By Pablo Fletes, notifight.com
Veteran referee Joe Cortez was involved in one of the most controversial fights of 2011, when Floyd Mayweather Jr. knocked out Victor Ortiz in September to win the WBC welterweight title at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Ortiz, in the process of apologizing for an illegal head butt, dropped his guard to approach Mayweather, who took advantage by landing two solid punches to knock Ortiz out. Ortiz claimed that Cortez never advised them to fight on, which is why he dropped his guard.
"Boxing is a sport where there is always controversial results, such as mine with Mayweather-Ortiz," said Cortez. "One always tells the boxers 'protect yourself at all times', but what Ortiz did to Mayweather looked bad, to me as a referee. It was not a good thing for the sport, but boxing should move forward.
Do you feel lost control of this fight that generated millions of dollars?
"The problem is that it happened in a split second. I wondered why Ortiz dropped his guard? He should not have lowered his guard, and he had already done it once or twice before. And Mayweather took advantage."
Was this move by Mayweather illegal or not?
"No, it was all within the rules. I did not say box with my mouth, because there were so many people [at the arena], they would not have heard my voice. So I waved the boxers [to fight on], and this always happens when you have an arena with 13 or 15 thousand fans inside. At that time, Ortiz dropped his guard and took Mayweather's punches."