Floyd Mayweather Jr. was a gracious host for media members on Tuesday, fielding questions and providing a full display of training routines during an open workout at his Las Vegas-based gym.
“I’m always happy to go out there and put on a pleasing performance for the fans,” said Mayweather, who turned 35 in February. “The media and the people that have been supporting me for years.”
The WBC welterweight titleholder was sweating profusely after having hammered the heavy bag, slapped the speed bag and also briskly banged on the mitts with his uncle and trainer, Roger Mayweather Jr.
“Uncle Roger said this is the hardest he’s ever seen me train. This is the hardest he’s ever seen me work for a fight,” said Mayweather, whose workout was streamed live over a number of websites, including RingTV.com.
“It’s been a roller coaster ride throughout my whole career, but I’m blessed to be where I am and I want to continue to go out there and dominate. The hard work has been done. During fight week, we will focus on shadow boxing, mental work and light training.”
Mayweather (42-0, 26 knockouts) is preparing to go for his eighth title belt over five weight divisions against WBA junior middleweight titleholder Miguel Cotto (37-2, 30 KOs) on May 5 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“Last time I checked, all 42 [of my opponents] have been dangerous. But they all ended up in the same place,” said Mayweather. “I think I can look into a guy’s eyes and I can see the body language. I know when he’s a beaten fighter.”
But Mayweather praised Cotto, whom he views as an unbeaten fighter. Cotto was first vanquished by Antonio Margarito in July of 2008, and then, Manny Pacquiao in November of 2009 by 11th- and 12th-round knockouts, respctively.
But Mayweather dismisses the losses, believing that Margarito’s gloves were loaded, and that Cotto was physically drained against Pacquiao, whom he fought at a contracted catchweight of 145 pounds.
“I can’t overlook a guy like Miguel Cotto. The fans should watch this [fight,] because in my eyes, Miguel Cotto is an undefeated fighter,” said Mayweather.
“He fought one guy at a catch weight and another guy who got in trouble for cheating. He’s a strong knockout puncher and he always comes out and fights in a pleasing way.”
MAYWEATHER CREDITS HAND-WRAPPING GURU RAFAEL GARCIA
Mayweather also found time to credit guru Rafael Garcia, whose meticulous wrapping has remedied the fighter’s once-brittle hand problems.
With a list of former clients that includes “The Hands Of Stone,” Roberto Duran, Garcia has been wrapping Mayweather’s hands since January of 2001, when he stopped Diego Corrales in the 10th round following five knockdowns.
Prior to working with him, Garcia has said that Mayweather had been wrapping his hands too tightly, had been limiting blood circulation.
“Rafael is the godfather of boxing. He has done a great job,” said Mayweather. “He is a hand and eye specialist and a guy I wouldn’t trade in for anything in the world.”
It is no secret that the outspoken Mayweather has profited from being among the world’s most disliked celebrities.
During a recent interview on HBO’s “Floyd Mayweather: Speaking Out,” for example, Mayweather said he had enough power to have President Barack Obama carry his title belt into the ring if he ever faced Pacquiao, compared himself favorably to Muhammad Ali in terms of the racial resentment he believes he elicits from his detractors, addressed his controversial comments about Asian New York Nicks’ guard Jeremy Lin and also his adversarial relationship with HBO commentator, Larry Merchant.
“Over the last 12 months, Floyd Mayweather has earned more money than any athlete in the entire world,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “Floyd is one of the most despised athletes in the world, but he’s also the most talented athlete in the entire world. What other athlete do you know who has dominated his sport for 16 years?”
MAYWEATHER LIKES AN ADRIEN BRONER-YURIORKIS GAMBOA TILT
THE RING’s No. 3-rated junior lightweight Adrien Broner (23-0, 19 KOs) will defend his WBO crown against England’s twice-beaten Gary Sykes on the May 19 undercard of the HBO-televised rematch between IBF/WBA junior welterweight beltholder Lamont Peterson and Amir Khan at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas.
THE RING’s No. 1-rated featherweight, Yuriorkis Gamboa (21-0, 16 KOs), recently pulled out of a scheduled April 14 lightweight bout with Brandon Rios, who instead won a controversial split-decision over replacement Richard Abril.
Broner has said that he models his style after that of Mayweather, and Gamboa has spent time recently training at Mayweather’s gym.
“I like Adrien Broner. I think I’ve seen him, like, two or three times. He’s a strong and a solid young fighter,” said Mayweather to a gathering of reporters. “In the future, I think Adrien Broner would match up good with Yuri Gamboa.”
