By Ivan G. Goldman
Floyd Mayweather, who’s devoted about three decades of his life to the sport, today matter-of-factly mentioned that he’s not a boxing fan.
This startling information came at the media conference to kick off publicity for his May 2 super-fight with Manny Pacquiao. Asked whether he’d seen any slippage in the Philippines congressman, he replied:
“In the last five or six years I think I’ve seen him fight twice. I’m not a boxing fan.” He prefers to follow football and basketball, he said. He’s been known to lay down huge bundles of cash to make wagers at sports books in Las Vegas, where he makes his home.
Mayweather endured 35 minutes of questioning in a room at the Nokia Centre in downtown Los Angeles, where about 100 privileged media members gathered. Another 600, we were told, were outside, unable to gain access to this part of the program. They were granted credentials, but didn’t make the cut for top credentials. I wonder whether any of the boxing-is-dead prophets were among them.
Some other topics raised:
Did he think about this fight when he was in jail two years ago? “No, I focus on whatever opponent comes next.”
He feels, he said, no sense of relief that this particular fight — a fight the world hungers for — was finally made. “I don’t live my life that way.”
As for the southpaw angle, he said simply that he’s faced 8 southpaws as a pro and beaten them all. Southpaw sparring partners Zab Judah and DeMarcus Corley, he said, are helping him polish those skills.
The chemistry with his father, who’s training him again, is still there, he said. “We’re pushing ourselves. We’re not exactly where we want to be, but we’ll get there.”
How does he see the fight in his mind? (I loved this reply) “I’m not a psychic.”
Floyd has been in the public eye for many years, and he’s a polished media conference performer.
“I don’t have nothing to prove. I know my skills.” Records are made to be broken, he added, “but I don’t see any young fighter who’s gonna break my record.” He’s 47-0 (26 KOs) and at age 38, creeping up on 50 wins. As for his age, he said, “I feel good.”
“When I face opponents, I can figure a guy out.” Pacquiao’s style against his makes for “a very exciting matchup.”
“Any fighter is dangerous.” But, he added, “a fighter who’s lost before, losing is in the back of his mind.” Pacquiao, at age 36, is 57-5-2 (38 KOs). He’s got good defense, but his specialty is constant pressure, which demands great conditioning.
Sometimes, Mayweather said, “you can dominate a guy who’s got a lot of experience, but he knows how to survive. Sometimes they go into survival mode. They want to say, ‘I went in with Floyd Mayweather, and he didn’t knock me out.’”
Mayweather often repeated his theme that this is just another fight, and he expects the usual result. Still, “to get where he is,” Mayweather said of his opponent, “it’s obvious that he had to do something right.”
Doesn’t it weigh on his mind that this is the biggest fight of his career? “It’s the same thing,” insisted Floyd.
“I didn’t focus on this fight. If it was gonna happen, it was gonna happen.
After this, we’re going to move on to another guy.”
New York Times best-selling author Ivan G. Goldman’s Sick Justice: Inside the American Gulag was released in 2013 by Potomac Books. Watch for The Debtor Class: A Novel from Permanent Press in spring, 2015. More information here.