RingTV.com: What was your recollection of how the final sequence played out?
JC: Well, as a fighter, I would not have done that because I was a fighter and I fought 18 or 19 times as a professional and 45 times as an amateur. It’s something that most fighters probably wouldn’t do.
But Mayweather saw an opportunity to do it because of what had just happened seconds before as a result of being Ortiz headbutted him and whatnot.
I slapped my hands together and I said, “Let’s go.” The guy [Ortiz] lowered his guard, and, Larry Merchant said it best — “it was a legal sucker punch.”
Ortiz was blocking my view, so I couldn’t see the timekeeper, so when I put my hands together and said, “Let’s go,” I looked — because I couldn’t see the timekeeper.
I thought that maybe there were about 10 seconds to go, and I wanted to make sure that the timekeeper didn’t hold the clock on me. So I wanted to make sure that the clock was running because 10 seconds can be crucial.
I looked at the timekeeper, but that really had nothing to do with the result, because Ortiz was going to get clocked anyway. It was legal. Whether I was looking or not looking, Ortiz was going to get clocked anyway.
RingTV.com: How do you mean?
JC: Well, he was hugging him and kissing him. It’s not a hugging and a kissing match. He put his guard down and that’s what got him into trouble.
It’s a shame for boxing, because the fans didn’t want to see that, and Ortiz was the sentimental favorite and the fans loved him. I felt so bad for him because it didn’t have to end this way.
I had already made the decision that I was going to retire after that fight, the Mayweather-Ortiz fight. But the way that it ended, you know, I couldn’t go out like that.
But Ortiz is a young fighter and he made a mistake, and all of us, we make mistakes and we can learn from them. Had I known that this was going to happen, I would have started them back in a different way.
I would have definitely kept them apart, but under the circumstances, I just waved them in like I always do.
RingTV.com: Your thoughts on Ortiz’s actions?
JC:Well, my first thought was, “How can Ortiz drop his guard like that?” That’s why I tell the boxers to keep their guard up and to protect yourself at all times. Don’t drop your guard.
That’s why Merchant called it a legal sucker punch, because that’s what it was. It was legal, but it’s like if I tell you, “hey listen, your shoe is untied,” and you look down and I clock you, then it was legal.
Shame on you for looking down.
RingTV.com: Was this your first fight back since then tonight?
JC: Yes, tonight was my first fight back. I pulled out of a couple of fights because my mother died and my father-in-law passed away all in the past couple of weeks. So I pulled out of a couple of fights.
It was my mother first. As a matter of fact, on the night of Mayweather-Ortiz, I got home and found out that my mother had died. Then a week later my father died.
RingTV.com: Did you lose any sleep over the ending?
JC: No, I didn’t lose any sleep over it. Absolutely not. I lost sleep when my mother died, but not over that fight. My commission backed me 100 percent.
I took the point, I brought them together, I said time in, and Ortiz lowered his guard, and he got clocked.
RingTV.com: As a referee, would you benefit from relying more on technology such as instant replay?
JC: I think that instant replay is something that is good. I don’t want to see a fighter or any athlete for that matter be deprived of a championship or winning a game or whatever because of an error by a human being.
We’re human, and I always say that the reason that they put erasers on pencils is that we makes mistakes, let’s face it. We can make a mistake.
And I don’t think that it’s fair that a fighter would lose a title because of something that a referee didn’t see. I think that instant replay is something that would be very good for boxing.
RingTV.com: When would instant replay be appropriate?
JC: If a fight has to be stopped at that particular moment, I think that we could say, “you know, before we make the call, why don’t we look at it.”
Look at football now, if they’re not sure, the game is not over. But they could stop right there and say, “Let’s look at the instant replay.”
You not going to call a replay every time that a foul is committed, but only if a fight has to be stopped, like we have it here in Nevada.
But we have it only if a fight has to be stopped on a cut. Only on a cut if the cut was produced on a foul. These are things that we have to talk about in the future for the betterment of the sport.
We need to see if we can do something if a fight has to be stopped for whatever reason, let’s go to the instant replay. I advocate that and I’m not trying to tell the commission what to do.
We have great commissioners. But it’s something that should be brought up and be discussed. It should be discussed like we do it with our officials when we have our seminars.
I think we should sit down with the governing bodies because one governing body may disagree with that.
Photo by Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com