Monday, September 19, 2011

That's My Bone


Victor Ortiz is a punk and, as such, got punked.

I’m not going to spend too much time talking about the ending of the fight. Public opinion seems to have converged on the feeling that while what Floyd did was not exactly sportsmanlike, it was entirely legal.

Here’s my recap:

  1. Ortiz gets badly outclassed the first four rounds.
  2. Ortiz tries to use his head on Floyd several times in the second and fourth rounds.
  3. After a fourth round in which he takes a bad beating, Ortiz – frustrated and outclassed – launches forward in one of the most egregious fouls I’ve ever seen. (absolutely could have broken Floyd’s jaw, concussed him) It should have been a two point deduction.
  4. Ortiz, overly conscious of his nice guy image, tries to make up with Floyd. Entirely disingenuous and performative.
  5. The referee resumes the fight.
  6. Ortiz again tries to hug Floyd, whose face shows his anger.
  7. Floyd, engages in the gesture of reconciliation, then takes the knowing cheap shot with the left hand.
  8. Ortiz takes the left, and then – who knows why – stares at Joe Cortez.
  9. Mayweather, whose original intent was merely to give Ortiz a well-deserved cheap shot, takes advantage of Ortiz’ idiocy.

The thing the Floyd haters are overlooking here, I think, is Floyd’s intent, versus the actual result. I don’t believe Floyd thought he was engaging in a fight ending maneuver. Against Shane Mosley or Juan Manuel Marquez, the opponents would have taken the left and then defended themselves. Even if they hadn’t defended themselves, they would have been hurt but survived.

Ortiz, a mediocre fighter, just crumbled. The apologies and pity afterward reminded me of Kermit Cintron’s notable antics. Ortiz seems like he has a bit of Cintron in him. I have very little interest in seeing him on a big stage until I see something new out of him. Quality.


* * *********************************************

Alright, with that out of the way, down to what really matters.

Floyd looked terrific.

Here’s what I liked:

* True, he was fighting an outclassed opponent, but Floyd dominated all four rounds. He would have been up five points on the judges' cards after the fourth, (including the point deduction) and had been landing bombs in the third and fourth rounds. I believe he would have knocked Ortiz out, (or inspired Ortiz to bitch out in some other manner) by the sixth or seventh round. I’ve read some people arguing that the fight was somewhat competitive. Look at the PunchStats; it wasn’t. Yeah the numbers don’t mean everything, but when you’re landing both more and better punches they do.

* Floyd’s accuracy was phenomenal. The lead right was beautiful to watch. It’s really outstanding now, better than ever. He throws it more like Hopkins does, just shooting it out as he comes in. Unlike Hopkins, Floyd’s handspeed is still outrageous. The punch is virtually unstoppable.


* For the first time in years Floyd really let his combination punching fly at the beginning of the fourth round. He only did it once, but it was beautiful to watch. Is he capable of doing it more than once in a fight? I don’t know, but we know he can still let his hands go when facing an outmatched opponent.

* The defense was as good as ever. Floyd got caught a couple times, but even on those he was moving with the punch. When he was up against the ropes Mayweather didn’t get hit cleanly at all. Just outstanding work, it’s the reason Ortiz resorted to fouling.

* Floyd is the master. I just love how he owns the ring. Mayweather has been in so many big fights it just seems like he belongs in there. Floyd hadn’t fought in 16 months, but he looked like he had never left. He is living portrait of control and mastery.

* Floyd was a fighter. All too often Floyd, by his own admission, simply fights for the money, plays the percentages. Here, though, there was a touch of evil to him. You’re gonna do that to me? I’ll pay you back, with interest. I love it. I even loved how he screamed at Merchant after the fight was over.

Hey, I like Larry, but the guy is a hater! Stand up for yourself, Floyd! Show the critics you're the best. Stuff it down their self-satisfied throats and dance on their graves.

Floyd is normally a bloodless operator, content to score points. This time - and there for all to see - was the genuine bad man, the pain doctor. Floyd is a fighter, it’s in him. Show it to us again! And soon.

