During Wednesday’s final press conference for Saturday night’s HBO Pay Per View-televised fight with WBA junior middleweight titleholder Miguel Cotto, WBC welterweight beltholder Floyd Mayweather Jr. addressed a range of topics.
Mayweather (42-0, 26 knockouts) said he is not concerned about his impending jail time, and pointed to his defensive style, strict training regimen and selective attack as having sustained and preserved his 35-year-old body over the course of his 16-year career.
Mayweather contends that he is prepared for whatever approach the 31-year-old Cotto (37-2, 30 KOs) chooses, and questions the ability of his Puerto Rican counterpart to avoid damage, given the facial punishment he absorbed in knockout losses to Antonio Margarito and Manny Pacquiao.
If Cotto elects to engage in a close quarters battle, as suggested by former three-division champion, Felix Trainidad, Mayweather said he is ready, citing past victories over Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley, as well as September’s foul-filled, fourth-round knockout of Victor Ortiz.
Mayweather, who also owns a win over four-division titlewinner Juan Manuel Marquez, dismisses the notion that Cotto can match his ring generalship and boxing prowess, pointing to what he believes was a more dominant victory over mutual opponent Mosley.
Pertaining to Cotto’s new trainer, Pedro Diaz, a former Cuban amateur coach, Mayweather hinted that he has received information that will defuse his effectiveness from former titlewinner Yuriorkis Gamboa, a former Cuban Olympic gold medalist.
Below are Mayweather’s comments:
Floyd Mayweather on his impending jail sentence:
“I’m here to fight. Me going to jail is just another day. Just another day. I don’t even worry about that. I’m being honest. One thing about me, I’m always going to give it to you straight. I’m not going to bulls–t you guys. I don’t even think about that.
“My main focus is my job. I’m going to go out there and do my job and go out there and be at my best at doing my job. I don’t think nobody is stopping the judge from making a living. Like I’ve said, she’s a great person. The judge is a great person.
“The decision that she made is her decision. I wish her nothing but the best. The only thing that I can do is to live and learn and take it as a learning experience and, like I’ve said before, keep living my life.”
Mayweather on being in yet another big fight:
“It’s a routine. It’s to the point where basically it’s a routine. The fighter is not the same fighter, so you train differently. But as far as doing press conferences and dealing with the media, that’s basically the same. But the opponent is different.
“Each and every time out, you always want to push yourself as far as you can push yourself. It’s not that I’m relaxed, it’s just that I’ve been here before. I embrace pressure if there’s any pressure. I just look at it as it’s just another day. Just another fight.
“I don’t worry about nothing. I just go and train and I push myself to the limit. I work hard and whoever they put in front of me, I beat, and then they make excuses. It’s going to be another excuse after this one.
“There’s been excuses for years. It’s always going to be like that in my career, because I’ve never had a knock-down, drag-out fight. So if you don’t have a knock-down fight, it’s like, ‘well we don’t know what’s going to happen in this fight.
“But most times, I make it look so easy that people are like, ‘Man, that’s it?’ So they’re always trying to get guys and build guys so that they can step up to the plate and challenge me. “
On Cotto’s propensity to make it a knock-down, drag-out fight:
“Possibly. Possibly. I’m just saying that if he did turn it into a dog fight, he can’t get to the target before I get to the target. So, even though he can punch, you’ve got to realize this. He’s hit the canvas before, and not just by Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito.
“There’s been other guys. So, you look at that. Ortiz hit me with a head butt the last time I checked, and of course, in the Shane Mosley fight, I got hit with a shot. But you guys have to realize that I had been off for a year. I didn’t take no punishment in the Marquez fight.
“I was off two years before that fight and off a year before I fought Mosley. So Mosley woke me up, and all that it did was make me tighten my game up and dig down and go to that next level.”
On whether he has to make adjustments in training due to his age:
“I’ll just say that I’m in tremendous shape. I worked hard this camp. I worked really, really hard this camp. I just think that it’s all of the work that I’ve brought to the boxing gym. I’ve brought in solid work. Strong 160-pounders. Solid 154-pounders. Strong 168-pounder.
“It was the strong, solid work that I brought to the training camp to prepare for this camp. Once I get there, once I get all my stuff on and I get going, I’m going to work. I work from like 3 p.m. in the afternoon to 8 p.m. at night in the boxing gym. I work on my craft, move around the ring.
“After my hard training day is over, I sit around the ring and just work on my art. Age? It don’t matter. I’m getting better. That’s not just what I’m saying, it’s what everyone in the gym is saying. They’re saying, ‘Floyd, you’re not getting older, you’re getting better.'”
On the notion that Cotto may attempt so use a body attack, as did De La Hoya and Mosley:
“I think I’ve heard that numerous, numerous times in my career. I don’t overlook nobody. I don’t overlook no guy. I can’t say what he does bad or what he does good. But he has done something right so far to get to this level. I can say that.
“I think that it looks easy on the outside, but I can go to the body good also. A lot of times you hear different things, like ‘Mayweather don’t do that, or he don’t do this.’ If I can beat you one way, why even go another way? Why not just do one thing.
“If I can beat you with the one-two, why not do that? If I’ve got to throw combinations, that’s what I will use. If I don’t have to use them, why use them? It’s just an unnecessary option.”
On Trinidad’s suggestion that Cotto engage early, toe-to-toe:
“I don’t know what strategy the trainer is teaching him, but he won his title without the trainer. I’m not saying that I have anything against the trainer, but Gamboa beat all of his fighters in Cuba. The trainer has to realize this: The trainer is not in there fighting, it’s the fighter who is in there fighting.”
“When the fighter gets hit with a great shot or gets hurt, which can happen in the fight, and it gets very rough, he’s going to go back to what he does. I’m just saying even though Antonio Margarito got in trouble for loaded gloves, but you’ve got to say to yourself, ‘he’s not that fast.
“He’s not super-fast. So why was he getting hit with those shots? Everybody is so offensive-minded, and everybody is saying that Floyd Mayweather is just a defensive fighter for so many years, but if I hadn’t been a defensive fighter, then I wouldn’t have lasted this long in the sport.
“I think that when you look at this fight, you look at him against Mosley and you look at me against Mosley. Even though he was probably drained against Pacquiao, I think that I get to the target a lot quicker because I’m not as wide as certain fighters are with their punches.
“Some fighters just fight just reckless. I believe in fighting with more skills and being smart. I may take a couple of steps around, you know, and pivot, but I don’t have to do all of that running. I told you guys a long time ago. I don’t have to do all of that running and moving if I don’t want to.
“I can sit there and bang if I want to, and box. I’m just saying that I can box and keep a guy at the end of my stick if that’s what I have to do. But as you saw in the Victor Ortiz fight, I threw a lot of combinations. I just take my time and whatever happens happens. I just let it all play out the way that it plays out.”
On the speed factor against Cotto:
“I think that the the difference and the main thing with me is my mind and my sharpness.”
On whether he ever considered asking Cotto to fight at a catchweight:
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Photos by Gene Blevins, Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org