Floyd Mayweather Jr. countered the notion of Marcos Maidana's power with the idea of himself being the hardest puncher Maidana has faced. He also characterized Saul Alvarez as perhaps the next pay-per-view star and said Bernard Hopkins is another boxer "trying to hit the jackpot and fight Floyd Mayweather" during a Wednesday conference call.
Mayweather (45-0, 26 knockouts) will defend his RING and WBC championships against WBA counterpart Maidana (35-3, 31 KOs) on May 3 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, with support from a welterweight clash of ex-beltholders between Amir Khan and Luis Collazo, the 140-pound debut of three-division titlist Adrien Broner against Carlos Molina and a middleweight match-up between unbeaten J'Leon Love and former title challenger Marco Antonio Periban on Showtime Pay-Per-View.
Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions, said Mayweather is "in the fight of his life" against Maidana, who had stopped three consecutive opponents before December's unanimous decision dethroned the previously unbeaten Broner, whom he floored once each in the second and eighth rounds for his current belt.
Mayweather was asked if Maidana was the hardest puncher he will have faced.
"I can't really say. I haven't been hit by Maidana, so I can't really say," said Mayweather. "I may be the hardest puncher that he's ever fought. He hasn't been hit by me yet. We'll just have to see if he's the hardest puncher."
Mayweather was last in the ring for a majority decision over Alvarez in September, adding the latter's RING and WBC junior middleweight championships to the WBA 154-pound title he already owned.
"It was more like a chess match and I was Bobby Fischer," said Mayweather. "So, with this fight, with Maidana, you have a rugged guy that comes straight ahead with an attitude of, like, 'I just don't care,' and he just dethroned one of the top undefeated fighters. So it's a good match-up."
Mayweather praised Alvarez for rebounding with last month's 10th-round knockout of Alfredo Angulo.
"'Canelo' looked unbelievable against Angulo. I was like, 'This guy, he's back,'" said Mayweather. "That was the only thing that I can say is that 'He's back…' After this fight, I will have three more fights and then we will be happy to look for the next Floyd Mayweather," said Mayweather.
"We're going to have to be looking for the next pay-per-view star. I think you've got a lot of guys out there. I don't know if they can replace Floyd Mayweather but I think they can become pay-per-view stars and 'Canelo' is one guy. One of those guys."
After dethroning Beibut Shumenov as WBA titleholder on April 19, IBF light heavyweight beltholder Bernard Hopkins listed his next target as RING and WBC champion Adonis Stevenson should the latter get beyond a May 24 defense of his championships against Andrzej Fonfara on Showtime after having signed with powerful advisor Al Haymon.
In the event that he conquers Stevenson, however, Hopkins mentioned his desire to challenge Mayweather.
"After I become the undisputed light heavyweight champion, if there's one big fight out there, I think we can call it 50/50. He gets 50 wins; I turn 50. That would be huge at 165 or 170 pounds. I would love to do that but let me get past Stevenson first because you know that he can punch," said Hopkins.
"Once I become the light heavyweight champion, if I do a fight, the promotion will be 50/50 and you can figure out what that means. I know somebody in boxing who wants to get 50 wins and to break Rocky Marciano's record [49-0] and I'll be 50 and we can name the promotion, '50/50.' We'll do that at one of the stadiums somewhere. You never know what weight we could fight at for $50 million."
"I think that everybody's trying to hit the jackpot and fight Floyd Mayweather from heavyweight all the way down to flyweight. Bernard Hopkins, the other night, I didn't get to even see him fight. I think that I caught the first two rounds…I watched the first couple of rounds," said Mayweather.
"I thought that Bernard Hopkins was losing the fight; I guess. Then I went for a six-mile run. So I guess that when I went for my six-mile run, I guess he picked the pace up and I guess that he was victorious. But I can't take nothing away from Bernard Hopkins. He's a legend just like myself and, of course, you get your biggest payday when you're facing Floyd Mayweather."