I’ve said it before, but I’d love to see Mayweather suffer a loss soon. It would be tremendously freeing for him not to have to defend that zero. Like Hopkins after Taylor ended his middleweight title streak or like Roy Jones after his loss to Tarver, I think you’d see a greater willingness to test himself.

* This should cause a bit of a reevaluation of Floyd’s recent opposition. People are quick to dismiss Marquez, Mosley, and De La Hoya as relics, but at least they were great fighters, at least they had quality. Talk all you want about “young guns,” but when you’re talking about guys like Ortiz you’re talking about guns without any bullets in the chamber. I’d rather see Manny and Floyd fight guys like Marquez than jobbers like Ortiz or a Devon Alexander. (saying that, though, I have to admit a Mayweather-Khan and Pacquiao- Bradley future wouldn’t be entirely uninteresting.)

What I didn’t like

* Ortiz just doesn’t belong in the ring with a top fighter. He doesn’t behave like a fighter, he behaves like a child. The only thing I found more disgusting than his egregious butting was his apologetic demeanor and smiling face after the fight. Be a man! Curse and scream and kick. It meant enough for you to cheat, act like it! Unfortunately, this is by far the best result he could have gotten, and he will receive residual sympathy and future good fights. What he deserved was a Gatti like whipping, and a seat at the back of the line.

* As such, it was a waste of time for Mayweather. This was the first truly wasteful fight either Floyd or Manny has fought since Pacquiao met Joshua Clottey. (and, as context, I think Clottey beats Ortiz) Floyd fights so rarely this seems to me a minor tragedy. I love seeing Floyd squash an outmatched foe, as long as I get to see him in two real fights a year.

* With Floyd’s lack of activity in mind, and again, noting that I don’t think Floyd intended the fight to end there, I sure do wish we would have seen the fight go on a bit. I would have loved to see Floyd go in for the exacting finish.

* Now here’s the big one: does Mayweather still have his legs left? Roach mentioned it a few fights ago, but Floyd doesn’t move with the same fluidity he used to. It certainly hasn’t hurt his performances, but can you imagine Floyd putting on the type of dancing master class he did against Chico Corrales?

I can’t, which is perfectly understandable; that was ten years ago. But what can he do? Floyd simply doesn’t move anymore. He’ll give you a little angle here or there, but most of the time he simply walks forward behind his Philly shell, or retreats backward behind it.

It’s the retreating that I’m interested, and slightly concerned with. He goes back in straight lines and snuggles against the ropes. I'd love to see him use his angles a bit when he's going in reverse. It's a dangerous game the way he's doing it.

Floyd doesn’t get hit often, not against a guy like Ortiz, but what if he were fighting someone with especially quick feet? Somebody with a terrific straight left hand? Someone who knows what to do when he gets an opponent against the ropes?

I’m speaking here of the little Pacman, of course. I still think Mayweather would be the favorite, but Manny’s path to victory has never been so clear in my mind’s eye. Every time an opponent gets Floyd against the ropes and flails the crowd goes wild; even when they don’t land punches. Can’t you see Pac doing that, and actually landing a couple? Couldn’t he sneak a few controversial rounds that way, even if Floyd is landing the better shots? I know, it’s not the most lovely or inspiring vision, but it’s one that has come to me over the last few years.

Like all of us, I just hope I get to see it – or any other imagined outcome - in waking life.


Anthony Wilson said...

"...does Mayweather still have his legs left?" To me, it's still impossible to say. There was no reason for him to move against Marquez, a lightweight; against Mosley he seemed to want to prove a point against a longtime nemesis; and that's he always stands his ground against/looks to walk down southpaws. But you alluded to the really important thing: it doesn't matter. He doesn't have to move. He's just as effective fighting the way he has recently.

Though you mentioned the moving back in straight lines thing, and I felt that way during the fight, too: I think he's always broken that rule, the pulling straight back, but it seems more dangerous now that he's more stationary.

As far as Pac goes, I agree, but I also see Floyd hitting him with that right hand almost as frequently as he did Ortiz. After Saturday night I can also more clearly than ever see Floyd's length troubling Manny. Floyd was fighting the "big man's fight" against the bigger man; he was sticking that jab out in front and timing the shorter-armed Ortiz on the way in with the right hand (or at least I think I remember him timing Ortiz coming in; he was definitely timing him with the right).

