LAS VEGAS, Sept. 19 (AFP) â€“ Floyd Mayweather came off a 16-month layoff to knock out Victor Ortiz and take the WBC belt in a highly eventful world title fight that raised more questions than answers.
Some boxing observers felt the 34-year-old Mayweather might be treating Ortiz as preparation for Filipino champion Manny Pacquiao. But now it is anyone’s guess who Mayweather — the boxer USA fans love to hate — will fight next.
The unbeaten Mayweather promised to give fellow American Ortiz a rematch in a lively post-fight interview with HBO’s Larry Merchant after Saturday’s controversial fight at the MGM Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
“He did something dirty but we are not here to complain about what he did dirty or I did dirty. If he wants a rematch, I will give him one,” Mayweather said.
Ortiz responded that he would like nothing better than another crack at getting his title back. But Mayweather appeared to back off giving Ortiz a rematch in his post-fight news conference.
“Eventually, he was going to get knocked out anyway,” Mayweather said. “Things happen in this sport. It’s protect yourself at all times.”
Ortiz feels Mayweather blind-sided him with a sucker punch in the fourth round, ruled legal by the referee, while he was trying to apologize for a head butt moments earlier.
“I was looking at Joe (referee Cortez) and he said ‘break’ or something and I’m like, huh?” Ortiz said. Before he could raise his hands, Mayweather steamed in and knocked him out.
Earlier in the fourth round Mayweather appeared to deliberately elbow Ortiz during an exchange near the ropes, as the fight, which had been fairly even, descended into dirty tricks.
While Ortiz rues what might have been, the Mayweather camp is looking forward.
There’s still a chance he and Pacquiao — regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter around — will go toe-to-toe next May in what would be one of the biggest match-ups in recent boxing history.
But Mayweather seems more concerned with carrying on the running verbal battle with Pacquiao than stepping into the ring.
“All Pacquiao is doing is fighting my leftovers. That boy doesn’t want to fight,” Mayweather said. “Doesn’t matter. Whoever you put in front of me, they can’t beat me.”
Previous negotiations between the two broke down over drug testing rules.
“To say a guy goes from 105 pounds to this, and it’s all natural… come on, man,” Mayweather said.
“When I beat that little dude (Pacquiao), they’re going to say he was too small or too old. They never appreciate me.”
Mayweather said Pacquiao “doesn’t want to fight me. Once he loses, it’s over. They’re tricking y’all saying they’ll fight me. Don’t be tricked.
“I don’t need Pacquiao. Every time Floyd Mayweather goes out there he’s going to make $70 million, period.”
Before there are anymore fights, Mayweather is due in a US court on October 15 for a preliminary hearing in his multi-felony domestic violence case in which the mother of his children and some of the children are alleged victims.
“The only thing I can do is keep my fingers crossed,” Mayweather said. “I chose the best team of attorneys I know. I know I haven’t done anything. People want to create something because of who you are. With that (domestic) case, I say, ‘Where are the pictures?’.
“The rest (claims by security guards) it’s a bunch of bull. These guys say they got beat up, but they could walk to the hospital? It’s not real.”