LAS VEGAS — Camped on a couch in the VIP room near the casino lobby of the MGM Grand, THE RING’s No. 1-rated pound-for-pound king and WBC welterweight titleholder Floyd Mayweather Jr. held court for nearly 40 minutes, answering questions from a small gathering of reporters on Tuesday in advance of Saturday night’s Showtime Pay Per View-televised defense against Robert Guerrero.
Having entered the venue prior to Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 knockouts), who followed with a 10-minute session of his own, the 36-year-old Mayweather (43-0, 26 knockouts) discussed topics ranging from his age and jail time, to last month’s gun possession charge against Guerrero at a New York’s JFK airport, and his assertion that Guerrero is a hypocrite who has overplayed the story surrounding the his cancer-surviving wife, Casey, as a means of eliciting sympathy from fans.
Having been out of the ring for nearly a year since vanquishing Miguel Cotto as WBA junior middleweight beltholder on May 5 of last year, Mayweather has returned to 147-pounds, a division in which Guerrero debuted with his two most recent victories over Selcuk Aydin and former two-time beltholder Andre Berto on the way to unanimous decisions in July and November, respectively.
Not only did Mayweather say Guerrero “out-wrestled” Aydin and Berto, but he also took shots at Guerrero’s route-going triumphs as a lightweight over aging ex-beltholder Joel Casamayor and Michael Katsidis, the latter of whom was knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez, whom Mayweather easily floored and decisioned in a one-sided bout.
Sitting alongside Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of his Mayweather Promotions, the fighter also discussed the fact that last month, Floyd Mayweather Sr. joined Mayweather Jr. and his long-time uncle and trainer, Roger Mayweather, signaling a reunion that ended a long-term feud the father had with the son and uncle.
Below are exerpts of Mayweather’s comments:
Floyd Mayweather on Guerrero’s story, particularly involving the struggles of his wife, Casey Guerrero:
“You know, this guy has done a helluva job, also, with the promotion. This guy has done a good job. I can’t knock him. And the thing is this. Do I feel bad about the situation that his wife went through? Absolutely. But I think that trying to gain fans by having the sympathy story every week, I don’t think that’s a good thing.
“But I’m glad that his wife was able to beat the Leukemia. I don’t feel that nobody should go through a situation like that. But we all go through certain things. Our mothers go through certain things. Our fathers. Our loved ones go through certain things.
“I just feel like just to gain fans using your wife’s story, using a sympathy story…I don’t think that’s a good thing that happened to her. I’m glad that she was able to beat Leukemia, which is a great thing. And I’m glad that them two have a great bond, but I don’t like that every week, it’s like, basically, they keep selling the same story. It’s time to talk about something different.”
On being in prison:
“I feel like me being incarcerated was just an obstacle, something that’s in your way. It was a minor setback for a major comeback, so things happen, but you know, when it’s all said and done, you know, only God can judge me. Of course, nobody’s life is… I think that everybody goes through ups and downs. I don’t think nobody has a perfect life.
“So, that just happened to be a part of my life. It was something that I was faced with before in my life. The only thing that I can do is to take the good with the good and the bad with the bad…When I was incarcerated, my body got big because I was just sitting in a room everyday reading magazines.
“Of course, my lawyer would come and speak to me every day. That’s how I was able to get through it, because he would come and talk to me about positive things. So what I would do, of course, when I was incarcerated, I was locked up 23 ours a day.”
On working out in prison:
“You get an hour our by yourself. No contact with the other inmates. So, what I was doing, when I would go and take a shower, I would look through the doors and I would see some of the inmates kind of cut up. So I would be like, ‘damn, how did they get that big in here?,’ and he said he had been here three years. I could hear the guys working out in their rooms.
“So I went to the commissary when I went to order my food and I got a deck of cards. So I just went through the deck. At first, I was just doing pushups, I don’t know the exact number, because it has been a while. I would go through the deck twice. Then, eventually, I was going through the deck three times a day. Then, my jacket, my outfit that they give you, it started to fit tight.
“So I was like, ‘damn.’ But I didn’t have no mirror, so it was like a day before I was going to go home, and I took off my shirt, and all of the inmates were [looking at him.] I knew that I must have gotten bigger, but I didn’t know. All I was doing was doing pushups every day, every day, pushups.”
On Guerrero’s gun charge and the notion that he is a hypocrite:
“The main thing that he needs to be focused on is that he’s going away to do time after the fight. The same way that they were talking trash about me, now, you have to go and sit down and do time…I just said at first, you’ve got the guy driving on people’s lawns with his truck. Doing donuts on people’s lawns.
“Then, he’s going on the 700 Club and going to talk to kids. Then, he’s carrying a gun. If God’s got your back, then why are you carrying a gun? I was talking with a friend of mine about that the other day.
“I would say the same thing to Guerrero. If God’s got your back, then why are you even carrying a gun? When he says God has got his back, and then, you look, and he’s got Marilyn Monroe pictures all over his wall in his house. So these are things that I just don’t understand.”
On an assessment of his skills and opponents versus those of Guerrero’s:
“A lot of times, people just talk about my defense. From way back when, they were like, ‘Oh, Mayweather’s just a defensive fighter. But look how long I’ve lasted…He out-wrestled his guys. He showed that he was good at grappling when he fought Berto, right?
