Intimations of Things to Come

By Robert Ecksel on September 11, 2011
Intimations of Things to Come
"So I just want to be, the only thing I want to do, I want to be treated fair.” (Robert Ecksel)

“Things happen in life,” said Mayweather. “It’s a rollercoaster ride. You go through certain obstacles in life. That’s what life is…”

In anticipation of his return to action after more than 16 months of inactivity against WBC welterweight champion Victor Ortiz (29-2-2, 22 KOs), Floyd Mayweather (41-0, 25 KOs) met with the press via teleconference call last week to discuss Saturday’s fight. He also wanted to clear up a few misconceptions, and engage in some soul-searching.

Mayweather was subdued during the call. There was no clowning around. He was serious, sober, at times even somber. It wasn’t that he was unwilling to talk, he was as willing to talk as ever, but his words were measured, his cadence slow, and it was obvious that he wanted to make a good impression.

The media was very hands off during the interview. The press, some of whom act like pit-bulls on steroids, toned it down considerably. They were respectful but on guard, understanding that they were in the presence of an all-time great who is under a lot of pressure and can fly off the handle at a moment’s notice. Hardball questions were few and far between, and the occasional attempt at a hardball question was so garbled as to be almost unintelligible. But Mayweather for the most part took it in his stride. He wasn’t looking to make enemies. He was looking to promote the Sept. 17 fight.

After introductory remarks by Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer and Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions, Mayweather clarified, I believe inadvertently, that the fact that he’s fighting a southpaw in Ortiz has nothing to do with his possibly fighting another southpaw (that dude named Pacquiao) in his next fight.

“I was just going to the fight,” said Mayweather about watching Ortiz win the title against Andre Berto at Foxwoods last April. “I didn’t have no plan. I had the plan of going to Connecticut, to 50 Cent’s house in Connecticut. Come to find out he only lived an hour from the casino where the fight was being held. Just wanted to go see the fight. I wasn’t scouting no opponent. I just went there to watch, just going there as a spectator to watch the fight. I don’t normally go to boxing like that, so I sat down and enjoyed the fight. The fight was interesting. I thought both guys was very impressive. Victor Ortiz was the better man that night. I didn’t have plans.”

Mayweather has his critics. We’re not talking those who shake their head at what goes between him and his father, but about what sometimes goes on, or doesn’t go on, in the ring. As brilliant a boxer as he is—and there is no purer boxer, no purer athlete in the game—his fights, while amazing demonstrations of the art of hitting and not being hit, are sometimes dull. Some fault Mayweather for his unwillingness to stand and trade, but Mayweather said the fault lies elsewhere.

“You gotta realize,” he said, “that certain individuals call themselves boxing experts. I feel like if you wanted to patent your fighter and patent your style, what better fighter to use than Floyd Mayweather? And that’s not boasting or bragging. It’s just, honest to god, I thought I had the best remedy how to win, whether it goes the distance or a knockout. The main thing about life is winning in life. Every reporter on this phone should think they are the best. If not, hopefully someday they’re looking to be the best. So it’s more like, you know, you hear about all these new guys that’s around, right? And you say, it’s obvious Floyd must have been doing something right because you have no fighters left from the ’96 Olympic teams, no fighters left on the 2000, no fighters left from the 2004. Even from 2008. So you gotta ask yourself: Where did these guys go? I’ve been dominating the fight game since Victor Ortiz was nine years old ‘til now, and I’m still sharp.”

It’s not only certain individuals who call themselves boxing experts that Mayweather thinks are out of line. It’s also some of the fighters he has fought.

“These fighters go into survival mode. Once they’re down on the scorecards and once they feel they have no chance of winning, they go into survival mode. Mosley done the same thing. Marquez done the same thing. These guys go into survival mode. Hatton was a little different. Hatton came to fight. So I did knock out a guy who comes to fight. But once you get to Floyd Mayweather, you get to the elite level. The guys go into survival mode. Genaro Hernandez came to fight. We were banging toe-to-toe, and I think he approached it like the best man was going to have to win. That’s how he approached it. And Hatton always, you know, approached fights like, ‘I’m coming to win. Either you’re going to get me or I’m going to get you.’”

