Part of the talk leading up to the much-hyped boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor has revolved around dirty tricks.
As in, will McGregor, the boxing novice and star of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, resort to underhanded tactics borrowed from mixed martial arts to offset Mayweather’s status as an overwhelming favorite?
But such an outcome is unlikely, mainly because it would give rise to a lawsuit that could cost McGregor a large chunk of the $75 million-plus purse he is set to make. Forget about seeing kicks, takedowns and wrestling maneuvers at T-Mobile Arena next month.
In any case, according to former Mayweather opponent Victor Ortiz, perhaps it is boxing’s former pound-for-pound king and not the noisy Irishman whose methods should be subject to greater scrutiny.
Ortiz recounted to USA TODAY Sports his infamous 2011 clash, in which, not for the first time, many believed Mayweather had received sympathetic treatment from the referee.
“You can’t elbow,” Ortiz said. “Unless you are Mayweather.”
Mayweather has long been accused of using his elbows and forearms, not just to block punches, but to illegally attack his opponent. The Ortiz fight was perhaps the most extreme case, but official Joe Cortez issued no penalty. Ortiz admitted that he acted improperly by repeatedly leading with his head, yet said that Mayweather’s conduct should also have been punished.
Eventually, in the fourth round, Mayweather secured one of his most controversial victories, when he knocked out Ortiz with a punch thrown while his rival was trying to touch gloves to apologize for a headbutt.
“I think on both parts we both had a lot of mistakes taking place,” Ortiz added. “He was hitting me with his elbows. I took a lot of them. I took I believe 16 or 17.
“I kept telling Cortez, ‘Hey Cortez, elbow, elbow.’ (He just said) ‘Keep fighting Ortiz, keep fighting Ortiz.’
“(I was) trying but then it got to the point where I felt like I was seeing double out of one eye and I think that’s your retina when that is happening. The other eye was starting to swell, not from the punch. He (elbowed) and got away with it. I think what I did was wrong, I headbutted. I ended up paying ugly.”
Cortez refereed more than 170 title fights before his retirement in 2012 and later defended his decisions in the fight, saying Mayweather’s was entitled to point his elbows towards Ortiz to protect himself against head clashes.
Previously, Cortez’s handling of Mayweather came under scrutiny after his knockout victory over Ricky Hatton in 2007. Many at ringside were surprised when Mayweather slung an arm around Cortez after the fight and posed for photographers with him, while the Hatton camp fumed that Mayweather had been allowed to use his elbows and that their man had been prevented from working on the inside.
The referee for Mayweather’s clash with McGregor on Aug. 26 has not yet been named. However, the McGregor camp has stated it will launch a complaint with the Nevada State Athletic Commission if Kenny Bayless, who has taken charge of four of Mayweather’s last five fights, is appointed.
Before Mayweather fought Manny Pacquiao, fighter-turned-promoter Oscar De La Hoya insisted that Bayless’ selection “favors” Mayweather, though the Pacquiao camp did not object.
McGregor’s group were unimpressed by comments Bayless made this year stating that he would “not want to see it,” should a Mayweather-McGregor match be put together. Bayless has also defended his handling of Mayweather bouts, despite criticism.
“From what I see, he uses his movement to his advantage,” Bayless told the Los Angeles TImes. “A lot of people complain about it, along with his clinching. But he knows when to and when not to clinch, and he does it in a way that it doesn’t take away from the flow of a fight. So you just let it go.”
Source: Martin Rogers| USA Today