The Best Fighter on the Planet is talking.
He’s sitting comfortably on his couch at home, easily chatting with the media on a speakerphone, discussing things like chins, heart, promoters, Sugar Ray Leonard, ticket sales, respect, professionalism, styles, focusing, 3 a.m. workouts, God, Kostya Tszyu, business, knockouts, DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley and blood, sweat and tears.
Occasionally, the conversation turns back to IBF welterweight champ Zab Judah (34-3, 25 KOs), who the Best Fighter on the Planet will face Saturday night at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas on HBO pay-per-view.
But at times, Judah is pushed to the back of the line. Other things move out in front.
It’s not out of disrespect that everything isn’t centered around Judah. It’s just that there are other things the media wants to know about the Best Fighter on the Planet. And he’s happy to answer all questions because, he says, he “loves the media.” And that brash confession alone puts him in a class by himself.
Besides, Judah had his chance to talk with the media just a couple days earlier. And he passed on it. Blew us off. Ducked the call. Not even a “sorry, guys, I don‘t want to talk right now.”
His excuse? According to his Dad, Yoel, his son wanted to stay “focused.” So instead of Zab, we got Yoel. And it wasn’t the same thing.
“That’s not cool that his father had to get on the phone and talk to you guys,” said the Best Fighter on the Planet, aka “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather Jr. (35-0, 24 KOs). “He could just do like I’m doing, sitting down in your house on the speakerphone talking. You can‘t lose focus on that. There’s no way you could lose focus on that. I told everybody I will shut Zab Judah up. I’m just surprised it happened this early.”
Round one goes to Mayweather, 10-8.
Still, the reason for the conference call was to promote Saturday night’s IBF welterweight title fight with Judah. So his name kept popping up.
When it did, Mayweather kept telling us it’s not going to be “a walk through the park,” against Judah, that he’s expecting the Zab who beat Cory Spinks, not the one who just lost to Carlos Baldomir.
There’s a huge difference.
Mayweather is also the first to tell you Judah doesn’t have a lot of room for error in this fight. He blinks at the wrong time and he may find himself sitting on his butt at center ring.
“He better not showboat,” Mayweather said. “He cannot make a mistake with me. If you make a mistake with me, you must pay. And if you don’t have a chin, you‘re going to pay in a big way. He may have a good mind and heart, but his chin ain’t up to par. And if I land, I’m going to be a homerun hitter.”
Just how good is the Best fighter on the Planet? One of the best promoters on the planet, Bob Arum, claims that next to a young Muhammad Ali, Mayweather is the best fighter he’s seen in his 40 years in the fight game.
Praise doesn’t come any higher.
“Floyd can see a punch coming before the other guy knows he’s going to throw it,” Arum said on the same conference call. “Do you understand that?”
It could be a long night for Judah. Or a very short one.
“The kid that’s going to beat Floyd Mayweather hasn’t been born yet,” said Floyd Mayweather, the Best Fighter on the Planet.
Then he paused for a second.
“Yes. He may have been born. It may be one of my sons.”
There’s a dad you might want to listen to.