On the afternoon of April 24th Floyd Mayweather Jr., boxing’s undefeated pound-for-pound king, addressed the media during a 53 minute conference call for his May 5 mega-fight vs. Oscar De La Hoya. Here are some of the highlights from the sometimes rambling, always engaging Pretty Boy Floyd:
On whether or not he ever thought he’d ever be in a fight so big:
“It wasn’t a struggle getting here. It was just patience. I knew eventually I was going to be in the big fights. I never ducked or dodged anyone. [My attitude was] Put him in front of me and I’ll beat him. But once you get to certain level, you gotta become a business man. If it makes dollars, it makes sense.
“When I was talking about this fight 4 or 5 years ago, everyone laughed at me. But now it’s here and it’s the biggest fight in history. Things happen for a reason and I feel it’ll be a hell of a fight.”
“I always knew this fight was going to come. I could tell my frame was solid enough to be a welterweight. It’s nothing to become a junior-middleweight or super-welterweight, whatever you want to call it. He made the jump from super-featherweight to junior-middleweight. We’re gonna fight because he’s a smart businessman and I’m a smart businessman.
Weighing in on more weighty issues:
“Weight doesn’t win fights. Fat cells doesn’t make him a better fighter. You got one fighter (De La Hoya) that’s always in the best shape of his life but always gets tired. You better not shoot your load early against Floyd Mayweather. I’ll beat your ass early.”
“I don’t have to worry about weight. The weight is me.”
On his portrayal as the “bad” guy in this fight:
“I understand it’s a business and there has to be a good guy and there has to be a bad guy.”
On Oscar De La Hoya’s conditioning:
“When he fought Fernando Vargas he was in the best shape of his life, but what happened? He got tired. He needs my regimen, so he won’t get tired.”
On how he will handle the pressure of fighting De La Hoya with so many watching:
“To be honest, I don’t even think about this dude (De La Hoya). I laugh when he talks about me under the big lights. Lights and fame have nothing to do with boxing skills. I’m the master when it comes to getting into that squared circle. There’s no chip on my shoulder. Fighters that wear their heart on their sleeve tend to come up short.”
“I’m never nervous. I’m not scared of no fighter.”
“To me it’s no bigger than any other fight. Oscar De La Hoya’s just another opponent to me. Weight and fame doesn’t win fights. Smarts wins fights.”
Responding to talk of De La Hoya possibly getting the benefit of a favorable decision:
“The Nevada commission is the best commission in the world. They have always treated me fair. I’m not worried about them.”
“I don’t want to be treated like Pernell Whitaker. Oscar knows he was beat by Ike Quartey and Pernell Whitaker. I call a spade a spade. I will even say Oscar did beat Felix Trinidad.”
On his personality vs. Oscar’s personality:
“My life is about excitement. His is a little boring.”
“He’s dry. There’s no personality.”
On speculation of his retirement after this fight:
“I have nothing else to prove in this sport. From 130 all the way to 154. I made a lot of money in this sport. I want to spend a lot of time with my kids. I want to take my promotion company to the next level.”
On his place in boxing history:
“I feel like Muhammad Ali. He wasn’t appreciated at first, but his hands spoke for themselves. My mouth is on level 9, but my skills are on level 10.”
“When you talk about greatness and Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali, Floyd Mayweather comes up.”
As you can see, there was no shortage of soundbites from PBF. With 11 days to go before the fight of his lifetime, he is not lacking for confidence or candidness. One question will continue to chase him after this fight, though, especially if he hangs up the gloves.
Even if he knocks out De La Hoya and controls the action thoroughly, he will have beaten a past-his-prime superstar and not have answered many of the questions people still have. Finishing off Oscar would be huge and will gain him a level of popularity he’s yet to attain, but he’s still never really had an “in his prime” stud to push him to higher levels. Some would argue that Corrales and Castillo were in their prime, of course, but maybe PBF was just too damned skilled for Corrales and Castillo didn't have that marquee name to make the non-hardcore fans take notice.
For all of the Mayweather doubters out there, is there anything he can do in this so-called “biggest fight ever” that would change your opinion of him? It’s really fairly remarkable that in a fight so large, he has little to gain reputation-wise. Does knocking out De La Hoya legitimize Mayweather as an all-time great to his haters? I’d love to see your thoughts, readers.
His slickness is a blessing and a curse because he makes so many of his opponents look like amateurs.
Here’s a quick run-down of some key dates leading up to the Cinco de Mayo bash:
April 25: De La Hoya media conference call
May 1: Fighters arrive in Vegas
May 2: Press conference
May 3: Special screening of final episode of “24/7”
May 4: Weigh-in
May 5: Fight night
Be sure to check back is on TSS for more leading up to this monster of a fight.