Boxing, a sport that thrives off promotion, got a much-needed publicity boost on Saturday night when Floyd Mayweather Jr. defeated Victor Ortiz in Las Vegas.
To many, the conclusion to the fight wasn't satisfying, but still worthy of plenty of talk. The bout ended in controversial fashion after Ortiz delivered an unprovoked lunging headbutt and Mayweather responded by issuing a quick-start left and right cross combination that dropped Ortiz after the two boxers put their fists together in an act of goodwill, and to restart the fight.
The tapping of fists is a customary act in boxing, and usually involves both boxers taking a significant pause before restarting. Only for Mayweather, that pause lasted about a half second.
The Mayweather combo were knockout punches, and Ortiz failed to stand after veteran referee Joe Cortez's 10 count.
It didn't seem as though Cortez had done an adequate separation of Mayweather and Ortiz, but that didn't stop Mayweather from retaliating after the headbutt. Cortez probably should have put both boxers in their corners, and then restarted the fight after Ortiz gave Mayweather a kiss on the cheek, which probably didn't go over well with Mayweather.
I took the break by the referee and I obeyed exactly as I was told, Ortiz said. And then, boom, he blindsided me.
Whether Mayweather's combo was justified or not, Saturday's result had people chatting and blogging about boxing again.
At the moment, mixed martial arts has taken much of the spotlight away from boxing. UFC continues to grow due to the stewardship of president Dana White who runs the organization with mandatory title defenses.
After a 16-month layoff, Mayweather has helped bring boxing back into relevance. Boxing is a sport that relies heavily on high-profile names, and Mayweather is just one of two boxers that has strong name-recognition.
Manny Pacquiao is the other high-profile boxer, and he has legions of fans in the Philippines and throughout the world. Pacquiao will battle Juan Manuel Marquez for the third time in November, and Mayweather's bout with Ortiz only strengthens interest in Pacquiao's fight.
The more the talk about Mayweather - Ortiz outcome, the more build-up Pacquiao - Marquez III gets, and the better the chances boxing doesn't fade into obscurity in the shadow of UFC.
Many boxing fans are hoping for a Mayweather - Pacquiao fight, which could be the next bout for both fighters. With Mayweather and Pacquiao potentially able to take home $50 million each for the bout, the chances are good that it will happen, despite a great deal of pessimism from promoter Bob Arum, and others.
Not only would the fight be a pay-per-view bonanza, it would be a boxing purist's dream come true. Pacquiao is a very aggressive and hard puncher with an excellent chin, while Mayweather is a defensive specialist with the ability to sneak in hard punches on his opponents.
Neither boxer will have ever faced a better opponent in their careers, and neither can expect a bigger payday.