One other thing we saw was him tie Ortiz up a couple times; Floyd once said he would do this against Manny. Pac's no inside fighter, but if his chance is just to outwork Floyd, trump him with activity, that could hurt him.

jmag said...

My immediate reaction after the fight was anger. Floyd looked so good, you're right. So why is this man afraid to fight Pacquiao? This man shouldn't be afraid to fight anybody. I still like Pac in that fight, but I'm biased.

On the fight itself, I thought nobody covered themselves in glory. Ortiz was naive and cowardly, and a cheater to boot. He lost the mental game. Stout Cortez looked lost. And Floyd was legal, but dirty. I'm not a huge Arum fan, but he's right. Would Pac do that? No, Pac wouldn't. Because Pac is about honor and glory, and beating people, not just winning by any means necessary. Floyd is, without question, the most insecure great fighter we've had in some time. I don't think he had any chance to put Victor down the conventional way. I think Ortiz was walking through those vaunted straight rights, and I think he would have gone the distance. So Floyd saw an opening, and took it. It was dirty, it sucked for the fans, but Floyd NEEDS his 0 in a way that I don't think any of us can fully comprehend.

And finally, Larry Merchant was pretty awesome, I think. I loved seeing Jim Grey go at the ref in the Mares fight, and I liked seeing ol' Larry get feisty. Floyd will love it too, because Floyd sells drama more than fights now.

Anyway, it's a shame. It gave us drama, but I would have rather been excited by the possibility of Floyd knocking out the hapless Ortiz, or even, somehow, seeing Ortiz pull a Sunday punch from nowhere and get the W. This just left me with a foul taste.

Chris said...

The fight left me with mixed emotions. I want to see Mayweather fight so for one of those rare occasions I wanted the whole 12 rounds. I wanted to see him put the whole package on display. Having the fight end so abruptly was anti climatic in a way. Still I have to say I really enjoyed how it ended. My first reaction was WTF laughter. The fuck was Ortiz thinking? Anyone who has seen Mayweather fight knew what was about to happen. It is just mind boggling to me he could be that stupid. I loved it.

I suppose on minority on that one though. I can understand the venom to some degree. It wasn't "sporting" thats for sure. To me though that kind of lets shake hands and smile and give the whole gee shucks I do it for the kids routine is corny. Fine if thats who you are, but the general phoniness of it turns me off. This is boxing, its supposed to be nasty. You are supposed to hurt your opponent. You are supposed to want to knock the other guy out. If you are fighting some sucker who doesn't clue into the fact that a boxing match is a fight (within the context of a sports competition) than what are you supposed to do? Its true many boxers wouldn't take that opening. Pacquaio or Cotto off the top of my head I wouldn't imagine doing it. And nothing against them; they are stand up guys it would seem to a fault.

Which brings me to Merchant and what I don't particularly like about him. The guys speaks his mind and he doesn't mince a lot of words which is admirable. I can't say I am fan but I certainly respect him. Maybe its because what we are looking in sports is fundamentally different. I wanna see greatness I don't care if Mike Vick murdered some dogs (OK maybe I do - that shit is barbaric) or Ray Lewis may or may not have murdered someone. I want to see the best do what they do best. Sports isn't some grand morality play. Its an athlete contest with arbitrary rules. So when he is grilling Floyd about the sucker punch I can't kill him for asking the question. Its his job and he obviously found the whole thing distasteful. Still I find the whole thing a little uncomfortable its like if someone had pushed a microphone in front of Jordan after he beat the Jazz after pushing off Bryon Russel or whoever that was, and asking him if thinks that somehow undermined his victory. In his eyes sure its a subjective thing but it strikes me as unseemly. Especially given how he really soft pedaled Ortiz afterward. True he asked him about it but the whole vibe of the interview was a lot less abrasive. The dude committed a totally obvious and cowardly foul; and you are going to grill Floyd about a legal punch? Anyway I just hope we see Floyd in a ring soon. I at this point a don't care against who. Bradley, Pacqauio, Khan, etc. I just want to see more.