LAS VEGAS — Floyd Mayweather Jr. said he wants Marcos Maidana to "try to get rugged and rough" and to "bring his best" when they meet on Saturday night at the MGM Grand on Showtime Pay-Per-View.
Mayweather (45-0, 26 knockouts), 37, shared his thoughts during a Tuesday interview with reporters in the VIP room of the MGM, site of his RING and WBC welterweight championship defense against WBA counterpart Maidana (35-3, 31 KOs).
Moments earlier, Maidana and his trainer, Robert Garcia promised to make Mayweather "suffer" and to turn the matchup into a "street fight."
"If he brings his best, then he may be the first guy to actually make me dig into my bag of tricks and pull out my A-game," said Mayweather. "Hopefully, he makes me pull out my A-game because throughout my career, all that I've had to use was my B- and C-game to beat every guy. I've never had to use my A-game over my B-game, so we'll just have to see."
The 30-year-old Maidana has won four straight fights, three of them by knockout, and was last in the ring for December's unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Adrien Broner, whom he dropped in the second and eighth rounds for his current belt. Maidana last suffered defeat against southpaw Devon Alexander in his 147-pound debut in February 2012.
"It's not just his last fight against Broner that I'm looking at. I'm looking at his last four fights. I'm not just judging him off of his last fight but his last four fights," said Mayweather. "He's done a superb job and he's done a good job and he's the guy that we chose. He's got an 80 percent knockout ratio, so, you know, I can't sleep on this guy."
Mayweather was dazed in fights against skillful boxer-punchers DeMarcus Corley and Shane Mosley although neither could nail him with consecutive or finishing blows.
But Maidana said he strongly believes he can do what those two fighters could not, this despite not being able to finish off Broner, who skipped the 140-pound division for a rise from 135 to 147. After defeating Paulie Malignaggi for the WBA's belt in June of last year, Broner then faced Maidana.
"Not taking anything away from Adrien Broner but when I was at 130, I gradually moved up. Adrien Broner was a lightweight or a junior lightweight that moved all the way up to welterweight. Maidana didn't knock Adrien Broner out. Now we're going to look at this and you're going to tell me this is a blown-up lightweight that you couldn't knock out?" said Mayweather, who has fought at 154 pounds three times.
"You knocked him down but you couldn't finish the job. So I just look at weight different scenarios and weigh things out. We'll see what he brings to the table on Saturday night…in my case, I don't think it's about the weight. It's mental. It's about the mental weight. You've got a lot of guys that hit hard; you've got guys that are fast and you've got guys that are strong. But when it comes to mentally, I don't think that guys can go to that level that mental level that I'm at."
MAYWEATHER: 'WE DON'T LOOK FOR THIS FIGHT TO GO THE DISTANCE'
Mayweather has all but stated that Saturday's bout will end in a knockout.
"I love accomplishing certain things. That's a part of my legacy, of course, but I don't go in there just winning this belt. I want to look impressive and I want to put on a good show and we don't look for this fight to go the distance," said Mayweather.
"Robert said that this guy is talking about looking for the knockout and I know that we're looking at the fight not going the distance, so you're going to get a helluva a fight on Saturday. I can guarantee you that."
MAYWEATHER WANTS TO GET RID OF INTERIM BELTS
Mayweather said, "I totally disagree with that interim belt stuff," offering praise to Saul Alvarez for declining to fight for the WBA's "regular" title owned by Erislandy Lara in their upcoming bout on July 12 at the MGM Grand.
Mayweather won the WBA's "super" 154-pound title when he defeated Miguel Cotto by unanimous decision in May 2012 and added Alvarez's RING and WBC championships when he dethroned the Mexican star by majority decision in September.
"They're always taking my belts away and letting other guys fight for them, which I don't understand. I totally disagree with that interim belt stuff. I totally disagree. They need to get that out of boxing. That's why, when we're talking about cleaning up the sport, if I'm going to be in the sport, interim belts need to get out of boxing," said Mayweather.
"These guys get to thinking they are real champions. Two guys carrying the same belt in the ring and [fans] are like, 'Which one is the champion?' So as far as these people having interim belts, we need to get that out of boxing. We do know that I'm the WBC and the WBA champion at junior middleweight and I'm the WBC champion at welterweight. We do know that."
Alvarez-Lara will be a scheduled 12-round non-title bout and Lara's "regular" WBA 154-pound belt will not be on the line. The weight of the fight has been set at 154 pounds, give or take a pound, which means the fighters can weigh in at 155 pounds as Alvarez did for last month's 10th-round knockout of Alfredo Angulo.
"I can't do nothing but take my hat off to the guy because he is stepping up to the plate talking about that's how we clean up the sport," said Mayweather, who refused to pay the sanctioning fee for a unanimous decision over then-WBA titleholder Shane Mosley, whose belt was not on the line in May 2010.
"Even like with the Shane Mosley thing, the move that he made, I can respect that. When Shane was the WBA champion, even though I didn't fight him for his belt but when I beat him, technically, he knows that he really wasn't the WBA welterweight champion, so he relinquished the belt. Stuff like that I can respect and I take my hat off to guys like that because that's called 'cleaning up the sport of boxing.' That's what it's about, cleaning up the sport."
Photo-Ed Mulholland/GOLDEN BOY PROMOTIONS/GETTY IMAGES