Weekend Afterthoughts, Featuring What’s Next For Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Victor Ortiz, Erik Morales, Jessie Vargas And More

Usually you can hardly talk enough about a mega-fight, and therefore, three days after Floyd Mayweather vs. Victor Ortiz, there are still things that have been left undiscussed at the proper length, deep questions, like, “Did you know that the music for ‘dramatic chipmunk‘ came from the movie ‘Young Frankenstein?'” (Larry Merchant mash-up via Deadspin commenter PolkPanther.)

Nah, for reals, though. Mostly it’s the post-Mayweather/Ortiz future that we’ll talk about here, something we haven’t talked so much about because we’ve been looking back so much. And we have neglected what turned out to be a pretty strong undercard from the Mayweather-Ortiz pay-per-view.

  • Rankings. Because everyone loves rankings. Ring installed Mayweather at #2 pound-for-pound and #2 at welterweight behind Manny Pacquiao, after that win. I agree with the first decision, not the second. Mayweather still doesn’t have the overall better record between himself and Pacquiao, but his welterweight record is, in total, better and longer. For his key victories at the weight, Mayweather has beaten Zab Judah, Carlos Baldomir, Ricky Hatton, Shane Mosley and now Ortiz. Pacquiao has beaten Miguel Cotto, Joshua Clottey and a worse version of Mosley. But it’s not like Ring made a BAD decision; it’s just one I differ with, is all. And while, pound-for-pound, I’d been contemplating putting middleweight champ Sergio Martinez ahead of Mayweather even before I booted him for inactivity, the Ortiz win was enough to hold his spot for a while longer. P.S., it’s only been two weeks, but with Michael Rosenthal handling the Ring Ratings Panel recommendations and writing up the explanations about ratings changes, I’ve seen no evidence of pro-Golden Boy bias. I still wish we had an official explanation of what happened with the editorial shake-up; there are as-of-yet disturbing unanswered questions, but on this count, at least so far, the signs are not bad.
  • Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. It should be glaringly obvious to almost everyone right now that Mayweather has zero desire to face Pacquiao, and for all the hell he caught for his sucker punch knockout Saturday, he’s not catching enough for his remarks about Manny. “I don’t need Pacquiao,” he said. “I can make a lot of money without Pacquiao.” He dodged a bunch of questions about whether he would ever fight Pacquiao and cast fact-less aspersions on Pacquiao’s career. His trainer, uncle Roger, when asked about who Floyd would fight next, said, “I don’t know. I know he ain’t going to fight Pacquiao.” Floyd keeps saying Pacquiao needs to “take the test,” but Pacquiao long ago acquiesced to take the Olympic-style drug tests Mayweather agreed to originally and has agreed to all sorts of subsequent additional demands. There are only excuses from this man, a prizefighter who has refused to face his most viable opponent for several consecutive years. I keep saying that I don’t think Mayweather is scared of Pacquiao, but what other explanation is there? That he hates ex-promoter Bob Arum THAT much? Even if Maywether thinks he can beat him, he’s going to avoid fighting him specifically because there are lower-risk opponents available for whom Mayweather can make astounding money, albeit not as much as the money he’d make against Pacquiao. At what point is it fair to call Mayweather a coward? It’s getting to that, if it’s not past it already.  
  • Taking it to the street. OK, I know I talked about looking forward, not looking backward, but there’s one argument floating around out there about Mayweather’s sucker punch that I haven’t touched upon. The argument goes that Ortiz, by deliberately head butting Mayweather, “took it to the streets,” and Mayweather, by knocking out Ortiz like that, “finished it.” The idea is that Ortiz somehow got what he deserved. The reason I don’t like it is that an apology was offered, an especially by Ortiz. Now, I’m not “from the streets,” although I’ve lived in some rough neighborhoods in my life, both as a youth and as an adult. But when I play basketball with my pals — or even strangers — on Saturday mornings, things get a little rough at times during that athletic spectacle. If someone deliberately fouls someone then apologizes afterward, no retaliation is forthcoming. I’m in favor of a boxer retaliating in the ring if the referee isn’t checking an opponent who is fouling deliberately. My thinking is, an apology and a referee penalty — what happened in Mayweather-Ortiz — should have been more than enough for Mayweather not have “kept it on the streets.” I’m not saying all apologies preclude all retaliation, but in this instance, I think the apology plus the referee intervention should’ve done the trick. (Incidentally, “Referee X” here provides at least one more valid criticism of ref Joe Cortez: that he should have, but did not, warn Mayweather against retaliating.)
  • Next for Ortiz. According to manager Rolando Arellano, Ortiz’ team wants Mayweather to agree in 30 days to a rematch, or else they’ll move on to a rematch with Andre Berto. I like the plan. I don’t think it’s about putting Mayweather in a situation where he looks bad for turning it down; more likely, they know that with Floyd, he could take two years off or something and it’s not worth them putting Ortiz’ career on hold. If Ortiz does get the Berto rematch, which HBO has expressed interest in, I’ll be watching the ratings for that fight closely. I don’t know anyone who has a higher opinion of Ortiz after Saturday; quite the contrary. But he’ll have more “name” value after being seen on such a large stage, and the curiosity factor about him could be at an all-time high. And Ortiz is now in the running for having the strangest boxing career among active boxers.
  • Saul Alvarez’ performance. I’m not sure if I’m convinced of this explanation about why the junior middleweight was so horrid Saturday night, but it’s at least plausible. And it’s not as if Alvarez couldn’t stand to work on his game, still. File this under “inconclusive, warranting further scrutiny,” because the alternative is that Alvarez isn’t motivated enough to fulfill his potential. His trainer doesn’t think a Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. fight in the spring is possible because of a slight difference in weight, but if I was Alvarez’ team, I’d fight Chavez at 160 because I bet Alvarez could beat him at that weight, too.
  • Next for Erik Morales. At this age and weight, it doesn’t appear as if Morales can have a fight that isn’t a full-blown war, and he got one over the weekend from the unexpectedly tough and not-too-shabby Pablo Cesar Cano. He’s too slow with that flabby junior welterweight to get by on anything more than grit and old-school boxing knowledge. He says he wants a rematch with Marcos Maidana. And if he’s going to keep fighting, whatever worries I have about his health, he’s still showing enough to be competitive with someone like Maidana, who so far has seemed to want to avoid the crafty, hard ass Mexican.
  • Jessie Vargas-Amir Khan. And yes, even though Mayweather admitted it was all a gambit for his promotional charge Vargas, Amir Khan is more than happy to take Mayweather’s deal to face Vargas (if he moves to welter, Khan says) as a condition for the fight. If Mayweather is more than a Promoter In Name Only, then he’d be wise to pull that deal off the table. Vargas ain’t ready for someone like Khan. He wasn’t ready for Josesito Lopez, in fact. But if Mayweather isn’t going to face Pacquiao, then the person I most want him to fight is Khan. And if Morales can’t get that rematch with Maidana? I’d take either Lopez or Vargas as an ideal Morales opponent.
  • Carson Jones. Lopez emerges as one of the minor heroes of the Mayweather-Ortiz card, but let’s not forget about Jones, who fought on the portion of the undercard that streamed over the Internet or was part of the television preview. The welterweight has now twice, since late 2009, upset a more highly-regarded fighter, the latest being Said Ouali, whom he stopped in the 7th round. It was a real serious scrap, the Jones-Ouali fight, with Jones playing the role of ruthless body puncher and both men going for the knockout with almost every punch. ESPN2 and/or ShoBox need to adopt Jones as a fixture for fights against up-and-comers and/or against opponents of a similar skill level with a reputation for action fights.

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.