Floyd Mayweather is soaking up the adulation as the face of the fight game, the undisputed heavyweight champion of relevancy, on a tour of New York media stops. On Tuesday, Floyd took questions from select media at the Vanderbilt Suites in Manhattan, and told the assembled that he is as happy as he is as ever been.
The 36-year-old boxer, who succumbed to a Howard Stern grilling in the AM, and was off to talk money with Bloomberg crew after the luncheon, came off as a contented person, but still showed the pride which hints that he isn't fully serene in regards to how he is seen in the grand scheme of the sport. I asked Floyd about where he stands all time, noting that his legacy seems to be in a re-assessment period to some, though many more fans seem to think that the fighter can't rise to the level of the Sugar Rays or other golden age greats because he isn't as active, and has cherry-picked foes. Floyd pointed out that when he was 36, Muhammad Ali lost to a man who'd had seven pro bouts. Who else has been on top for a 17 year span, who else connects like I do, who else makes the revenue I do? His implication was clear, even if he didn't want to draw the heat by outright stating that he's the best of the best.
Mayweather pointed out that other fighters get clapped on the back when they sign up for year-round drug testing, but he drew scorn when he made an issue of it a few years back...and now all sports are consumed with the issue. He didn't offer much in the way of hints as to who he might fight next, and neither did advisor Leonard Ellerbe. Both men said that Danny Garcia is a solid boxer, but both also warned naysayers who think the next Floyd date, May 3, 2014 can't come close to the Canelo clash in terms of buzz or revenue that a year or two ago, nobody was predicting that Canelo could be the B side to a promotion which will go over 2.2 million PPV buys and $150 million in revenue when final tallies come in.
"Everyone is gunning for me, from heavyweight down to 105," Mayweather told the media, which included writers from Forbes and the Wall St Journal.
We did perhaps get a hint of what Mayweather won't do, as Floyd noted that he's a welter, and in fact had to gobble extra food to hold weight on fight night. So no, people looking for him to go to 168 or a sub 68 catchweight against Andre Ward, won't be in luck.
He and Ellerbe left the door open for a fight in NY, with Ellerbe saying, "We're always open to listening to different things, you just never know," after Mayweather professed his love for Vegas, titling the possibility of indulging in delicious excess there "Mayweather Mania."
With that the lunch came to a close, with the visit to Bloomberg, and an appearance on "The Colbert Report" still to come. No boxer has replicated the same manner of buzz Mayweather enjoys, getting traction on everything from TMZ to Forbes, and popping up on both left wing outlets, like MSNBC, and pillars of capitalistic supremacy, like Bloomberg. That he does so without being a mad bomber, a la Mike Tyson, and revels in the fact that he doesn't engage in risky trading which could be detrimental to his long term well being, is rather fascinating. His style is best appreciated by purists, and I admit to being slightly suprised that his public preoccupation with the size of his paychecks hasn't resulted in pointed pushback from citizens who don't enjoy the same level of monetary comfort. Sum it all up, Mayweather is a supremely skilled athlete with some personal complexities which keep folks interested in his actions. I confess, I thought to myself that it might be nice to see him glove up before next summer, considering that his activity gives the sport a double-shot of adrenaline. No, Mayweather said, he calls the shots, and he's going to fight in May and September in 2014 and 2015. We can keep ourselves occupied by who is the next lucky soul/poor bastard who will get the opportunity to be rendered a sub-optimal version of their best selves.
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