VARGAS COULD FACE STEVE FORBES
The 22-year-old Vargas (18-0, 10 KOs) was set to face Alfonso Gomez (23-5-2, 12 KOs) until Gomez pulled out of the fight due to back spasms earlier this week. Former titleholder Steve Forbes (35-10, 11 KOs), who is 35, is being considered and will be the likely replacement for Gomez.
“I don’t know anyone who has been in this position as much as me. I’ve been around the sport for a while. I have a massive amateur background and I’m not scared of anyone,” said Vargas.
“There are different types of fighters: Those that try to beat you physically and those that try to beat you mentally. Whoever they put in front of me can try, but it isn’t going to happen. I’m a very confident fighter and whoever they have in front of me, I’ll be ready.”
Vargas is coming off a treacherous 10-round unanimous decision over Lanardo Tyner during which he won all but one round on the three judges’ cards. But the fight was not easy.
In fact, it was a brawl that featured two low blows by each of the boxers and exchanges long after the bell following the first, second and fifth rounds. Vargas and Tyner each tasted the canvas twice — none of which were official knockdowns.
Vargas earned his third straight win since defeating former titleholder Vivian Harris in July of last year, and was coming off September’s 10-round split-decision over fringe contender Josesito Lopez on November’s undercard of Mayweather’s fourth-round stoppage of Victor Ortiz.
Having also scored a second-round knockout of Walter Estrada in July, Vargas now looks to face Gomez, who is coming off coming off September’s contentious sixth-round knockout loss to Alvarez (39-0-1, 29 KOs) after having given Alvarez some problems with his pressure early on.
Vargas is being trained by Robert Alcazar, who once trained Oscar De La Hoya, president of Golden Boy Promotions.
“Robert has been teaching me a lot and I’m looking forward to learning more. Robert is a great trainer and he’s teaching me a style that I want to learn and build on,” said Vargas. “After people see me on pay-per-view, I think they’ll begin to recognize me and get to know who I am.”
LATIMORE STEPS UP WITH CARLOS QUINTANA IN CLASH OF SOUTHPAWS
Quintana is one of two men to have vanquished Paul Williams, doing so by unanimous decision in February of 2008 before being knocked out in the first round of their return bout in June of that same year.
Quintana’s ninth-round stoppage win over Yoryi Estrella in February helped him to bounce back from an eighth-round knockout loss to Andre Berto in April of 2010.
“I know May 5 is going to be a tough fight, but people can expect to see fireworks,” said Latimore. “On May 5, I expected to have my hand raised when it’s all said and done.”
Latimore is promoted by Mayweather, whom he met when Mayweather was in need of quality left-handed sparring for his eventual fourth-round knockout that dethroned Victor Ortiz as WBC welterweight beltholder last September.
“When I was working with Floyd, it wasn’t easy at all. It was tough, but it was the best thing that could happen to me. He took me under his wing and now I’m going to take care of him by getting that victory on May 5,” said Latimore, who is trained by Mayweather’s uncle, Jeff Mayweather.
“It’s been great working with Jeff. I actually have someone who’s bringing out the best in me. Now that I’m with a promotional company that cares about me, my family and what’s best for my career, the hard work and dedication is paying off.”
In three of his biggest fights, Latimore has lost by split-decision loss to Cory Spinks in 2009 in a 12-round bout for the vacant IBF title, and a loss to Sechew Powell in 2010, the latter of which was a rematch of Latimore’s seventh-round TKO victory over Powell in June of 2008.
In his last fight in February, Latimore had to rise from knockdowns in the ninth and 10th rounds to salvage a majority decision over late replacement Milton Nunez, of Colombia, in a Showtime-televised matchup.
MAYWEATHER ON RETIREMENT?
Asked how long he believed he would continue to box, Mayweather emphasized that, thanks to his defensive prowess, he has not taken a beating in a fight.
“I haven’t taken any abuse in the sport of boxing, [but] I think I’m done before 38,” said Mayweather. “I don’t think I have changed, maybe I don’t move as much. I’m going much more toe-to-toe these days.”
ON CHANGING HIS NICKNAME TO ‘MONEY’ FROM ‘PRETTY BOY’
“The nickname ‘Money’ came from when I was joking and throwing money into the camera,” on HBO’s 24/7, said Mayweather. “So it stuck with me. You can’t be a 35-year-old man calling yourself ‘Pretty Boy.’”
Photos by Gene Blevins, Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions