After Floyd Mayweather flattened Victor Ortiz in “controversial” fashion the boxing world is still buzzing. Many boxing enthusiasts and former fighters have chimed in and sounded off on whether or not they felt Mayweather was wrong or right for hitting a seemingly defenseless Ortiz.
Having personally seen the video a few dozen times I will not join the fray by throwing in my two cents.
Instead I’m going to share what former Junior Welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi said regarding the end of the fight. “That was three intentional head butts I counted.” “You can’t take the fight to the streets and then say oh, I want to hug you now because you’re mad.” “You take it to a dirty place and turn it into a street fight, you better keep it there,” Malignaggi said.
Regardless of how you feel about the end of the fight it was undoubtedly an extremely bizarre event.
Where does it rank with some of the other crazy fights in boxing history?
Three months after their controversial fight in the Garden that resulted in one of boxing’s ugliest melees, Andrew Golota and Riddick Bowe met in a rematch in Atlantic City.
Golota again took control of the fight early on. He knocked Bowe down in the second round and was very close to ending the fight.
Bowe bounced back and put Golota down in the 4th round. However, Golota recovered and scored another knockdown in round 5.
Golota was in control of the fight and was ahead on the judges’ scorecards but he couldn’t resist the temptation to punch Bowe to the body, despite being warned by his corner not to do so.
Whether intentional or not, Golota was disqualified in the 9th round after being warned repeatedly for hitting Bowe with low blows.
Thankfully, no melee ensued after this fight but it is still one of the most bizarre in boxing history.
Mayweather won the fight, although there was quite a bit of controversy. After Mayweather won the first three rounds with little difficulty, Ortiz backed Mayweather in the ropes and head-butted him.
The blow split Mayweather’s lip and forced referee Joe Cortez to call a halt to the bout. Ortiz hugged and kissed Mayweather multiple times during the brief intermission.
After deducting a point from Ortiz and chiding him, Cortez signaled for the fight to continue. There appeared to be some confusion between him and the timekeeper so he once again called for time in.
At the time Cortez was talking to the timekeeper Ortiz was still attempting to hug Mayweather.
Ortiz wrapped his arms around Mayweather again trying to apologize. A few seconds later Mayweather hit him with a left hook and finished him with a straight right hand while Ortiz’s hands were by his side. Ortiz was unable to answer the count and Mayweather was awarded the knockout.
"I was called to break by the referee and I obeyed exactly as I was told and then, boom, he blindsided me," Ortiz said.
Despite the confusion Ortiz and Mayweather seemed to both agree, as did referee Cortez, that the punch was legal.
Floyd Mayweather and Zab Judah were long time friends but claimed to be sworn enemies as the name of their Welterweight title fight suggested.
Judah opened up the fight winning three of the first four rounds but after that he was busted up and embarrassed by Mayweather.
At the end of the 10th round, Judah threw an intentional low blow and then punched Mayweather on the back of the head.
As Mayweather hobbled away in pain, his uncle Roger Mayweather climbed into the ring and went after Judah. This prompted Yoel Judah, Zab’s father and trainer to jump in the ring and attack Roger.
All hell would soon break loose and members of both fighters' entourages joined in the fray.
When it was over, Roger Mayweather was thrown out for starting the fight.
The fight resumed and Floyd Mayweather picked up where he left off, humiliating, mocking and taunting Zab Judah and his corner. Mayweather won a unanimous decision but the controversy continued.
Zab Judah’s promoter, Don King, protested and said Mayweather should have been disqualified because his uncle entered the ring during the fight. The Mayweather victory was upheld because referee Richard Steele actually stopped the fight when Mayweather was hit low.
As a result of the incident, Zab and Yoel Judah and Roger Mayweather were all suspended for a year and fined.
Zab Judah was a young undefeated 140 pound champion with a bright future when he stepped into the ring with veteran Kostya Tszyu.
Judah controlled the action in the first round and was full of confidence at the start of the second round. Judah, who often boxed with his hands at his side and used his quick reflexes to avoid punches, was dropped with a big straight right hand at the end of the round.
The punch badly hurt Judah, but he attempted to get right up. His legs were not under him and he again collapsed to the canvas. Rather than count, referee Jay Nady stopped the fight which Judah immediately contested.
