By Sean Crose
“I still find a way to win.”
Floyd Mayweather reiterated that fact numerous times during Wednesday’s final press conference for The Moment, his May 3d battle with Marcos Maidana. He was right. Speed. Power. Agility. None of those things have mattered against Floyd. He has, always, always, found a way to win.
Most people are assuming Floyd will find a way to win again during Saturday’s fight – and they have good reason to. Marcos Maidana is tough, rugged and possesses the greatest heart since Rocky Marciano (or at least since Evander Holyfield), yet the Argentinian slugger is slow and predictable.
“Is he one of the best guys in the sport?” Mayweather asked of Maidana. “Yes he is. But I am the best, that’s the difference.” Few would disagree. For no matter how aggressive he is, no matter how bold and determined he remains throughout the course of the fight, Maidana will still be facing a man who has made a career of not getting hit. It’s that simple. Not even Pernell Whitaker got tagged as infrequently as Floyd has.
Still, Maidana is nothing if not determined. “We had a great training camp,” his trainer, Robert Garcia quietly told the gathered media. He seemed almost sheepish, Garcia did, but he’s worked wonders since becoming Maidana’s trainer. The fact that he has convinced Maidana to start using an effective jab alone is worth noting. In other words, Maidana will undoubtedly look as good as he ever has come Saturday night.
Surprisingly enough, Maidana himself didn’t want to endear himself to the crowd during the press conference – odd since he has been sympathetically portrayed as a great underdog since the moment The Moment was announced.
“I want to thank my family, my team, and that’s about it,” he said, adding that: “nobody’s given anything to me.” And as for Mayweather? “I don’t give a fuck about him.” Clearly the guy everyone loved from the Broner victory had evaporated. That man was replaced on Wednesday by an Argentinian roughneck with a reputed history of legal trouble back in his native country.
Floyd, on the other hand, was pretty gracious. “First off,” he told the media, “I want to thank God, because without God all this wouldn’t be possible.” He then claimed that he wanted “to thank Maidana and their team.” This obviously wasn’t the Floyd who had so aggravated Arturo Gatti all those years ago. And it certainly wasn’t Adrien Broner.
Still, the world’s highest paid athlete hasn’t mellowed out as far as training goes. “I train for every fight like it’s my last fight,” he said, knowing there was an ample variety of evidence to support his statement. “It’s obvious,” he added a moment later, “I’m doing something right.”
Indeed it is obvious. Floyd may not be conventional, but he’s extremely successful, nonetheless. “I don’t ever go into a fight with a game plan,” he claimed. “My game plan is to win, and to be first.” When was the last time any fighter besides Floyd himself had ever uttered such words? No game plan? Was he crazy? Apparently not, because he’s always won.
Naturally, other issues arose, which perhaps should have been expected, considering the magnitude of the gathering. Mayweather gave a healthy donation to a breast cancer charity (very nice). Richard Schaefer played cold war politics (very tiring at this point). And even Bernard Hopkins was there for reasons I’m still not certain of (amusing, but odd). The most telling moment, though, may have come from Mayweather pal Leonard Ellerbe.
“This very well could be his last fight,” Ellerbe said of Mayweather. Could that really be true? Is Floyd really considering retirement? Or is he simply gunning for more pay per view buys? Time will tell. One thing was certain on Wednesday, however. It was something Ellerbe said best.
“There will never ever be (another) Floyd Mayweather.”
——– Additional Press Conf Quotes:
“I may have three fights after this, I’m really not sure. I don’t know what I’m going to do. But I can promise you this: Saturday, I’m going to give you guys what you want to see. It’s not going to be the same fight that I fought with Canelo; it’s not going to be the same fight that I fought with Robert Guerrero. It’s going to be a totally different fight. No game plan at all. I’m going to be right there.
“I think styles make fights. I’m looking to win and I’m looking to win very impressively. I’m pretty sure he’s coming straight ahead and we’ll see how the fight plays out.
“If I feel like walking away I’ll walk away. I want to settle down and get married. Tonight you guys really, really need to watch ALL ACCESS. It’s going to be a good show tonight. Watch it.
“I’ve been here before and know what it takes to win a fight of this magnitude. When the best fight the best, it takes more than just power. It takes more than just a great heart. You have to dig deep. You have to be mentally strong, not just physically strong, to win a fight like this.
“As of late, Marcos Maidana has been making a lot of noise. Is he one of the best in the sport? Yes he is. But I am the best. And that’s the difference.
“He’s tough, he’s rugged, he’s a champion. I respect him as a man, but come Saturday you have to earn my respect as a fighter.
“I never go in a game with a game plan. My game plan is to win and be first.
“I can’t overlook this guy. He earned it. Argentina is a great country and you all have a true champion. He’s a true champion, he’s a warrior, and he got here somehow, someway. He represents his country real well. I’m a worldwide figure, but I bleed the red, white and blue first.
“Giving back to the breast cancer survivors is a great feeling. It’s a great feeling when you’re in a position to give back. I’ll give anything back to our women. Our women are our queens so we have to respect them. I want to commend you ladies and tell you that you’re beautiful.
“So many females in my family had breast cancer. My aunt was the first person in my family to die of breast cancer. This is my 46th fight so I decided to bring 46 women with breast cancer to my fight and buy them all new wigs.
“I couldn’t ask for a better partner than SHOWTIME and MGM. Richard Sturm, you are a great guy, you are remarkable. Everything I asked of the MGM they have given me and more. I have a lifetime bond and a lifetime relationship with you guys. I respect this hotel.
“This is another champion of course, Bernard Hopkins. We don’t know what the future holds for us. He’s 49, I’m 37.” Bernard: “we’re almost 200 years old.” “Bernard’s another legendary champion that I take my hat off to. He’s done a lot to open the doors in boxing and I commend him for that.”
“No one has given anything to me. The opportunity, I earned it myself.
“I know this is a very difficult fight. That’s why I trained like never before.
“Mayweather is a great fighter, but I don’t give a (expletive) about this guy.
“It’s very important to land the combos and keep at him.
“I’m prepared for whatever he brings. If he wants to trade blows, we’ll trade blows. If he wants to run, we can handle that, too. We’re prepared for everything.
“I’m relaxed. We’re good. I talk a little trash because it gets me mad, gets me ready.”