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Always protect yourself.

It’s the first rule of boxing. And one that Victor Ortiz picked the wrong time to forget Saturday against Floyd Mayweather.

In one of the most bizarre endings in boxing history, Mayweather capitalized on a moment of immeasurable negligence by Ortiz to score a dramatic fourth-round knockout before a crowd of 14,687 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

The devastating left-right combination came moments after Ortiz appeared to intentionally foul Mayweather with a head butt near Mayweather’s corner. After referee Joe Cortez immediately called time so Mayweather could recover and deducted a point from Ortiz, both fighters moved to the center of the ring, hugged and touched gloves.

As Ortiz looked toward Cortez for some signal to restart — with the veteran referee out of position and not even looking at the fighters — Mayweather stepped back and uncoiled a sharp left hook that froze Ortiz, followed by a heat-seaking right that snapped the young champion’s head back and dumped him to the canvas. Cortez counted him out and a disoriented Ortiz remained on the floor for several minutes. The mostly pro-Ortiz crowd, out in force on Mexican Independence Day weekend, rained boos and catcalls on the surreal tableau.

A cheap shot, but a legal punch.


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