Floyd Mayweather grasps the neck of Victor Ortiz during a confrontation… (Julie Jacobson / Associated…)
Reporting from Las Vegas — Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Victor Ortiz stood nose to nose Friday, on the eve of their world welterweight championship fight, having trained their bodies to peak condition.
Ortiz pressed his forehead to his challenger's, Mayweather pushed forward. For emphasis, Mayweather's right hand grasped at Ortiz's neck, a finger jamming upward under the champion's jaw.
The most important fact of the day was that Ortiz, 24, weighed in at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds while the 34-year-old Mayweather (41-0, 25 knockouts) weighed 1461/2.
Establishing why this confrontation occurred was speculation.
"Mayweather's pretty nervous, he knows he'll have the hardest fight of his life," Ortiz's trainer, Danny Garcia, said.
"Distractions are only things you see when you lose focus," Ortiz's manager Rolando Arellano said. "Mayweather can do whatever … he wants. We got one thing on our mind, and if a legendary 41-0 fighter has to do that, that's a clear sign of insecurity and inadequacy."
Mayweather's chief advisor, Leonard Ellerbe, blamed the escalation on Ortiz's immaturity.
"The kid's never been on a stage like this before," said Ellerbe. "He finally realized, 'I'm going to be fighting the great Floyd Mayweather.'
"Floyd, as always, was cool and calm. You could see the kid's nerves looking into his eyes."
The fighters were then represented in a rules meeting with the Nevada State Athletic Commission and the World Boxing Council.
The Ortiz camp has already written a letter to the commission alleging Mayweather throws too many elbows. Mayweather will be paid a guaranteed $25 million for the bout, with Ortiz earning $2 million.
At the meeting, Arellano told WBC supervisor Chuck Williams and commission executive Keith Kizer that Mayweather "gains an unfair advantage," and commits an "abuse of rules," with elbows, and that he turns his back to lure opponents into possible point deductions.
"The commission has assigned one of the most experienced referees in the world," Williams told Arellano of veteran referee Joe Cortez.
Garcia sounded a warning if Cortez fails to notice Mayweather's "dirty" tactics.
"What's going to happen if I tell Victor to hit Floyd in the [privates]?" Garcia asked. "If he wants to fight dirty, we'll fight dirty.
"We'll win this fight. No matter what."
Ortiz (29-2-2, 22 KOs) is braced for Mayweather's head games continuing even until the first bell. There have been whispers Mayweather has invited Ortiz's bitterly split ex-trainer Robert Garcia — Danny's brother — and the father who Ortiz said abandoned him in Kansas to accompany him into the ring.
On Friday, Mayweather's father, Floyd Sr., stood by the weigh-in stage and was paid no attention by the fighter, who threw the elder Mayweather out of his gym several weeks ago in an expletive-filled exchange filmed by HBO.
"He can bring anybody he wants," Danny Garcia said. "We're going to fight the same way we've planned."