LOS ANGELES-After eight days and 10 stops the juggernaut of boxing promotion finally culminated for the sports world’s richest athlete Floyd “Money” Mayweather and Mexico’s popular Saul “Canelo” Alvarez on Tuesday.
What a ride.
Mayweather even brought mom along.
“It’s a very special day,” said Mayweather, who also brought three of his children. “It’s the first time I ever brought my mother.”
Downtown Los Angeles was the site for the rabid final press conference to hype the pending battle between Mayweather (44-0, 26 Kos; on left, in Al Applerose photo, with Canelo on the right) and Alvarez (42-0-1, 30 Kos) on Sept. 14. The battle between the two Ring champions will occur at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Showtime pay-per-view will televise.
A crowd of more than 10,000 waited patiently for the two popular world champions to appear at L.A. Live, the popular entertainment center in the heart of L.A. and across the street from Staples Center. Despite a very sunny day and humid conditions they waited pretty calmly for the day to play out.
Tattoo, the radio personality, probably had more to do with the crowd’s patience than anyone or anything. He revved up the crowd with his mixture and Spanish and English and kept things fresh for hours. The open press conference was supposed to begin at 7 p.m. but actually started around 8.
It was mostly a pro-Alvarez crowd as Mexicans shouted “Ca-ne-lo” over and over. Mayweather’s fans were brought into a cordoned area reserved for the press and there they shouted rehearsed slogans like “dedication” after Mayweather shouted “Hard Work!”
A few hours earlier reporters met inside the J.W. Marriott Hotel to speak with Alvarez and Mayweather. Representatives from Golden Boy informed the seated reporters that Mayweather was not going to provide any interviews at all. Alvarez did appear and spent nearly 45 minutes with reporters on the third floor of the immaculate hotel.
Of course the world wants to know how Canelo can beat Mayweather.
“It’s going to be very difficult because Floyd Mayweather has a very difficult defense to penetrate,” said Alvarez. “We’re going to have to prepare a different game plan for Mayweather.”
Despite a win over former junior middleweight champion Austin Trout – a fighter with a very tricky defense – the Mexican redhead says that Mayweather and Trout are vastly different. Alvarez also said there are no similarities.
“I can learn so much more against Floyd Mayweather,” said Alvarez, adding that only in the ring can you see what is needed to be seen. “A fighter learns more in the ring than outside looking in.”
Though the crowd was pro-Canelo it didn’t stop Mayweather from being Mayweather.
“I’m truly blessed to be where I’m at,” said Mayweather, wearing a black TMT hat on the podium and passing out gifts to GBP CEO Richard Schaefer’s children and Showtime boss Stephen Espinoza.
After the gifts Mayweather decided to pass out some knowledge.
“Canelo is a young, strong champion, Mayweather loves Mexico, I’m going to work hard and dedicate myself to my craft,” said Mayweather, who looked like he wanted to burst out laughing. “When they tell me Mayweather, ‘you know you’re facing Canelo? I say can you tell me 10 world champions that he beat? Just ten. That’s all I ask. Just ten. Then I say I’ve been sitting on the top of the throne for 17 years.”
Alvarez has heard the skeptics from New York City to Florida to San Antonio. It doesn’t seem to damper his enthusiasm.
“I’m really enjoying this,” said Alvarez, who was rather low key but confident about his own talent. “The first thing I’m going to do when I get home is sleep.”
Alvarez will be training at Shane Mosley’s cabin in Big Bear Lake. Mayweather will prepare at his gym in Las Vegas. No tickets are available for the MGM Grand, but tickets for close circuit televised shows are available at $100 a crack.
Can Mayweather-Canelo be “the One” to bust Oscar De La Hoya’s fight with Mayweather in 2007 that drew more than 2.5 million pay-per-views?
We’ll see how many want to pay the $64.95 price, $74.95 for HD.