“I think he’s [Guerrero] a good as far as being a physical fighter, but I don’t think that he has the movement of a Floyd Mayweather. He don’t use the angles that I use, and I don’t think that his resume is like mine. You ask yourself, ‘Is Andre Berto a better fighter than Miguel Cotto?’
“Do you think that Andre Berto can go the distance with Miguel Cotto?’ Absolutely not. These are just true words. I’m not saying that he’s not a good fighter, but he won’t be able to go the distance with a Miguel Cotto, not the Miguel Cotto that was in top shape and that faced me.
“You get fighters who, once they face me, they say that it’s totally different than what they think it is. Just mentally. Mentally, I can always make adjustments. I’m not one-dimensional, so I can always make adjustments and go to that next level.
“You saw me fight Shane [Mosley] and I got hit with a shot in round two, and in round three, I’m a totally different fighter. So, those are things that I’m able to do, and that’s what makes me a special fighter.
On generally discussing Guerrero:
“I’ve seen him when he fought Andre Berto, and he done what he had to do. He was a good grappler. We all know that trash-talking don’t win fights. I was telling somebody during an interview the other day when he was like, basically, ‘Mayweather hand picks his opponents.’
“Then, you’ll see him another time saying that Mayweahter is a great fighter. So I guess that I’m a great hand-picker. I feel like I’ve earned my stripes to get to this point in my career. If I want to pick and choose at this particular time, I feel like it’s my prerogative. I feel like I can if I want to.
“He’s my mandatory and I guess that he’s done some things so far…I think that Andre Berto was going through a lot going into their fight after being off for a year. Some fighters can take a long time off like George Foreman, myself and other fighters.
“They can take some time off from the sport, come back, and still perform. I think that Andre Berto is a guy that has to stay active. And I think that any time you close both of a guy’s eyes, you’re supposed to be able to finish him. And then, Andre Berto was still able to close his eye after having two closed eyes.
“So I look at certain things like that and I say ‘Okay.’ And then I look at certain things like [Joel] Casamayor going the distance with him at the age of 40. You have to look at certain things like that. Then you have to say, ‘Well is is this guy on the same level as a Floyd Mayweather?’
“So you have to ask yourself those certain questions. Or the fact of him having a dogfight with [Michael] Katsidis, and then you’ve got guys like [Juan Manuel] Marquez knocking Katsidis out. So I just look at that. That’s how I weigh certain situations and look at certain situations.”
On having his father back in camp:
“Just more like there are certain things that my dad may see. My dad only wants the best for me. I just don’t want to make the same mistakes that I made in the Cotto fight. I think that I was probably over-worked for the Cotto fight.
“I probably trained too hard for the Cotto fight, whereas this fight, I make sure that I’ve got more rest. For the Cotto fight, I don’t think that I got too much rest, it was just a lot of training. My dad is saying, ‘You know what? You need the rest, and when you rest, and you come back to the boxing gym, you’re going to look better,’ and he was right.
“It don’t really matter what’s the age. I think that any athlete that is competing at the highest level, the body has to rest. So, you know, I don’t really think that it’s an age thing.”
On the training for Cotto:
“I did more boxing for the Cotto camp. I was in the gym one day, I would box 12 rounds, and then, the next day I would box another 12, and then the next day would box 10, and this was all within five days. So that’s a lot of wear and tear on the body. I’m just thinking that is what it was for the Cotto fight. But I shouldn’t even have made the mistakes that I was making. I’m a better fighter than I was in the Cotto fight.
“I wasn’t the best Floyd Mayweahter, but I’m not here to cry or complain. I got the job done under any condition, so we’re here today for a reason…But this camp this time has been tremendous. I feel good, I’m ready to go out there and peform. My body looks a lot better. Probably the best that it’s ever look.
“This is what I do. I’ve been here for 17 years now, and we’re put in certain positions for certain reasons. This camp has been the best so far. This camp has been good. Very, very positive. We always try to have a positive camp so that everything can flow smoothly. I’m just ready to fight.”
On being a boxer and a promoter:
“I’m always looking for creative ways to take, not just my fights, but boxing to the next level. As of right now, I’m the face of boxing, and I want the sport of boxing to live on. So, I always want to be involveed and to be a part of the sport. So I’m always trying to come up with different and creative ideas.
“That’s what it’s about. If I see something that I feel that I can tweak and take to the next level, absolutely. It’s always about going to that next level. It’s always about trying to be the best that you can be. Not just inside of the ring but outside of the ring.
“Because I look at things from the point of view of long term. When my career is over, I want to be able to take J’Leon Love to the next level, and I want to take my team to the next level so that the sport of boxing can live on. I’ve done this my whole live and this is what I love to do.
“My team is still coming up with creative ideas. I’m not just doing everything myself. My team is coming up with creative ideas, or they will ask me, ‘Floyd, what do you think about this.’ Because I look at everything like a consumer does, so I’ll be like, ‘Yay or nay.’
“…I see things from a fighter’s point of view. Don King can’t see things from a fighter’s point of view. Bob Arum can’t see it from a fighter’s point of view because they’re not fighters, they’re just promoters. Whereas I believe in the fighter winning in the long run.”
Photo / Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com