What we watched: People saw what they wanted to see from last night's Floyd Mayweather vs. Victor Ortiz fight. "An orchestrated WWF main event." "I'm sorry, I think that was cheap." "Can't hit a man when he's trying to hug you!" "Protect yourself at all times. It's not a hugging contest." "Fixed." Here's what I saw:
Three rounds that spoke to a veteran relying on technical prowess against an upstart who looked like he might just find a way to bulldog his way inside enough to take down the gifted braggart. Translation: No matter what they say, Ortiz had more than a puncher's chance.
And then came Round 4.
With 19 seconds left, Ortiz caught Mayweather with a left that sent him backpedaling and protecting his head. A right grazed. The next left sneaked through Mayweather's gloves. Face. Flush. Fear.
Two shots off the gloves. Miss with a right to the side. Mayweather got his hands on Ortiz's shoulders, quickly not seeming dazed by the frenzy. He ducked, just barely, out of the way of a right cross. The follow-up left didn't connect sufficiently.
As Mayweather tried tying his opponent up — 14 seconds remaining in the round — his foe knee squat/semi-jumped with ferocity. Top of head to chin and mouth. Mayweather pushed him off. Referee Joe Cortez called a timeout. The youngster immediately approached, glove palms upturned, apologetically. The veteran was pissed. The youngster draped his arms around his shoulders, planted a kiss on his right cheek and was led away.
Ortiz was penalized a point.
"Don't be doing that," the youngster was told.
Then, Mayweather and Ortiz stood above the Tecate ad in the middle of the ring. Cortez looked off to the ringside referees, presumably those keeping time. They'd only need to keep it for another two seconds. Ortiz went in for another hug. Mayweather seemed to be attempting to touch gloves. Conspiracy theorists saw something spoken from elder to youngster. I'm not convinced they're wrong.
Cortez might have given the order to commence fighting. But he might not have.
Ortiz took about a half step back, his gloves down at his sides. Cortez was still looking off to ringside. Mayweather threw a shock of a left hook that caught the fuck out of Ortiz's dome. His legs went backward, lamely, just enough strength to support 160 pounds upright.
Then, a nasty, anger-filled straight right to the face thrown with such pace that Mayweather's right leg was at a 45 degree angle in the air behind the left. And Ortiz just fucking crumbled in the corner opposite where the headbutt occurred. His knees came more than halfway up to his head. The ringside referee launched from his seat with two fingers in the air.
Mayweather trotted away in the opposite direction. Bouncing. Pogo-stick high. Looking back at the dude who just headbutted him 22 real-time seconds earlier.
Jim Lampley: "Protect yourself at all times."
Larry Merchant: "Ortiz is apologizing, and Mayweather was punching."
Lampley: "This isn't going to win him any more fans, but it was legal. It. Was. Legal."
The camera cuts to Mayweather. His entourage is hooting and hollering and hyping.
The camera cuts to Ortiz. His entourage and ring officials are making sure his eyelashes aren't bleeding. He has one of those dazed "I know where I am but I don't really know where I am" expressions. But it's not as dazed as he should be after taking two synapse twisters to the face.
Merchant: "An outstanding performance by Mayweather. He knew the flaws in Ortiz. He seized on them. He took some of Ortiz's good shots. For once, we can all say he was as exciting inside the ring as he was outside the ring."
Mayweather landed 73 of 208 punches thrown; Ortiz landed 26 of 148. It did not feel that lopsided.
The bells sounds four times.
"Ladies and gentlemen," says Michael Buffer, "from the MGM Grand, the official time: two minutes, 59 seconds of round number four, the winner by knockout victory and new WBC welterweight champion of the world, Floyd 'Money' Mayweather."
Mayweather thanks God. The crowd boos.
Mayweather talks about dirty shots. Merchant asks as pertinent of questions that one can ask when the cocktail waitress knows to refresh without being asked to do so.