Mayweather is exceptional. He may no longer be at the very top of his game, we’ll find out Saturday night, but he’s as good as they come. And if he’s not the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet, he’s certainly one of them, among the top three or four until proven otherwise.

“Anything can happen any given night,” reflected Floyd. “Anything can happen any given Saturday. Anything can happen. But like I always said, if a fighter beats me I want him to do it the fair and honest way, because I’ve done it the fair and honest way for 16 years. No matter how much Floyd brags or boasts, no matter how much he talks about his money, when it’s all said and done I’m fair. So I just want to be, the only thing I want to do, I want to be treated fair. That’s all I ask.”

The allusion to being “treated fair” was a reference to Pacquiao and Mayweather’s belief that he’s using PEDs. Mayweather didn’t speak his name. He didn’t have to. One of the members of the press did it for him.

“America is the country that I live in,” Mayweather said, “and I’m all about being fair. I just truly believe if you the best—take the test. But a lot of times, like I said before, Freddie Roach and I guess Team Pacquiao don’t want me to speak on them at all, don’t want me to say anything about them at all.

“It’s okay for him to go from 105 to 154 and say he gets a knockout and they say ‘you know what, it’s all natural.’ If I went from 147 to heavyweight and was knocking down heavyweights, would that be all natural? That’s what you got to ask yourself at the end of the day. Like I said before, I never accused anybody of doing anything. It’s obvious that you must be hiding something if I say I’m the best and you say you’re the best. So we fighting for the best belts. We fighting for the best titles. We fight in the best city in the world. We fight in the best country in the world. So why not have the best testing? That’s all I ask.

“If you’re the best, take the test.”

Mayweather’s “Take the test, take the test” does grow wearisome. He’s made his point. Manny should call his bluff, take the test, and see if see if Floyd agrees to fight him. But the mere mention of Pacquiao’s name seemed to upset Mayweather. By contrast, when Mayweather’s name was brought up at last week’s presser in New York City, Pacquiao smiled his cat-who-ate-the-canary smile, looking as if he didn’t have a care in the world. I don’t know what Pacquiao does or doesn’t do, knows or doesn’t know, believes or doesn’t believe, but he’s not tossing and turning at night thinking about Floyd Mayweather and the fight that will never be.

Mayweather was unusually, perhaps even alarmingly solemn during the teleconference call. He was as true to himself as ever, but it wasn’t the cocky Floyd Mayweather of 24/7. There were traces of something finite, intimations of things to come, in what he chose to address.

He spoke about the late Genaro Hernandez. He recalled going though his phone, “I went to the Gs, and Genaro Hernandez was the first name that I seen. My eyes got kind of watery because I was like, ‘Man, it all started with him.’ I told him, ‘Anything I could do to help you while you were in that situation, let me know. I don’t care what it is.’ And then a few months later he passes away.”

Floyd also spoke about the late Diego Corrales: “You think about Corrales. He put everything on the line to face me and to fight his heart out. It hurt him deep inside so he was mentally never right and then he got to drinking and then he got into a bad accident. What was so crazy is that he crashed right by my sister’s house, so you think about certain things like that.”

Mayweather has even been thinking about the late Arturo Gatti.

“Things happen in life,” he said. “It’s a rollercoaster ride. You go through certain obstacles in life. That’s what life is. Life is ups and downs.”

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Ricky Hatton Pt.1

Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Ricky Hatton Pt.2

Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Ricky Hatton Pt.3

Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Ricky Hatton Pt.4

Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Ricky Hatton Pt.5

Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Ricky Hatton Pt.6

Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Arturo Gatti Pt.1

Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Arturo Gatti Pt.2

Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Arturo Gatti Pt.3

Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Arturo Gatti Pt.4

Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Arturo Gatti Pt.5

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  1. Pablo Edwin Obregon 12:12pm, 09/17/2011

    Old Yank- It seems you too have butterflies, because I have them. Let’s just hope everything works out the way it is supposed to.

