It's the first thing they teach anybody who steps into a boxing gym to learn the ways of the sport; protect yourself at all times.
Trainers all over the world know the practice of giving those playful slaps to trainees that put their hands down while on the mitts, saying to them while letting out a slight chuckle, "Protect yourself!"
It's one of the most often repeated phrases in any gym, yet also the most often forgotten.
Saturday night, in the MGM Grand Garden Arena of Las Vegas, Victor Ortiz (29-3-0 22 KO) learned the hard way, just how important that basic and minuscule reminder really is.
After taking the WBC Welterweight title from Andre Berto last April, the newly crowned 24-year-old champion was faced with what would be the biggest fight in his entire career against undefeated superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr. (42-0-0 26 KO).
Mayweather was to mark his return to the sport after his unanimous decision victory over "Sugar" Shane Mosley back in May of 2010, ending a 16-month hiatus.
Despite his long layoff, Mayweather was a heavy favorite coming into the fight, with odds like 7-1 or 5-1 circulating among the boxing community. Many had him winning via either a unanimous decision or a late round technical knockout despite the advantages Ortiz had in terms of size and age, being practically a decade younger than the 34-year-old Mayweather.
Come fight night, Mayweather surpassed expectations and left a lesson in self defense with his opponent and the rest of the boxing world.
The evening's main event began with an unconventional order of entry into the ring.
Ortiz, though the defending champion and title holder, came out of his tunnel and into the ring first. He was donning a flashy silver outfit with likenesses of the American and Mexican flags draped over each of its sides.
Mayweather on the other hand, regardless of his status as the evening's challenger, had the privilege of coming out last; all decked out in a uniformed black and orange outfit, which he introduced on the online show "Mayweather After Dark." It was Mayweather's supposed fight gear for the compromised bout against fellow welterweight superstar, Manny Pacquiao.
After further formalities and ring announcer Michael Buffer's introduction to both fighters (this time with Mayweather being introduced first), it was time for star power to begin.
At the opening bell, Mayweather wasted no time following through on his promise to take the early rounds and meet Ortiz for some toe-to-toe combat.
Both fighters were circling around the center of the ring in an effort to gain control of the area. Mayweather connected with a number of properly placed, two-punch combinations early on while also making Ortiz miss with frequent bobs and weaves.
The first round was a tell-all tale on what the fight would have been like had it gone the distance. Ortiz was aggressive and bent on pursuing Mayweather with big shots and combinations but found that he could hardly connect with any of them.
The action remained steady in the second round with Ortiz coming out a little more aggressive but still unable to do an real damage. Mayweather was seen in his ever familiar form of calm and control, utilizing clinches to slow Ortiz when the young champion found his way inside.
Mayweather further cemented how the fight would go in the third round, clearly keeping absolute control of the center and picking his opponent apart from there.
As expected, Ortiz's aggression began to work against him as his combinations would be met by those of Mayweather's, faster by just a few split seconds. Mayweather loaded up on leaning rights, making a statement each time Ortiz would leave himself even slightly open.
In the fourth round, it set in that Mayweather was slowly running away with the fight.
Ortiz responded with untamed explosions, pushing Mayweather's back to the ropes and trying to get whatever shots he could to connect. Mayweather however, was unfazed, getting away and shaking his head as if to say he wasn't getting hurt.
The action resumed with Mayweather trying his best to maintain and dictate the pace of the fight but this lasted only until Ortiz came on strong and cornered him to unleash a collection of combinations.
Mayweather's shoulder roll defense was neutralizing most of the effects of the attack, but Ortiz suddenly decided to jump in for a huge headbutt which landed on Mayweather's chin area.
Referee Joe Cortez immediately separated the two to give Mayweather time to recover.
Ortiz then hugged and kissed Mayweather on the cheek and was whisked away by Cortez. Cortez, seeing as the headbutt was too voluntary to be deemed an accident, then asked that a point be deducted from Ortiz for the foul.
After the deduction was signaled, Cortez gave the signal to resume time and had both fighters touch gloves.
Ortiz however, was clearly still not over what had previously transpired and went in to give Mayweather yet another apologetic hug in the middle of fight action; earning him a looping left hook to the jaw and a leaning straight right hand to the face from his fully aware and battle ready opponent.
Ortiz was left seeing stars and unable to find his feet as Cortez came to administer the due 10-count.
Boos rained from the crowd in the presumption that Mayweather fired away during the break but were later stabilized after inspection of the incident, seeing that Mayweather had indeed pulled the trigger on his shots within fight parameters.
Mayweather approached Ortiz after the fight to wish him well and Ortiz, though clearly bothered by what had just transpired, accepted that the occurrence was completely legal.
Mayweather took hold of his new title belt and proceeded for the customary interview with HBO's Larry Merchant.
Having clashed views before, Mayweather and Merchant once again found themselves at odds with one another when Merchant began to bombard Mayweather with seemingly negative-sided questions.
Mayweather then acted up by telling Merchant he was being unfair and he followed that by saying Merchant should instead just interview Ortiz, but not before dropping a parting insult on the commentator.
Merchant fired back with a half-hearted physical threat and went on to question Ortiz.
Ortiz stuck to his view that what happened was not right, but admitted that it was indeed a learning experience.
Ortiz has stated at the post-fight press conference that he is looking for a rematch, which Mayweather confirmed was a possibility during his interrupted interview with HBO's Merchant.
It still stands however, that Mayweather has already called out his next opponent before this fight even began and has done so throughout this fight's promotional tour. Mayweather wants the Filipino pound-for-pound king, Manny Pacquiao.
This fight now serves as a prime example for anybody in the world of boxing that the first rule of the sport is and always will be, to protect yourself at all times.
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