Mayweather thinks he's hatin', and responds accordingly. "Protect yourself at all times," he says. "If he wants a rematch, he can get a rematch." Then he notes that Merchant doesn't know shit about boxing, and that HBO should send someone new to interview him. Merchant says he'd kick his ass if he was 50 years younger, and then laughs the laugh of "Dear Lawd, what did I just say?"
Instant analysis: Ortiz should've protected himself. That's the first rule of boxing. That's the last rule of boxing.
The ref should've been paying attention. See above.
And, as the debate continues until 1 p.m. kickoffs, Mayweather should neither feel shame for acting like a man about to lose his precious nor pride in how he defended its retention, if he was capable of such introspection.
When Saturday night football games don't start until Sunday morning:
"After a thunderstorm resulted in a delay of slightly more than three hours, Oklahoma State and the University of Tulsa played football in a game that began at 12:16 a.m. Sunday. With sophomore running back Joseph Randle rushing for 128 yards and three touchdowns, the eighth-ranked Cowboys prevailed 59-33 at TU's H.A. Chapman Stadium. Sophomore Justin Gilbert scored OSU's first points on a 96-yard, first-quarter kickoff return." [Tulsa World]
Mariano Rivera is one save away from having the most in baseball history: "'He's into territory now that he's going to be in uncharted waters, easily labeled as the best closer of all time,' Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. 'What's remarkable is that when you watch video of when he first came up to where he is now, it's the same exact delivery, and I think that speaks volumes about his athleticism and how he's kept himself in shape.'" [New York Daily News]
Roy Oswalt raises his season record to 8-9: "'I'm so happy for him because he was working real hard,' catcher Carlos Ruiz said as champagne was sprayed through the clubhouse. 'I mean, what a moment to have Roy Oswalt on the mound and doing a great job. He's a guy who likes to compete, and it's hard when you have injuries. But right now he's healthy, and that's good for them and good for us.'" [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Sidney Crosby skates in hour-long no-contact session: "Crosby has not received medical clearance to be involved in contact, and there is no indication when he will receive it. He downplayed an apparent difference in perspectives among the professionals handling his case. Florida-based chiropractor Ted Carrick told WDVE-FM Friday that he believes Crosby 'is as ready for contact as any other NHL player,' while concussion specialist Michael Collins, a clinical neuropsychologist, clearly does not agree—and affirmed that Dr. Charles Burke, the team physician, will have the final say on when clearance for contact is granted." [Post-Gazette]
The Miami Hurricanes won the battle of horrible programs: "All the talk heading into the University of Miami's home opener against Ohio State revolved around suspensions, rogue boosters, tattoo parlors and strip clubs. On Saturday night, Lamar Miller and a refined Hurricanes defense gave everyone something else to talk about." [Miami Herald]
Your giant bluefish tuna feeding frenzy interlude:
The Auburn Tigers have a zero-game winning streak: "The Tigers, who arrived here Saturday with the nation's longest winning streak and a string of comeback victories, lost to Clemson 38-24 at Frank Howard Field. The loss snapped a 17-game winning streak for the defending national champs. Clemson made sure of that with more than 600 yards of offense." [Birmingham News]
Pitt and Syracuse want to dump the Big East and marry the ACC: "If the move goes forward, Pittsburgh and Syracuse would become the fourth and fifth schools to leave the Big East for the ACC in the past decade. Virginia Tech and Miami joined in 2004, and Boston College followed a year later as the ACC's 12th member. Syracuse is a founding member of the Big East, and Pittsburgh joined the league in 1982. The ACC official said their letters of application were for full membership." [CNNSI]
Today's Soccer Viewing Recommendations: Siena vs. Juventus (9 a.m., Fox Soccer Channel). Manchester United vs. Chelsea (11 a.m., FSC). Schalke 04 vs. Bayern Munich (11:30 a.m., GolTV). Levante vs. Real Madrid (2 p.m., GolTV). Napoli vs. AC Milan (2:30 p.m., FSC).
Merch: Managing editor Tom Scocca and contributing editor Drew Magary have both written books. You can buy Scocca's Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future here, and Magary's The Postmortal here. Now do it.
(Tuna video H/T to Epic Blitz)