I lost respect for Floyd Mayweather Jr. last night, but not because he fought dirty or diminished his win at all. In fact, I think it was impressive. Ortiz is the one who should be criticized for dirty fighting; the headbutt was clearly intentional and the conciliatory gestures he repeatedly made were embarrassingly reminiscent of Mosley. The “choice words” section on ESPN.com quoted a blogger who said “Dirty? No. Dodgy? Yes. He didn’t break the rules, but he certainly stepped on the spirit of the sport. So what? Welcome to the club, Floyd. Enjoy your cash.”– It’s a well-composed statement, but I don’t think anybody really cares too much about the “the spirit of the sport.” If they do, they’re missing the point. Sportsmanship ends once you acknowledge the foul and continue to fight. Sportsmanship is not: touching gloves, hugging, kissing (on the cheek), touching gloves again, hugging again and then backing away with your hands down. A very important part of “the spirit of the sport,” a lot of boxers will tell you, is vigilance. Mayweather was the one who demonstrated that aspect of dedication to boxing. He had already touched gloves at least twice.
That being said, I sure wish it hadn’t gone down that way. I do think the fight was starting to move against Mayweather, so I guess the urge to place blame on someone for the outcome leads me to give most of it to him. But Ortiz kind of deserved it.