By Zach Arnold | September 20, 2011
On Monday afternoon, Larry Merchant did a nine-minute interview on the Mason & Ireland radio program that broadcasts on ESPN 710 AM Los Angeles. It was every bit the interview that you would expect given the fallout from Saturday night’s fight between Floyd Mayweather & Victor Ortiz.
(Click on the link and you’ll see quotes from the interview.)
On most ESPN platforms yesterday, the consensus is that Ortiz got what he asked for even if it was ‘cheap’ by Floyd to finish the fight in the manner that he did. Jim Rome, yesterday, didn’t mince words about the way the fight played out.
“Right when you think that the sport of boxing has no more i’s left to dot, we get Saturday’s Mayweather/Ortiz debacle in Las Vegas. I mean, you can’t just make this stuff up and there’s plenty of blame to go around here, starting with Ortiz. Number one, that head butt was even dirtier than Mayweather cold-cocking him while he was attempting to hug it out with May. That smacked of a guy who knew that he was totally outclassed, got frustrated, and just snapped. And while Mayweather did not exactly class the joint up by icing a guy that he knew wasn’t paying attention, that’s also on Ortiz. It’s the first thing that you learn as a fighter and the last thing a referee tells you before the fight — protect yourself at all times — and Ortiz didn’t. Mayweather had been there before, Ortiz hadn’t and it showed. You want to apologize? Fine, touch gloves, resume fighting. But what was he doing hugging and kissing on Floyd? Weird, bizarre, and it got him knocked him out.
“Ortiz claims that it wasn’t a far fight and his camp wants a rematch. Classy and clean? No. But it was definitely fair. You don’t smash a guy’s face in with a head butt and then complain when you get hit with a dirty shot. You start down that path and you better be ready for anything and you weren’t. And you can forget about a rematch. Nobody outside your camp wants it. Mayweather was dominating that fight and he would have finished it sooner than later. A rematch is only in order if somebody gets jobbed and nobody was.
“Well, other than the fans, as usual.
“Mayweather, meanwhile, not only wasn’t apo9logizing for how he won, he actually thought it was good for business. As long as you’re looking at him and talking about him, he’s happy.
‘Hey man, I’m good. Controversy is okay. Nothing wrong with some controversy to get people talking. It’s all god.’
“Yeah, it’s all good… for you. Now go ask the million-plus who dropped crazy jack for that PPV if they think it’s all good because I’m guessing a good chunk of them don’t. They wanted to see a clean, natural ending to that fight, not you clocking a guy while he was still apologizing and not prepared to defend himself. Again, it may have been legal, but it wasn’t clean and fight fans got jammed yet again and they’re bent and I can see why. I mean, when was the last time you threw for a PPV card and actually felt like you got your money’s worth?
“As far as the fight that would be worth your money, Mayweather insists that he doesn’t need Pacquiao.
‘All Pacquiao is doing is fighting my leftovers. How can Pacquiao offer me anything? I do the offering. He has to get his business in order. When he fights, he gives up 30% of his check, I get 100%.’
“Wait, what? You’re not fighting, why? Because he has to chip cats off and you don’t? Look, I have no idea what that means or how that relates to anything but I know this — either you’re just ducking him or you won’t fight him because you think that he roids. But his promoter, Bob Arum, says that Pacquiao is now willing to submit to Olympic-style random blood & urine drug testing so that should address your concerns.
“And, by the way, you do need him. If you care as much about your legacy as you say you do and you do want to be considered one of the greatest of all time, then you need him. Maybe not in your eyes but most of the rest of the world will consider your career incomplete if you don’t fight Pacquiao. Skip this guy and there will always be a ‘yeah, but’ to your career. Get used to those questions because you’ll hear them almost every single day for the rest of your life.”
The bright side for Floyd’s PR team in Las Vegas? He may get some jail time soon for his pending legal battles, but it’s not like he went on Steve Cofield’s home radio station (ESPN 1100 in Las Vegas) to channel the spirit of Mike Tyson by talking about ‘wombshifters’ or anything of the sort.