Middleweight beltholder Peter Quillin could soon defend his WBO title against promotional stablemate Danny Jacobs.
'Older, wiser' Mayweather to face Alvarez
Floyd Mayweather on fighting Saul "Canelo" Alvarez: "Canelo is one of the top guys in the sport of boxing. This is what he wanted, this is what I wanted, this is what the fans want. Why not take the fight now?"
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- By nearly 5:00 p.m., approximately five hours after having arrived for the scheduled 1:00 p.m. press conference, Floyd Mayweather Jr. still was signing autographs for the close to 1,000 fans who had packed the Howard Theatre on a sweltering Tuesday afternoon.
The event marked the second in an 11-city promotional tour featuring Mayweather (44-0, 26 knockouts), THE RING's No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter, and THE RING 154-pound champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (42-0-1, 30 KOs) in advance of their clash on Sept. 14 Showtime Pay Per View at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
A day earlier, at New York's Times Square, it was Alvarez, a 22-year-old Mexican star, who was the more popular boxer to the partisan Latino crowd of around 2,000 who chanted his nickname "Canelo."
But at the Howard Theatre, it was the eight-belt winning Mayweather who rallied the fans with his mantra, shouting "hard work," and eliciting their responses of "dedication" during his turn at the podium.
Then, long after the conference had ended, Mayweather, 36, lingered to both take and sign photographs, in addition to writing his signature on items ranging from boxing gloves to "foam fingers."
"I'm happy to be in this position. I love being in this position. I think that it's extremely exciting. The crowd loves it, I love it. I don't really know how the other fighter feels," said Mayweather, who, last June, topped Forbes' list of its 100 highest paid athletes internationally, trumping second-place boxing rival Manny Pacquiao with $62 million from earnings and endorsements.
"Canelo is one of the top guys in the sport of boxing. This is what he wanted, this is what I wanted, this is what the fans want. Why not take the fight now? Time waits for no one. It's about giving the fans excitement. It's about going out there and putting on a tremendous show. I feel that we're both going to go out there and put on a helluva fight. That's my gut feeling."
Mayweather is coming off a one-sided unanimous decision victory over Robert Guerrero (31-2-1, 18 KOs) in May.
The triumph over Guerrero had followed a two-month jail stint from June 1 through Aug. 3 that had been preceded by a a unanimous decision win over Miguel Cotto by unanimous decision last May 5 of last year.
Against Guerrero, Mayweather reunited with Floyd Mayweather Sr., his former trainer, for the first time in just over 13 years, apparently ending a widely-reported turbulent relationship.
The union with Floyd Sr. appears to be part of a more matrure, disciplined and potentially less controversial Floyd Jr.
"It's a different Floyd, a Floyd who has matured and who realizes that he is the face of the sport and the highest paid athlete in the world, and he has assumed some of those responsibilities that go with that. A lot of fans are looking up to him. He's become a different Floyd," said Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, which is handling the fight with Mayweather Promotions.
But that doesn't mean that Mayweather has any plans of being anything other than the dominant fighter he always has been, even as he tackles the difficult challenge of facing Mexico's most popular young star in Alvarez, who turns 23 next month.
"Do I feel 36? I feel healthy and strong. I don't know how any other 36-year-old guy feels, but I feel healthy and strong. I feel like I did when I was 19," said Mayweather, who won his first world title as a 21-year-old 130-pounder with an eighth-round knockout of Genaro Hernandez in October of 1998.
"I feel like over the years, when I look at my career, it was never bragging or boasting, because everything that I said I was going to do, I did. You've got guys that are talking about it, but they're not doing it. That's considered bragging or boasting. But everything that I've talked about in my career, I did. Like I've said before, I'm a lot older, I'm a lot wiser."
On Monday night, not long after arriving in Washington, D.C., an energetic Mayweather and some of his close, local associates even played some basketball at Dunbar High in Washington, D.C.
"They've got some legends from Dunbar from what I hear," said Mayweather, who said that action took place somewhere between midnight and 1 a.m.
Against Alvarez, Mayweather will be fighting twice within the same year for the first time since 2007, when he defeated both Oscar De La Hoya by unanimous decision in May of that year, and Ricky Hatton, the latter, by 10th-round stoppage in December of that year for the first loss of Hatton's career.
"I think that I'm going to be a lot sharper because I'm active," Mayweather, who ended a 21-month ring absence when he unanimously decisioned Juan Manuel Marquez in September of 2009.
"That's no different from a guy that's in a three-point shooting contest. If you got a guy that's shooting every day, and a guy that's shooting once a week, the guy that's shooting every day is going to be a lot sharper. I think that staying active, I'm going to be extremely sharp."
In victory over Alvarez, when will Mayweather fight again?
"The month of May, since I'm Mayweather, that's always a great time for me," said Mayweather. "So we see us fighting again in May, and then, fighting again in September."
Remaining schedule for Floyd Mayweather-Alvarez:
Photo by Ester Lin, Showtime
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org