The five-time Trainer of the Year told RingTV.com on Sunday that he believes Victor Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KOs) had it coming when his repeated attempts to apologize for headbutting Mayweather (42-0, 26 KOs) left him open for a fourth-round knockout punch, thus losing his WBC welterweight title on Sept. 17.
“I’ve always said that Victor Ortiz is one of the nicest guys in the world,” said Roach, “and that maybe he’s too nice to be a boxer. But it finally caught up with him.”
With referee Joe Cortez nearby, Ortiz failed to protect himself when Mayweather nailed him first with a jarring left hook and then a powerful, straight right hand that sent Ortiz sprawling to his back.
Ortiz rolled over and tried to get up, but did not rise in time to beat Cortez’s 10-count.
“The thing is, you blame the referee for not saying to box, and you claim that it looked like he was talking to an official outside of the ring,” said Roach.
“You say that until the referee says box, then you’re not really supposed to box. But, I mean, you are told that you should protect yourself at all times.”
At the time of the finishing blow, Ortiz’s hands were down at his sides after attempting to apologize — in the form of a hug — to Mayweather for a headbutt.
“You know that there are a lot of different ways that you can look at this situation. But if the guy is going to apologize for the third time, I probably would hit him too,” said Roach.
“This is a boxing match. It’s not chess. Was it a little bit of a sucker shot? Yes. But Victor put himself in that position.”
Ortiz and his camp felt that he was unjustly beaten.
Roach disagrees, claiming not only that Ortiz’s frustration got the best of him against Mayweather, but that Ortiz never should have apologized.
“Mayweather was coming on in the third round, and he was having a good fourth round. So Victor had to switch the momentum. So he head-butted him. I thought that Victor had a great idea by using the head butt. It was a great idea,” said Roach.
“I think that it was planned to take Mayweather out of his game, but Ortiz wound up regretting it and apologizing. Because of his nature, Ortiz just couldn’t have it. Like I said, I thought that it was the best move in the world, because he was getting Mayweather excited and out of his gameplan. If I was Ortiz, I would have done it again.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org