Unbeaten Floyd Mayweather knows how to captivate an audience, which is exactly what the six-time titleholder did during an open workout Friday at his own Las Vegas gym.
Mayweather, in his early preparation for a fight against Victor Ortiz on Sept. 17, trained before an exclusive gathering of British media and a busload of British fans who chartered a coach to his training facility.
They are in Las Vegas to witness Saturday night's Amir Khan-Zab Judah fight at the Mandalay Bay Hotel.
Mayweather discussed his victory over Judah I 2006, his 10th-round knockout of former English belt-holder Ricky Hatton the following year and the prospect of facing Manny Pacquiao, as well as the Filipino icon’s date with Juan Manuel Marquez on Nov. 12. Mayweather easily outpointed Marquez in 2009.
The Las Vegas resident also addressed comparisons of himself to Hall of Famer Pernell Whitaker, a man known for his wizardry who now trains Judah.
Below are some of Mayweather's comments.
Comparing himself to Pacquiao: "They said I was too big for Marquez, but not too big for Pacquiao. But they [Pacquiao and Marquez] are the same size. So I don’t understand. How can I not be rated No. 1 if I haven’t been beaten?
But I am not worried about the Pacquiao thing at all. I can do whatever I want in this sport. I don’t worry about the pound-for pound thing. I don’t rate myself. I just go out and perform and look good and try to impress the fans and to be victorious.
What makes me not the best? You’ve got this guy that people rate [Pacquiao] and he’s already been beaten."
On facing Manny Pacquiao or Amir Khan: “Floyd Mayweather is in the sport to give great performances. And I must be happy myself before I can make anyone else happy. The fans would love to see me fight anybody. The British fans would love to see me fight Amir Khan. I'm pretty sure the Filipino fans would want to see me fight Pacquiao. The American fans would love to see me fight anybody."
On how his body is holding up at 34 and why he came back: "I still feel good, I’m focused, my mind is sharp and I’m as hungry as Day One. I have the will to win, to be the best. Five years ago I was undefeated. I’m still undefeated. What triggered me to come back this time, I went to the Victor Ortiz fight. I was so excited, I spent the whole night shadow boxing afterwards. I don’t want just be a great champion, but a great father too."
On his secret to remaining at the top: "Being a smart, defensive fighter. At first, they said a defensive fighter is a boring fighter, but I don't think a boring fighter would be breaking records like I have done in the sport of boxing. To hold the record for the highest gate and pay per view? I love the fans in the United Kingdom. I go over there and train, and 5,000 fans show up. It's truly marvelous. Unbelievable."
On who is better defensively, Whitaker or him: "He was a hell of a defensive fighter and I'm a defensive fighter. Two different styles. He lasted a long time in the sport, and I have lasted a long time. I want him to go out there and get more fighters and become one of the best trainers in the sport."
Specifically on Khan: "Amir Khan came here [to Mayweather’s gym] and he trained with my uncle Roger a few times. Good young fighter."
On whether Khan has been tested: "I don't know. You don't know what can happen in this sport. You see a lot of crazy things happen in the sport of boxing. I wish both guys all the best on Saturday."
On the fact that Khan has expressed the desire to fight him: "In the fight game, everybody wants to fight Floyd Mayweather. We take one fight at a time, and he must get past the obstacle that’s in front of him, and then we’ll go from there. I’ve watched him fight once and seen some highlights.
He was taking shots towards the end against Marcos Maidana. I like him, but it’s not anything we haven’t seen before in the sport of boxing. When you are facing me, you have reached the pinnacle."
On Judah: “Zab has a legendary trainer. Whitaker knows what it’s like to be in the crunch. Experience plays a major, major part in a fight of this magnitude. Zab Judah has been in there with everybody."
On the Judah-Khan fight: "I think that on Saturday night, the best man will win. It’s going to come down to who wants it more, who is the smarter fighter, who has the better chin. The best man will win. I can’t say. I’ve been in there with Zab Judah before at 147. He was the undisputed champion at 147, and he was a champion at 140, and both are explosive fighters. It’s a good fight to watch.
“I have been really focused on my fight, so I don't know who wins between Amir Khan and Zab Judah. I've been telling them 'make sure you run my commercial during the fight.'"
On whether Americans will take to Khan: "You really don’t know. I just happened to be blessed and have a fan base in both places. With the right team and dedicating yourself to the sport, anything can happen. Anything is possible."
On potentially fighting in England: "Hopefully soon. To be where I’m at in the sport, at the top, and still dominating 15 or 16 years later. I would love to come and fight at Wembley [Stadium]. Fingers crossed, we can only hope for the best. When [Khan] worked with Roger, he looked pretty good. Young, strong fighter. I never sparred with him. He’s an OK fighter. I’ve got to do what I do best and dedicate myself to my job – which is to be the best."
On Hatton: “Ricky Hatton was a warrior. I take my hat off to him. He was a true warrior. We will miss him in boxing. The fans can sing for me now, though. He was a real no-holds-barred aggressive fighter."
Comparing Britons Hatton, Khan and Lennox Lewis: "Amir Khan is a more jumpy fighter. Ricky Hatton was too, but he was real, real aggressive. They are different styles. You had Lennox Lewis, then Hatton now Amir Khan. I’m pretty sure there will be an up-and-coming British fighter next."