Floyd Mayweather Vs. Victor Ortiz: The View From The Movie Theater

I have insomnia. I’ll say that right up front, but I took a nap at 6 p.m. Saturday night just so I could make it to the 9 p.m. screening of Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Victor Ortiz and the three undercard fights — including the transmission from Los Angeles of Saul Alvarez vs. Alfonso Gomez.

The F train from Brooklyn wasn’t working (which implies that it ever actually does) so I ended up riding my bicycle up to the screening venue, the Ziegfeld Theatre on 54th Street, the glorious, old-school gigantic cinema with real velvet walls, which makes watching a movie there a bit like sitting in a gigantic jewelry box from Tiffany’s.

Why am I mentioning the bike ride? Because, in spite of my vices, my faults, my insomniac nail biting, I am the Floyd Mayweather, Jr. of bicycling. From my daily commute, a boxing match with cars, I get what makes Floyd the “Brer Rabbit” of boxing because I take to heart his admonition, nay, his weltanschauung (German for something I learned in college) that one must PROTECT ONESELF AT ALL TIMES.

I have never been down, never been cut. After last night’s bike ride home at 1 a.m. I’m 52-0. So I just want to first thank God, because without him none of this would be possible, and my fans and HBO, and Al Haymon, and of course the media, cause you guys… wait, I’m the media.

Now, as usual with Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao fights, the undercard fights were uplifting and the main event was oddly depressing. But at the movie theatre Mayweather, true to form, was a catalyst. What I mean is that he’s like the dye pathologists put into a culture — I think they call it cerulean blue — to make differences between cells stand out. In this case the differences are racial. I am not exaggerating this: Last night the audience in the Ziegfeld was heterogenous, a mix of white and blue collar, Asian, white, Hispanic, African American, wealthy, working class. But things were very clearly portioned out when it came to Mayweather. I think it’s possible that no fighter has had this much of a polarizing effect since Muhammed Ali. When Floyd dropped Ortiz, the whites mostly sat quietly trying to look as if they were watching Charlie Rose and a strong contingent of blacks took it to the aisles.

Larry Merchant certainly played the “white guy” role to the hilt, giving Floyd the perp-walk treatment about the knockout. I was despondent myself because, after such an exciting series of undercard fights (what Erik Morales fight isn’t?) I would have liked the fight to go on. It had the makings of a standard Mayweather route, with electric fists and perfect defense, but Ortiz was game and finding a way to get Mayweather to the ropes now and then.

While I realize that Mayweather is not one to miss a legitimate chance for a knockout for the sake of decorum, I think it would have been good for the fans if he’d held fire. But he’s right you have to protect yourself at all times, which he did, and Victor did not. Victor’s a cyclist, so maybe he should add bike commuting to his workout.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.