Sunday September 18th, 2011

LAS VEGAS -- Three quick thoughts on Floyd Mayweather's knockout win over Victor Ortiz on Saturday ...

1. Protect yourself at all times. The question people are going to be asking for weeks: Was Floyd Mayweather's savage 1-2 combination that put down Victor Ortiz legal? The answer: Yes. To recap, in the fourth round referee Joe Cortez had just deducted a point from Ortiz for a blatantly illegal head butt; Ortiz had basically used his body like a missile. After the deduction, Ortiz embraced Mayweather as an apology. After the hug -- and with Ortiz's guard still down -- Mayweather popped Ortiz with a devastating combination.

GRAHAM: Ortiz forgets first rule of boxing

This isn't figure skating; it's boxing: You have to protect yourself at all times. Ortiz showed his inexperience by not immediately putting his hands up. Cortez didn't help matters by not properly putting himself between the two fighters and controlling the action. On the replay, Cortez didn't even appear to be looking at the first punch. The consensus at the MGM Grand was that while unsportsmanlike, Mayweather's punch was not illegal. The crowd disagreed. Mayweather was heartily booed and had an expletive laced exchange with HBO's Larry Merchant after the fight.

Memorable images from Mayweather-Ortiz

2. Ortiz was going to lose. Ortiz did a great job blocking Mayweather's punches ... with his head. It was clear early that Mayweather was in a different class. Ortiz had a couple of moments. He backed Mayweather up a couple of times and landed cleaner shots than Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez combined. Still, Mayweather was cruising. Like most Mayweather opponents, Ortiz realized early that Mayweather is incredibly difficult to hit. Whenever he was on the ropes, Mayweather was bobbing and weaving, using that famed shoulder roll defense to keep Ortiz from connecting. One way or another, Mayweather was going to win this fight.

3. Mayweather won't get much credit for the win. The general public is going to look at Mayweather's knockout punches as cheap shots. Simple as that. That replay will be shown over and over (and over and over), and in slow motion, it looks pretty bad. Mayweather proved, once again, that he is the most skilled fighter in the world. But this win won't go down as one of his finest moments.

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