Floyd Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez didn’t engage in any fisticuffs at the final press conference to promote their September 14 fight; instead, Mayweather, considered by some to be the unofficial “pound for pound” champion of boxing, took part in a little verbal sparring with an opponent he has previously defeated inside the ring.
At many of these events, Mayweather has encountered ardent Latin followers of Alvarez, and Tuesday’s conference was no exception. In fact, it was an especially pro-Alvarez crowd he was facing. But he has encountered hostile environments before, so there was nothing unusual or intimidating about the throng that showed up at the Nokia Plaza at L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles.
It may, however, have been unusual that he and Oscar De La Hoya, the promoter of the September 14 fight, were going at it the way they did.
Understandably the people at Golden Boy Promotions are high on their charge. Alvarez is undefeated (42-0-1, 30 KO’s), young and strong, and he has the kind of appeal that gets audiences excited. And why not? He has the kind of aggressive style that promises he will be coming forward all the way against Mayweather. In fact, you have to excuse De La Hoya and his right hand man, Richard Schaefer, if they have resorted to some exaggeration in describing their man.
Schaefer called Alvarez “the Mexican James Dean.” Does this suggest a movie career could be in the offing? Who knows, but De La Hoya continued by predicting that the bout could be “the best fight in the history of the sport” and that his man would win. Schaefer, in previous interviews, did not go so far as to predict that the Mayweather-Alvarez fight would surpass the fight between Mayweather and De La Hoya as the largest single pay per view boxing event of all-time, but he did suggest that it might come in second.
Where De La Hoya got Mayweather’s goat was when he introduced Alvarez as “boxing’s biggest star.” With that comment, however, he was throwing one right into Floyd’s wheelhouse, so to speak.
When it was Mayweather’s turn to speak, he demonstrated that he was ready. In referring to the organization that is essentially handling the actual promotion itself (along with his own company), Mayweather said “I can’t really speak about Oscar, but Richard Schaefer IS Golden Boy.” De La Hoya was angry at the slight, and that is when Mayweather sensed he had him where he wanted him.
Mayweather implied that HE should be called the “Golden Boy” because, in his words, “I beat everybody on your whole crew,” an obvious reference not only to Mayweather’s wins over the likes of Shane Mosley, Victor Ortiz, Miguel Cotto and Robert Guerrero, but also his 12-round decision over De La Hoya in May 2007, which set the aforementioned pay per view subscriber record with 2.4 million. They were scheduled for a rematch that was to take place in 2008, but Mayweather wound up announcing his retirement instead.
With regard to De La Hoya’s “star” comment, Mayweather, who has the most lucrative contract in the sport’s history with Showtime, was quick to point out that “he’s never been on pay per view, unless he was on my undercard.” It is true that Alvarez has not headlined a PPV event before, although most ringside observers feel he’ll have enough strength and appeal to carry his end of the bargain. After all, the MGM Grand Garden is already sold out, and the executives from Showtime are wildly optimistic about the potential numbers, especially on the heels of the rather ho-hum reaction to Mayweather’s fight with Guerrero in May.