Unbeaten Floyd Mayweather won the World Boxing Council welterweight championship with a controversial fourth-round knockout of Victor Ortiz in Las Vegas.
Mayweather knocked out Ortiz at 2:59 of the fourth round, as he appeared to hit the champion during a break in the fight with a left-right combination while he had his hands at his side and was looking the other way.
The referee had stopped the fight in mid-round just seconds earlier to deduct a point from Ortiz for head-butting Mayweather in the corner during a vicious exchange of punches.
Ortiz had just finished apologizing twice to Mayweather for the head butt and was looking to the referee for guidance when Mayweather surprised him with a sucker punch.
The MGM Hotel and Casino crowd booed the decision by the referee to give the victory to Mayweather, who had been winning the 147-pound fight by a slim margin through the first three rounds.
The 34-year-old Mayweather is now 42-0 with 26 knockouts and looked impressive early despite taking 16 months off since his last fight.
In the fourth round the two fighters were locked in a corner exchanging blows when Ortiz thrust his head up and forward to hit Mayweather, who had his back to the ropes.
Mayweather, who was not cut, immediately complained to the referee, who stopped the fight to deduct a point from Ortiz. Ortiz immediately apologized to Mayweather.
The fighters then moved to the centre of the ring and Ortiz put his arms around Mayweather and apologized a second time.
Ortiz dropped his hands and stepped back as Mayweather caught him unaware with a quick left that stunned Ortiz before knocking him down with a straight right hand while the referee was looking the other way.
Ortiz had been fighting well up to that point, showing he was more than just Mayweather’s tuneup for a possible fight with Filipino champ Manny Pacquiao next year.
The 24-year-old Ortiz was fighting for the second time as a true welterweight as his record fell to 29-3-2 with 22 knockouts.
Buford Balony says: Mayweather,toughen up and stop ducking Manny.