By Keith Idec
NEW YORK — Count Bob Arum among those that think Floyd Mayweather Jr. shouldn’t have hit Victor Ortiz when Ortiz’s hands were down Saturday night.
“That was a cheap [bleeping] shot,” Arum said of the left-right Mayweather combination that ended their WBC welterweight title fight in the fourth round. “And the referee [Joe Cortez], who didn’t know what he was doing … what do you mean, he told the timekeeper, ‘Time in?’ Shouldn’t he have told the fighters, ‘Time in.’ It was horrible for boxing, horrible.”
Arum, Mayweather’s former promoter and longtime antagonist, also suspects Ortiz’s intentional head-butt earlier in the fourth round was the former champion’s way of indicating he didn’t want to continue in a fight he was clearly losing.
“Why do you think he butted him?,” Arum said before a press conference to promote the Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito rematch Dec. 3 at Madison Square Garden. “He just wanted to get out of there, in my opinion. That was such a flagrant foul that it was like a guy looking to get disqualified. And after what happened to him, you would expect him to arise in protest. But he’s grinning like ‘The Cheshire Cat,’ because he’s finally out of there.
“For whatever you want to say about Mayweather, about it being a cheap shot, and the referee for screwing it up, there are no medals on Ortiz. Ortiz demonstrated a lot of what he demonstrated in the Maidana fight.”
Arum referred to Ortiz quitting in the sixth round of his junior welterweight title fight against Argentina’s Marcos Maidana in June 2009 in Los Angeles. Unlike the Ortiz-Maidana fight, Arum added that the controversial conclusion to Mayweather’s win against Ortiz actually impacted him and his promotional company, Top Rank Inc.
“I was having a meeting [Tuesday], and I’m not going to name the company, but with a major, major sponsor that was ready to put a million dollars into boxing,” Arum said. “They were flying in a marketing director and so forth. This guy, unfortunately, was at the fight on Saturday, because he had been invited by a friend of mine in Las Vegas. They don’t want to touch boxing after what they saw on Saturday. Now, you may say ‘Protect yourself at all times,’ but they don’t want to know from boxing after what happened. And I don’t blame them.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, NJ., and BoxingScene.com.