Sunday, Sept. 18, 2011 | 2:05 a.m.
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One thought kept Victor Ortiz positive after losing his WBC welterweight championship belt to Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Saturday night — the idea of a rematch.
The 24-year-old Ortiz spent the post-fight press conference smiling, laughing and joking. Although he lost via fourth-round knockout in the biggest fight of his career, Ortiz handled the situation better than his glut of outraged supporters at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
“I’m just blessed to be in this position,” Ortiz, who made a guaranteed $2 million, said. “But at the same time, I would love a rematch.”
Mayweather controversially finished the fight when he threw a left hook followed by a straight right while Ortiz had his hands down and was unsure if referee Joe Cortez had initiated a restart.
The break in action was only necessary because of an illegal head butt from Ortiz. Ortiz controlled Mayweather throughout the fourth round and had him against the ropes. Instead of throwing his hands, Ortiz lunged headfirst into Mayweather’s chin.
Mayweather said the illegal move busted the inside and outside of his mouth. It also set off the unexpected chain of events that followed.
“I got my penalty,” Ortiz said. “They took my point away. Then he just took me out. At the end of the day, everyone has their opinion. But my opinion is it wasn’t a fair fight.”
Ortiz and his team believe the promise of a large payday will entice Mayweather into accepting another bout. Mayweather made at least $25 million Saturday night and Ortiz’s manager surmised a rematch would make more money than “with any other opponent.”
That’s, of course, a ludicrous claim. Most project a matchup with fellow pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao would come in as the top grossing boxing event of all time.
But if a deal can’t be reached with Pacquiao, which appears likely given the history between the two fighters, Mayweather sounded open to granting Ortiz his wish.
“If he feels like it was a fluke or it didn’t get done right, then I’ll do it again,” Mayweather said. “I’ll do the same thing again.”
Mayweather argued that even if some viewed the deciding sequence as dirty, he was on his way to getting the same result in a later round. Mayweather dominated the opening three rounds by using his quickness to land clean shots on Ortiz.
All three judges had him ahead on their scorecards, with only one round going Ortiz’s way. But that didn’t stop Ortiz from saying he felt like he was ahead or at least seizing the momentum.
“I was warming up,” Ortiz said. “It was just the fourth round. It was just the beginning. I guess we’ll never know. Stuff happens.”
Ortiz admitted he made a mistake by not protecting himself after apologizing to Mayweather for the head butt. He was remorseful for the cheap shot and promised it wouldn’t happen if the two met again.
Winning a second meeting is the only way Ortiz thinks Mayweather can show he’s the best boxer in the world.
“Floyd is a great fighter,” Ortiz said. “I’m still not convinced, though.”
“I’ll be champion again. Within the next six months, I’ll be champion.”