Judah was inconsolable and repeatedly screamed “No, no, no.” He pushed Nady and even attempted to choke him. Judah was restrained by security and his father Yoel but was still enraged several minutes later and threw his stool in Nady’s direction. His actions led to him being fined $75,000 and he was suspended for six months.
Boxers are some of the toughest athletes on the planet. They have to be. They also have to be a little nuts. How else could you explain the desire to get into a ring and allow another man to beat on you?
Unfortunately, some fighters do not know when to turn the switch off. James Butler is a former Super Middleweight contender who never reached the elite level that so few boxers enjoy.
On the night of Nov. 23, 2001 he threw the first blow that would derail both his boxing career and his life.
Butler faced off with fellow contender Richard Grant in New York in a charity fight for the police and firemen affected by the Sept. 11th tragedies. Butler was a heavy favorite, but lost an upset decision to Grant.
After the fight, Butler and Grant shared hugs and congratulated each other for a good fight.
Without provocation, Butler nailed the defenseless Grant with a right hand and broke Grant's jaw. The injury required 26 stitches and Grant was out of action for nearly a year.
Butler would serve time in prison for the assault. He would fight again but was unable to revive his career.
In 2006, Butler pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter and arson and is currently serving a 29 year jail sentence.
Oliver McCall shook up the Heavyweight ranks when he knocked out Lennox Lewis and took his title in 1994.
Lewis and McCall would fight a rematch some three years later on Feb. 7, 1997, in what would become one of the most peculiar fights in boxing history.
Lewis won the early rounds without much trouble. McCall seemed to lose his mind and began crying in the middle of the fight. Referee Mills Lane had no choice but to stop the fight when McCall refused to fight back or protect himself.
"In the third round, he got in close, and then seemed frustrated, and then he just backed off and put his arms down, but then I saw his lips started to quiver and I thought, my God, is he crying?” Lewis said after the fight.
McCall’s eccentric behavior is one of the oddest moments in boxing history.
Riddick Bowe squared off with undefeated heavyweight contender Andrew Golota. Bowe was the heavy favorite entering the fight and he was definitely heavy. He entered the ring weighing over 250 lbs., the heaviest weight of his career.
Golota controlled the early rounds of the fight and appeared headed for the upset victory. However Golota could not stop throwing low blows and after being repeatedly warned, was disqualified in the 7th round.
As if the fight weren’t crazy enough, Bowe’s entourage jumped in the ring after the fight and jumped Golota.
Golota was busted in the head with a two-way radio and would later receive 11 stitches.
Soon after Golota was assaulted, his entourage entered the ring and a melee followed. The fighting spilled out of the ring and into the stands.
The situation became so hectic that commentator Jim Lampley fled to the top of the arena and attempted to continue the HBO coverage.
After several minutes, the police finally restored order. In the end, Golota's 70-year-old trainer Lou Duva was taken out on a stretcher. The fight was arguably the most chaotic post-boxing event in history.
When Evander Holyfield upset Mike Tyson in November of 1996, it was one of the biggest upsets in the heavyweight division and rematch was ordered the following year.
Like in the first fight, Holyfield beat Tyson to the punch and controlled the fight.
Tyson was growing frustrated after getting bullied for the first two rounds, and with his blood was boiling, after receiving what he believed were intentional head butts from Holyfield—one of those head butts from Holyfield cut Tyson open above his right eye—Tyson complained to referee Mills Lane. But, Lane didn’t warn or deduct any points from Holyfield.
At the start of the third round, Tyson came out to fight but did not have his mouthpiece in. Tyson was caught by the referee and ordered to put it back in.
Tyson had his best round of the fight but with under a minute remaining in the round he snapped. While engaged in a clinch with Holyfield, Tyson bit a piece off the top of Holyfield’s right ear and then pushed him in the back.
Lane called timeout and the ringside doctor assessed the damage to Holyfield’s ear after determining Holyfield could still fight Lane ordered the fight to continue.
The two men would clinch again and this time Tyson bit the left ear of Holyfield. For whatever reason Lane didn’t stop the fight and the men finished the round.
The fight was stopped after the round and Tyson went nuts and started taking swings at anyone standing in front of him. Tyson was suspended indefinitely for his actions during and after the fight.
There might not be a more bizarre series of events in in the history of prize fighting.