If he holds true to his party's line, this will be the last time Floyd Mayweather will have to do what he did tonight, get on a conference call and answer queries from a press which I think it likely he by and large despises, though he professes to be thankful for their participation.
Mayweather took questions for about 25 minutes or so, a couple of which were devoted to asking what he thought of Serena Williams' recent run.
I don't knock that line of thinking, but being that many of us not in the preferred loop of trusteds/not hateds, with the Mayos and Fight Hypes, I'd have not have chosen that topic as one of the dozen questions to fire at the self proclaimed TBE, who turns 39 in February.
I was going to ask if we almost got this fight on “free” TV, and if yes, why Floyd chose not to follow up his history-making PPV clash with Manny Pacquiao with one that can't do anything but compare poorly when juxtaposed. Alas, it wasn't to be. Woodward and Bernstein weren't on the call, neither was Woods-ward, on a call which ended with a reporter asking if maybe Berto isn't to be feared more than some might think, simply because most if not all give him zero chance to beat “Money.”
Mayweather started by saying he is pleased for Serena and her success and said she and he are alike in that both have been doing this a loong time, but are still top of the heap. The R word was then broached; if he didn't retire, would he consider fighting the Cotto-Canelo winner? He got chilly and wondered why the questioner didn't seem to know he'd beaten both men. Time and again, Ellerbe came in to be the smoother, taking queries Floyd didn't care to answer. He did that agin, after Dan Rafael asked about retirement plans. Oh, and Floyd did say someone showed him a positive about him Rafael story, and he thanked Dan for it…this right before he said he doesn't pay any attention at all to stories saying Berto is a weak choice as a foe. (I don't see this as a marked incongruity by the way, I simply think he's in a bubble, and lackeys show him positive stories, and keep the mean ones away from him, because he is in fact a sensitive soul and can be affected by them.)
So, Ellerbe said, “This will be his last fight,” when Rafael asked if he'd try for 50-0.
One interesting point, Floyd was asked if he had a single regret: yes, he said, not being with Al Haymon from the get go.
He also said he'd stay busy, in boxing, though he didn't say that he'd miss anything in particular about the sport, not even the gym cameraderie.
Another tidbit: Ellerbe said he received three movie offers in the last week for Mayweather, so some entertainment stuff is in his future. He didn't mention whether that would be in front of or behind the camera, or what, though Floyd later said he'd prefer not having an on-screen presence.
One good query: has he been approached about opening that new MGM Arena in 2016? Ellerbe took the baton; nope, they haven't been, he said. That line of questioning to me is vital and compelling; why? Because they are selling this as the Adios Fight…and we can't very well be hearing about talks of contract extensions, and opening up new arenas, if in fact retirement is being planned.
Back to Berto, and criticism: Floyd said he doesn't pay attention to the nattering nabobs, and of course, “Nobody's forced to watch.” Quite right…
You did, arguably, get some insight into maybe why he would be walking away when he was asked if taking criticism is helping him decide to bid adieu. That from the superb Mitch Abramson of the NY Daily News. Cue Ellerbe…Nah, criticism is what-ev, said Ellerbe.
The boxer said he has worked harder as he got older and in fact has sparred more, and worked harder in this camp than he did for Manny Pacquiao, point taken and chewed on by those who know he will not soon get over how wrong he believes us fools to be for thinking primitive Pacman would trouble him.
He basically wrapped up by saying that he didn't appreciate how most everyone backed Pacman, and accused him of being a coward, a ducker, and that makes clear that despite the brash aura, the man has skin, he gets pricked, he bleeds, If not in the ring, then his emotions do.
It was a short call, but not uninteresting, as TBE's complex being, and elements of brashness and sensitivity and (forced?) conviviality and seeming serenity and defensiveness and rightful confidence and earned cyncism, and all that, were on the table, to be scrutinized. That exercise is often a challenge more entertaining than most of the action in his fights, because he's such a defensive master that his fights feature almost zero back and forth ebb and flow. He dominates them, and it is like watching a chessmaster wipe out a newbie.
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