mayweather.

When Ortiz went to embrace Mayweather and apologize for a third time for the infraction, Mayweather briefly obliged.

But in the next split-instant, Mayweather, appearing to recognize that Cortez was not paying full attention, nailed Ortiz with a left, and then a finishing right that knocked the younger fighter on his back. Ortiz rolled to his hands and knees but failed to beat Cortez’s 10-count, resulting in the stoppage.

Boxing observers vary on their opinions regarding whether or not Mayweather acted ethically, but in this Q&A, Hopkins said that he would have done the same thing were he in Mayweather’s position.

RingTV.com: What is your take on how the fight ended between Floyd Mayweather and Victor Ortiz?

Bernard Hopkins: Well, first of all, I can give you my opinion on this and use some humor with it that I believe that people who read this, and definitely, yourself, you will understand.

So go with this quote from me: Boxing is like dealing with a ho. You’ve got to protect yourself at all times. If you don’t protect yourself at all times, then the repercussions can and most likely will be fierce.

So Floyd Mayweather, you know, I believe that he was just getting into his rhythm and was about to make it a whole lot worse for Victor Ortiz.

Victor Ortiz, I believe was frustrated and understood what was happening, and understood what was going to happen in the fight continued the way it was going. And that headbutt was a result of frustration and his inexperience.

RingTV.com: How do you mean?

BH: I think that Victor Ortiz was representing himself under the circumstances the best way that he could, but he saw the scenario developing where it was similar to Jean Pascal.

You saw spots and pockets where one guy was the teacher, and the other guy was the student. And Victor’s frustration resulted in him doing what he did.

So Floyd ended up doing what he needed to do in striking at a time when you’re in a fight. You can’t lose focus and take your eyes off of the fight. You have to be aware of everything — legal or illegal — that’s going on.

The winners in this game are based on who knows the rules in the game of boxing and who knows what you can and can’t do. And that often comes down to experience.

RingTV.com: So you believe that Ortiz’s inexperience and Mayweather’s experience met at the same moment?

BH: Well, to me, when I go back and look at the fight, Ortiz recognized, after getting a point taken away by [referee] Joe Cortez, that he did something that he knew was wrong.

But by him being over-apologetic, and trying to emphasize that he was so sorry, that made him vulnerable in a fight that was huge. Floyd Mayweather simply took the opportunity that was presented to him.

RingTV.com: Do you see that as being bad sportsmanship or a cheap shot?

BH: Well, Floyd did what I would have done. You know, we can call it a sucker punch, yes. But it was a legal sucker punch.

The reason that you can call it a sucker punch is because I didn’t give you a chance to load your gun up?

RingTV.com: Can you elaborate on that?

BH: Well, because I didn’t give you a chance to load your gun up so that you can take a shot at me, then I’m getting you first.

While you had your head down while you’re reloading the bullets in your gun, I was pointing at you with my gun loaded. You think I’m going to wait for you to reload you gun?

Are you kidding me? So Mayweather did what I would have done under the circumstances.

RingTV.com: So your rationale is to finish what you started?

BH: well, if you draw first blood, and you recognize that you did something that you shouldn’t have done, whatever that was, you might acknowledge it. But then, the fight’s back on.

But Ortiz, he took his mind and his eyes and his concentration off the war. It’s not time to talk, it’s not time to hug, it’s not time to kiss. When you’re at war, it’s time to fight. You can do that other stuff after the fight.

RingTV.com: So that initial quote about the prostitute, are you okay with me referencing that?

BH: Are you kidding me? Come on man.

RingTV.com: So that was a dumb question, right?

BH: Well, let me say it again so you get it the right way again. You know that I don’t have no problem with it. In boxing, it’s like being in the ho business.

You have to protect yourself at all times when you’re dealing with a ho or it could have serious repercussions. Like boxing, you’re in the ring, you have to protect yourself at all times. You can have a little fun with it.

But anybody that has humor can understand that you must protect yourself at all times because you have to understand the world that you’re in and not go into it unprotected.

So you have to have plenty of those sandwich bags to tie up something, if you know what I mean.

Lem Satterfield can be reached at lem.satterfield@gmail.com

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