x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Mayweather stops Ortiz in fourth round to take WBC welterweight title

Unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr wins in controversial fashion, stopping the champion Victor Ortiz with a combination after a break from the referee.

Floyd Mayweather Jr, left, trades punches with Victor Ortiz. The American stopped the champion in the fourth round to take the WBC welterweight title.
Floyd Mayweather Jr, left, trades punches with Victor Ortiz. The American stopped the champion in the fourth round to take the WBC welterweight title.

LAS VEGAS // Floyd Mayweather Jr got a head butt, a kiss and a hug from Victor Ortiz.

He responded with a right hand that ended a bizarre fight early.

Mayweather remained unbeaten and did it in emphatic fashion last night in Las Vegas, stopping Ortiz at 2:59 of the fourth round to take the WBC welterweight title Ortiz brought into the ring.

The end came just as the two fighters emerged from a break, in which Ortiz had embraced Mayweather in the centre of the ring. As they broke, Mayweather shot out a left hand and followed it with a right that put Ortiz down in his corner.

Ortiz struggled to get up as referee Joe Cortez called an end to the fight.

"We touched gloves and we were back to fighting and then I threw the left and right hand after the break," Mayweather said. "In the ring you have to protect yourself at all times."

The round was already controversial, as Ortiz appeared to head butt Mayweather intentionally, leading Cortez to take a point away from him. After the head butt, Ortiz went to Mayweather and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

Seconds later they were in the centre of the ring ready to resume action when two punches ended it quickly.

"I took the break by the referee and I obeyed exactly as I was told," Ortiz said. "And then, boom, he blindsided me."

Mayweather was winning the fight through three rounds, dominating with speed and landing good right hands to the head of Ortiz. He won all three rounds on two ringside scorecards, and two of three on the third.

Ortiz picked up the pace in the fourth round, trying desperately to get inside Mayweather's vaunted defence. He did on occasion and was having a better round when, late in the round, he appeared to intentionally head butt Mayweather in frustration as the two fought in Mayweather's corner.

"He did something dirty when it was his corner who said I was dirty," Mayweather said. "But I won the fight."

Mayweather later engaged in a verbal confrontation with the HBO announcer Larry Merchant, calling him a name at one point.

Ortiz said he had apologised to Mayweather for the head butt and was getting ready to resume fighting when he said Mayweather punched too quickly coming out of the break.

"There's two ways to look at it but as far as I was concerned I came here to entertain the fans and I think they were entertained," Ortiz said. "There was a miscommunication with the referee but nobody is perfect and this was a learning experience."

Mayweather remained unbeaten in 42 fights, scoring the knockout he had predicted. Ortiz, who lost his welterweight title, fell to 29-3-2.

On the undercard, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez kept his WBC light-middleweight title, stopping Alfonso Gomez at 2:36 of the sixth round.

Alvarez (38-0-1, 28 KOs) started and finished strong in his bout on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather's victory over Victor Ortiz. The wildly popular Mexican fighter met Gomez at Staples Center, in Los Angeles, in a two-city pay-per-view card.

Alvarez knocked down Gomez (23-5-2), from nearby Anaheim, with a compact left hook late in the first round. Gomez, who fought on the reality television series "The Contender," rallied in the next few rounds and hung in with the hard-punching Alvarez.

But Alvarez dominated the fifth round, and he finished Gomez with a nasty uppercut and several big shots. Gomez thought referee Wayne Hedgpeth stopped the fight too soon, with Alvarez raining blows on Gomez's defence.

Veteran boxer Erik Morales, the last fighter to beat Manny Pacquiao, stopped fellow Mexican Pablo Cesar Cano to win a title in a fourth weight division on Saturday.

Morales battered and bloodied the younger Cano before the fight was stopped at the end of the 10th round by the corner of Cano, who was a late replacement and took the fight on with just a few days' notice.

With the win Morales earned the vacant WBC light-welterweight belt.

Cano's corner stopped the fight as blood streamed down the left side of his face from a cut around his eye. He was fighting outside of Mexico for the first time.

Morales improved to 52-7 with 36 KOs, while Cano dropped to 22-1-1.

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The Manny Pacquiao Story

•  Interactive: The Manny Pacquiao story
•  Part one of the Pacquiao story: In Mannyland
•  Part two of the Pacquiao story: Unchanged by fame
•  Part three of the Pacquiao story: Team Pacquiao
•  Part four: A bittersweet farewell to Manny Pacquiao
•  Pacquiao's promoters keen to push through fight in Abu Dhabi
•  He's the best, but Manny Pacquiao is still learning to be better

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