Sep 19, 2011, 3:22 PM EDT
One of TMZ’s camera-toting bloodhounds caught up with HBO boxing commentator Larry Merchant at the airport Sunday morning, and of course the conversation centered on the 80-year-old’s post-fight showdown with a contentious Floyd Mayweather Jr. First asked about his comment that “If I were 50 years younger I’d kick your a**,” Merchant ended his thought with “even if it wasn’t true.” More Merchant:
“[Mayweather] hit him with a legal sucker punch. It worked, he was in charge of the fight, but a lot of fans saw it and didn’t like what they saw.
“[Mayweather is] a prima donna, he’s an outstanding fighter, he needs to be in control of everything. He is a modern reality show in progress.”
Meanwhile, the fight referee, Joe Cortez, felt the need to ‘splain himself to JT the Brick on Fox Sports Radio this morning:
“He dug himself into a hole,” Cortez said of Ortiz. “They were the ones that were talking about ‘watch out for Mayweather, he comes in with an elbow, he has sharp elbows,’ so I said okay kid no problem. That didn’t happen last night. I guess he got frustrated after he felt like he was getting hit with so many right hands. I guess he lost his cool. He had Mayweather up against the ropes ready for the kill and he goes in with the head butt. I go ‘wow why did he do that?’ Then after you sit back and look at the whole picture and say I’ve seen this before with fighters taking punishment and then when they feel they have a disadvantaged or are getting outclassed, they start going low, they start doing other things unsportsmanlike.
“As a referee I follow the rules to the ‘t.’ You didn’t hear one of the commentators say anything about Joe Cortez. Everything was about why did Ortiz lower his guard? I called time in. Time was in. Why would he lower his guard again to apologize was to my surprise. That’s where inexperience fell in and Mayweather took advantage with his experience. He said ‘this is an opening for me. Nobody told him to put his hands down’ and he capitalized on it as a fighter.”
Yet still I ask, why couldn’t Cortez have sent the boxers to their corners before calling ‘time in?’ And why was he looking at the scorekeeper when Mayweather landed the punches? Sloppy.
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