The WBC welterweight champion says his next opponent, Marcos Maidana, cannot be taken lightly, especially after he handed Adrien Broner his first career defeat last year
As boxing's reigning pound-for-pound king, a 10-time world champion and the world's highest-paid athlete, when Floyd Mayweather Jr. talks, people listen.
So when the undefeated two-division champion decided to throw a news conference on the day when his most recent ring conquest, Canelo Alvarez, was making his comeback, well, he had a captive audience.
The fact that the notorious gambler arrived an hour late to the MGM Grand media center made little difference. "I was up gambling here last night, having a little fun," he explained.
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Mayweather, who turned 37 two weeks ago, touched on a variety of subjects, including his May 3 welterweight title fight against Argentine slugger Marcos Maidana, his Hall of Fame career and his next career as a promoter.
Maidana, said Mayweather, is not a fighter to be trifled with. "Maidana is young, strong and a tough competitor," he said, referring to Maidana's stunning beatdown of previously undefeated Adrien Broner in December. "You can never take any fighter for granted, because anything can happen."
At an age when most fighters have called it a career, Mayweather (45-0, 26 KOs) says he hasn't reached his peak. "I'm a strong critic of myself. Even with the Canelo fight and fight before that I wasn't happy with my performance," he said. "I've been in the sport a long time, but I haven't been able to bring my A game totally out. I've beaten fighters with my C game and D game, but I haven't been able to beat anybody with my A game."
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Mayweather said he would fight three more times after May 3 and just started his training camp for Maidana.
"This was my first week out, and we had a tremendous camp," he said. "I believe in dedicating myself to my craft. This is my 18th year in the sport. I truly believe in taking one fight at a time."
Maidana's trainer, Robert Garcia, said that in 1998 he and Mayweather won titles in the same weight division. "Sixteen years later, I'm training my fighters to fight him and he's still a champion," he said. "That's hard to believe."
And getting to see the longtime champ in person can be an expensive proposition. Yet, despite ticket prices of $350 to $1,500, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer said, "Tickets went on sale this morning at 10 a.m. There are 16,000 seats in the (Grand Garden Arena), and 14,000 were sold, with over $12 million in the bank already."
Mayweather's drawing power has never been questioned. He is the undisputed king of pay-per-view, and his September fight against Alvarez was the highest grossing of all time, raking in more than $150 million, with 2.2 million pay-per-view buys, second most all time. The live gate grossed a record $20 million.
Mayweather was guaranteed a record $41 million for the Alvarez fight (breaking his own record of $32M guaranteed for his previous fight against Robert Guerrero), and estimates had him earning about $80 million overall.
Asked who he might fight after Maidana, Mayweather said, "I don't know who my three next opponents will be. A lot of people ask me that. You want to fight me? Earn it."
It's why he picked Maidana, a knockout artist whose 34 wins include 31 knockouts.
"There were other names out there, but Mayweather is a boxing person and he made the right choice," Garcia said.
Alvarez, meanwhile, completed a successful comeback from his first career loss with a 10th-round TKO against Alfredo Angulo. Mayweather praised the young Mexican, who he dismantled last September
"Canelo's a different breed," Mayweather said. "A lot of people think because of the way I made him look, they're going to be able to do the same thing. But that's not true. He's a strong fighter."
When his career ends, Mayweather said, he wants to help up-and-coming talent. "Boxing is growing and is here to stay."
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