By Marc Livitz: The majority of casual sports fans are easily able to identify certain athletes and at times even their respective team. While boxing is unfortunately still in the far periphery of some and completely off the radar for others, there are still a handful of familiar stars that are easily recognizable. If they are not household names, then they are at least of the water cooler variety. In regard to the sweet science, there can be no confusion that the “1a.” and “1b.” argument concerning Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao is now the last topic to be openly debated in the boxing world.
“Money” Mayweather sits high atop the pinnacle of the fight game and has seemingly held or greatly controlled the reins of the sport for quite some time. He’s become one of the most popular athletes in the world and undoubtedly the highest paid one. May and September are usually among the hot and hottest months of the year and Floyd has all but patented the heat and excitement which surround the big time bouts taking place near Cinco de Mayo (May 5) and Diez y Seis de Septiembre (September 16, Mexican Independence Day).
The fight set to take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on September 14 can be no exception. Floyd Mayweather, Jr., an undefeated (44-0, 26 KO’s) eight-time, five division titleholder has either truthfully given in to the demands of boxing fans worldwide or could easily see the benefits of readily accepting the challenge from one of Mexico’s superstar fighters. His opponent, the redheaded Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico star known as “Canelo” has a number of championship belts of his own which he’s willing to risk for a chance to hand Mayweather his first defeat.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (42-0-1, 30 KO’s) has become so popular as of late that he may even wonder if some people are aware that his moniker is not in fact his given name. “The One”, as the promotion was tagged has already broken live gate records and it of course remains to be seen if the television pay per view figures can eclipse the industry’s established “pound for pound” mark of nearly two and a half million buys.
In any case, Mayweather is on course to equal the great Rocky Marciano’s unbeaten record of 49-0 should he fulfill his six fight, $300 million dollar deal with Showtime. Victory number forty four came just a number of months ago, when he battled an injured hand en route to a resounding win over Robert Guerrero on May 4. As perviously stated, there can be no denying that the fifth and ninth months, respectively on the calendar can be earmarked for a "Money" fight. Yet what is a bit out of sorts for the undefeated champion from Las Vegas by way of Grand Rapids, Michigan is the quick turnaround from his last fight to this one. Floyd hasn’t fought twice in one calendar year since 2007.
With just 10 days to go until fight night and with the anticipation readily nearing a fever pitch, Floyd was eager to speak to the media this afternoon by way of an international conference call. Selected highlights are listed below.
Leonard Ellerbe, CEO Mayweather Promotions: "Mayweather versus Canelo is the most anticipated fight in the history of the sport and we have every indication of that. It sold out in one day and earned $19.5 million in ticket sales. In terms of the restaurants and bars, we’re 50% higher than we were in 2007 for Floyd and Oscar De La Hoya. It’s being shown in over 500 movie theaters. The amount of sponsorship is the biggest ever. The demand for tickets has been unbelievable. We’ve also used the biggest advertising ever with the cable and satellite TV carriers. Over the next week and a half, the promotion will be just about everywhere."
Floyd Mayweather Opening Statements: "I just want to continue to bring everyone the biggest and the best fights. I want to thank everyone who has been involved."
(Accomplishments and His Future)
"The most important thing in my career has been the ability to put my children in a perfect environment and give them a great education. In boxing, I brought the attention to the smaller guys and transcended the sport. I gave the best so I could receive the best. I’m cleaning the sport up and giving the fans excitement on an even playing field. My promotional company doesn’t want to stack itself with a ton of fighters and we can’t promise every fighter with us that they will be a world champion. We’ll keep working with them and one day I can hand my torch to them. We want to help these young fighters grow and take it to the next level."
"I’m only human and some days are better than others. That’s life. Some days are good and some days are bad. I constantly tell myself to smile on the rainy days as well as the sunny days. I’m happy to be working once again with my father (Floyd Mayweather, Sr.). We’re perfectionists. Each and every day, I try to become a better person. I have positive people in my camp and if they’re not, we try to keep them away from us."
(The state of boxing and his career)
"I think that there’s too many belts and too many champions. I beat Miguel Cotto for the WBA championship and then Austin Trout beat him for it. Then, Canelo beat Trout. So, how is Canelo the champ? The sport is tainted now. There should be one champ in each division. When I was fighting, I wanted to face Oscar De La Hoya a long time ago. I couldn’t get that until I had my own company. Same for Miguel Cotto.
Some say my opponents have been handpicked. My team has done their job if I’ve had easy fights but I’ve made a lot of money. Who wants forty four grueling fights? I’ll look back and know that I’ve had a cool career. My team has done a great job for me. I fought Shane Mosley when he came off of the biggest win of career. I didn’t fight a washed up (Carlos) Baldomir because he was the undisputed champ."