The best way to resolve a disagreement is sometimes to bring in an outside perspective from someone whose lack of involvement in the situation allows them to remain unbiased. Such a system of conflict resolution is the basis for, among other things, replay review in sports, court systems and marriage counseling.
As a complete outsider to boxing, my perspective on Floyd Mayweather, Jr.'s controversial knockout of David Ortiz is far different from the viewpoint of the many outraged boxing fans that have been commenting online since the fight ended.
I haven't seen the fight. I watched a video of the head butt and knockout in question, but that's it. I'm not familiar with the rules and etiquette of boxing, so my take on it is just an outsider's observation mixed with a pinch of sprinkled-in common sense.
From the little bit I saw, I don't see anything wrong with Mayweather's win. Punching Ortiz so quickly after the hug certainly isn't classy, and demonstrates a lack of respect for Ortiz.
Given the nature of Ortiz's head butt, the lack of respect was certainly justified. Ortiz did not just smack Mayweather with his head; he put his body weight behind the head butt and launched into Mayweather's face.
From the initiation of Mayweather and Ortiz's embrace right before the first punch, Mayweather's body language clearly indicated a fighting posture, with his arms close to his body and his fists up. In contrast, Ortiz had his arms down around Mayweather's waist level. Additionally, Mayweather pushed away from Ortiz, making it clear the embrace was over.
Despite Mayweather's body language, Ortiz was completely taken by surprise by Mayweather's blow. After the first punch, he still didn't raise his hands to protect himself. He instead seemed to have his eyes on referee Joe Cortez as Mayweather delivered the fight's final punch.
Cortez's role in the controversy is an important one too, as he did not appear to be ready for the fight to resume when it did. From the video of the replay, Cortez appears to be talking to someone else and doesn't even see the first punch occur. After the fight, Cortez said the fight was resumed before Mayweather struck Ortiz.
"Time was in, the fighter needed to keep his guard up," Cortez said. "Mayweather did nothing illegal."
If time was in, there's no reason Cortez should have had his eyes anywhere other than on the fight. However, regardless of whether or not Ortiz though the fight had officially resumed, Ortiz's first instinct after getting hit the first time should have been to protect himself. At the end of the day, Ortiz lost because his instincts didn't react quickly enough.
Sounds fair to me.
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