  2. "Old Yank" Schneider 08:28am, 09/15/2011

    Pablo—Indeed consensus and skills differential tell us that Mayweather will be much too much for Ortiz.  I just got an odd feeling about this one.

  3. Pablo Edwin Obregon 07:23pm, 09/14/2011

    Old Yank- I agree with you , Floyd is a bit or a lot slower in the ring, it all depends on who we talk to., But there is no way that a fighter like Ortiz is going to ever beat a Floyd Mayweather. There is too much for Ortiz to handle, way too much.

  4. "Old Yank" Schneider 07:35am, 09/13/2011

    Robert—I had Judah (that’s right Zab JUDAH), winning the first half of the Judah/Mayweather bout.  That was a lifetime ago (my memory tells me I gave Judah 4 of the opening 6 rounds—as did most observers).  We all saw Judah fade in the second half and Mayweather adjust in the second half.  Although I expect to see Mayweather adjusting as needed for Saturday night’s bout, I do not expect to see Ortiz fade.  The southpaw energy from Ortiz will pose a threat until the bout is over.  This bout is so damn easy to predict that an Ortiz win would go down as one of the biggest upsets in championship history.  By the clock set on my wall, we are over-due for a major championship upset.  This is not a prediction, just an odd feeling.

  5. "Old Yank" Schneider 07:22am, 09/13/2011

    Pablo—Mayweather is a seriously gifted fighter.  Father Time stops for no man; like a thief in the night, the first thing he steals from a fighter is one click of his speed—and then two.  Mayweather is an EASY pick for this bout [small print: assuming this Saturday night Mayweather is the Mayweather we are used to seeing]

  6. Pablo Edwin Obregon 07:18pm, 09/12/2011

    Old Yank and Mr. Ecksel , there is something different about Mayweather, not wrong, just different. Money is becoming more mature, and more of himself, we all have to grow up sometime. Now, let’s talk about fight night, and please remember this” AND NEW’, Because it will happen.

  7. Robert Ecksel 08:46am, 09/12/2011

    Old Yank—To your point, I scrutinized the three episodes of 24/7. We saw Floyd work mitts, the peanut bag, do roadwork, but never saw a second of him sparring. We saw Ortiz sparring, but not Mayweather. I hope he’s he sparring to toughen himself up for Saturday’s fight. But I have to wonder how good he looked with a live body hitting him and chasing him around the ring, especially since that footage seemed to have ended up on the cutting room floor.

  8. "Old Yank" Schneider 08:14am, 09/12/2011

    Mayweather calm?  Somethin’s wrong here!  He used to be able to stand from a sit-up position UNASSISTED.  Now he needs someone grasping him behind the calves and pulling him up.  Mayweather admitting that “anything can happen”?  Really?  Is that the Mayweather we all know?  A vulnerable Mayweather opening the door for “anything can happen”?  SOMETHIN’S WRONG HERE!!

  9. Joe 06:18am, 09/12/2011

    It wasn’t until Money whupped Chico that I thought (Pretty Boy ) was legit. Chico had some good shows against Castillo, Casamayor etc but he didn’t seem to be the same after getting knocked down what seemed like 10 times before his Pops threw the towel in.  He knew his charge had no quit in him.  In any case, my thoughts, Vicious is a one-dimensional guy who is going to get picked apart with those jabs and straight right hands…...Uncle Roger will say this at least ten times - “Keep doin’ what you doin’ we’ll get this emmeffer down the stretch”...

  10. Pablo Edwin Obregon 06:41pm, 09/11/2011

    After reading Mr. Ecksel’s article, I was touched by the comments made by Floyd and my admiration grew even more. Not only is he one of the greatest boxers that ever entered a boxing ring, but also a great person. Floyd, you are more than a legend in my eyes and God is with you!

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