Joe Masterleo Responds to Shaft

By Joe Masterleo on September 26, 2011
Joe Masterleo Responds to Shaft
Mayweather was technically correct in popping Ortiz, according to the letter of the rule(s)

shaft 10:16am, 09/26/2011
There is hardly any objectivity in this article. More like a biased editorial. Masterleo must have lost a bundle betting on Ortiz.

Thank you for forwarding the piece alleging hate bias against Mayweather re: the Ortiz debacle. Among others who submit commentary, myself included, the writer offers a particular viewpoint, and a rather cogent one at that. That’s what a viewpoint is—a view from a point—of which there are 360 on the compass. The truth usually lies in the healthy integration of them all. It is to your journalistic integrity and credit that your staff welcomes them.

That said, as a response to my article, I do think the commentator missed the forest for the trees on this one, which is perhaps owing to my bad for not elaborating more on the spirit, as opposed to the letter of my comments. Such is a distinction with a big difference as it pertains to the Mayweather–Ortiz bout, if I may amplify and elaborate on same in what follows.

But first, if ever there exists a bias against Mayweather among fans and the media, and I strongly suspect there is, it is by dint of his persistent knack for alienating others, and is thereby thoroughly of his own doing—or shall I say undoing. While there is room in boxing for bravado and machismo, malignant forms of it are unacceptable as in all sport, and should have corrective consequences. Mayweather simply crosses the line. The man’s comportment lacks class and decorum, and is unbecoming a champion. Period. In life as in boxing, you reap what you sow. I suspect that’s why, as the outcome of this particular fight was controversial, so many were unwilling to give him the benefit of the doubt, even though technically, by the letter of the rules, regrettably, his performance will be forever recorded as a victory.

Secondly, from my viewpoint the boxing writers, Larry Merchant among them, seem to have done a pretty fair and balanced job of separating their reaction(s) to Mayweather’s abrasive personality style from his boxing skills, a perplexing paradox if there ever was one. To wit, short of praise, Merchant has done nothing but serially affirm and compliment the superior boxing skills of Mayweather, in writing and on-air, and did so amply throughout the Ortiz fight. So Mayweather’s beef about Merchant’s bias against him, and that of others, is without substance and is therefore unfounded, as are those of the writer in question. Rather, however disguised, chalk such accusations up to Mayweather sympathizers, and his own peculiar persecution complex. Recall, it’s the wasp who complains of other people’s stings.

Which brings me to my main point, or rebuttal. Anyone who follows boxing and denies the notion that the game is afoul is simply ignorant or a fool. Ditto, in denying the call for greater scrutiny and regulation of the fight game. That’s my point, and the spirit of the column, appropriately using Mayweather-Ortiz as case in point.

Now, in any effective (non-corrupt) regulatory body, there exists both the letter and spirit of its rules, regs, laws and principles. And the difference, say, between the letter or a rule and its spirit, is like the difference between a jab and a hook, or between lightning and a lightning bug. What relevance has this to Mayweather-Ortiz affair? Plenty.

Technically, as the writer underscores, Floyd Mayweather was awarded the victory by dint of a knockout, Ortiz having momentarily lapsed in focus, having been caught-up in extended and effusive apologies instead of appropriately protecting himself. And that, despite what referee Joe Cortez did or didn’t do, say or didn’t say. Mayweather was technically correct in popping Ortiz, that is, according to the letter of the rule(s)...but it says here, not according to its spirit. The letter of a rule minus its spirit, is like a boxing glove without an animating hand to inform it. And therein lies the issue. A rose by any other name still smells the same. Likewise, a cheap shot is a cheap shot, even though it is ruled technically/legally correct. Such comportment in the ring, for both men, was inexcusable and unbecoming boxers of championship caliber. And that, according to the letter and spirit of the fight game, or for that matter, any game.

Case in point? O.J. Simpson, a man technically and legally acquitted by jury on charges of murdering his wife. According to the letter of the law, O.J.’s hands are clean. But who among us buys it? Not a one in his/her right mind. Ditto the “legal” Mayweather sucker-punch. You can’t fool all the people all the time, and that’s why the crowd, the writers, and likely, the shank of the HBO viewing audience isn’t buying it, denying legitimacy, in spirit, to Mayweather’s “technical” victory.

Anyone for conducting a poll on the matter?

Notwithstanding, a regulatory body effectively administering any endeavor serves to scrutinize said endeavor, defining its purpose and goals while keeping the letter and spirit of its rules and regs properly reconciled, and in healthy balance. Is anyone out there willing to support the notion that such describes the current state of affairs in professional boxing? I didn’t think so. Any arguments to the contrary may initially sound good, but on review, aren’t good and sound.

The letter or rule of law must be in balance with its spirit. Ask any judge…save a boxing judge. Therefore, it says here the spirit of the rule(s) declares both fighters flagrantly out-of-bounds, each with the other in his own way. And as such, the Mayweather-Ortiz affair should be ruled “no-contest” with both boxers subject to fines accordingly, and ordered to rematch within 60 days. That’s right, ordered.

However, don’t hold your breath, or count on that happening. In its current state, boxing is too corrupt for that. In that sense, Mayweather is truly the current icon for its dark-side, appropriately nicknamed “Money.”

After all, what’s popular is not always right, and what’s right is not always popular. Notwithstanding charges of “Mayweather-hating” to the contrary.

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  1. "Old Yank" Schneider 03:45am, 09/27/2011

    So Joe, the morons like “sankofa” who led off comments to this thread, are very much the bread and butter of this sport’s fan base.  In “spirit”, no cleaner than the sport you criticize and lacking all the class, IQ and deportment of an ill-bred sport.

  2. "Old Yank" Schneider 03:42am, 09/27/2011

    This article is spot on.  I urge Joe Masterleo to give in to a simple truth—half the population, by definition, has an IQ under 100 and is therefore (through no fault of their own), unable to process “higher-thought”.  Indeed, the original article and this rebuttal to a comment are not about Mayweather, but rather about a sport that continues to have much of its appeal in a throwback to a more lawless state of existence.  So by virtue of the simple truth I urge Joe Masterleo to give in, be careful what you wish for; a more regulated state of boxing would likely cause an exodus of those who are drawn to a more lawless state of existence—resulting in about a 50% loss of fans—a state boxing can ill afford.

  3. sankofa 07:05pm, 09/26/2011

    42-0; haters will hate, because that’s what they do. you can rap shit up in a gift box, but it’s still shit. Objective journalism is a oxymoron, and catering to hater fans makes cats like you pied pipers of Mayweather hating.

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