Floyd Mayweather Jr. was putting on a masterful performance on Saturday night against Victor Ortiz. Mayweather, the smaller and older fighter was picking apart Ortiz through three rounds when “Vicious” lost his head and then everything changed. Ortiz head-butted “Money” and it caused him to lose a point in the fight. After the point was deducted from Ortiz, the two fighters touched gloves, the referee Joe Cortez apparently called time in, and Mayweather put Ortiz to sleep while he wasn’t paying attention.
It might have been controversial and a frustrating ending, but fighters are taught from day one to protect themselves at all time. Cortez said it before the fight even started. You can say the shot from Mayweather was a cheap shot all you want to, but it was legal. Ortiz needs to look in the mirror and blame himself. After he had kissed Mayweather on the cheek and after he had touched gloves he was trying to apologize to Mayweather over and over again like he was sitting in a confessional. While he was doing that repeatedly, Mayweather was ready to fight. Victor Ortiz forgot the number one rule in boxing and showed his inexperience after getting worked for three rounds. He got knocked out with a legal shot because of it.
Seemingly all the videos of the knockout have been removed from YouTube. Mayweather also got into a verbal sparring match with 80 year-old boxing announcer Larry Merchant. (We’ve found one place with video of that…click here)
Joe Cortez joined Fox Sports Radio with JT the Brick to talk about what happened from his perspective in the Mayweather-Ortiz fight, if he regrets not separating the two fighters from each other after the point was taken away from Ortiz, whether or not he has ever seen a fighter lose his head the way Ortiz did, and the reaction he has gotten from the fans since the fight ended.
What happened from his perspective in the Mayweather-Ortiz fight:
“One of the things I do when I get into the ring and I give them the instructions, I tell them guys I want a good, clean fight, obey my commands at all times, protect yourselves at all times, and remember guys I’m fair but I’m firm. The fight takes place, Mayweather was tagging Ortiz and tagging him. (Host: Ok Joe, pick it up from there when you told the fighters the fight was back on.) I told them the fight was back on and I put my hands in the middle and said come on let’s go. Then I looked at the timekeeper and being the captain of the ship I made sure that my timekeeper had his clock running. I was surprised he would put his hands out again to say I’m sorry. He did that the first time around. He even kissed Mayweather on the cheek. In boxing that’s why you always hear the phrase keep your guards up at all times. Why did he lower his guard when I already said time is in. He made the mistake. It was a mistake he made by lowering his guard and tried to apologize the second time. Mayweather said ‘the referee said time is in. We’re not going to be embracing again. We did that already the first time’ so he hit him with a left and he hit him with a right and down goes Ortiz.”
If he thinks he should’ve sent the fighter to their corners following the head butt:
“Mayweather was in the corner when I took the point and then I went to Ortiz and I told Ortiz ‘why do you have to do this? There’s no reason for none of this.’ Then I brought them together. Mayweather came out of his corner, Ortiz wasn’t too far off of his corner, the other corner, so I brought them together. I said alright time in.”
If he has ever seen a fighter lose his cool and his head the way Ortiz did:
“He dug himself into a hole. They were the ones that were talking about ‘watch out for Mayweather, he comes in with an elbow, he has sharp elbows,’ so I said okay kid no problem. That didn’t happen last night. I guess he got frustrated after he felt like he was getting hit with so many right hands. I guess he lost his cool. He had Mayweather up against the ropes ready for the kill and he goes in with the head butt. I go ‘wow why did he do that?’ Then after you sit back and look at the whole picture and say I’ve seen this before with fighters taking punishment and then when they feel they have a disadvantaged or are getting outclassed, they start going low, they start doing other things unsportsmanlike. As a referee I follow the rules to the ‘t.’ My commissioner last night and you didn’t hear one of the commentators say anything about Joe Cortez. Everything was about why did Ortiz lower his guard? I called time in. Time was in. Why would he lower his guard again to apologize was to my surprise. That’s where inexperience fell in and Mayweather took advantage with his experience. He said ‘this is an opening for me. Nobody told him to put his hands down’ and he capitalized on it as a fighter.”
On the fans being upset:
“You guys as sports commentators and sports historians, you guys know the sport and knows what is applied when it comes to boxing. I am unfortunately at a disadvantage when it comes to the fans because they don’t know the rules and I have to try and explain myself. I can educate your fans that are listening. I have to follow the rules according to the unified rules of USA Boxing. We have unified rules and everybody complies to them especially in a championship fight. I just hope the fans listen That’s why I have a website to try to educate the fans in reference to the duties of a referee.”
Listen to Joe Cortez on Fox Sports Radio here (Audio begins 13:45 into the podcast)