Floyd Mayweather says he has “no regrets” about keeping millions of boxing fans waiting several years to see him share a ring with Manny Pacquiao – even though both champions are entering the autumn of their careers.
“Everything in life is about timing,” Mayweather, 38, said after another public workout at his Las Vegas gym for the 2 May fight at the city’s MGM Grand. “I have no regrets that this fight didn’t take place five years ago [negotiations actually started in 2009]. I didn’t think it was that big then but it continued to get bigger and bigger. Not just in boxing but outside of the sport. Pacquiao [who is 36] has continued to grow outside of the sport.
“We didn’t need to rush anything. This was a difficult fight to make happen but we made it happen. This fight is one of the biggest ever in boxing. The timing is right. This fight is about legacy, fans and family. I can’t say this match-up is about hype. This is real life. This is two future hall‑of‑famers in a mega-fight. I’ve done record-breaking numbers before and it looks like we’re going to do it again.”
After a strangely muted hiatus since the fight was confirmed on 22 February, both fighters are deep into the serious part of their preparations, Mayweather happy to work out in front of a daily caravan of onlookers, Pacquiao choosing for once to train behind closed doors.
While there is little visible or audible animosity between the fighters, their trainers are filling the void well enough. Pacquiao’s voluble mentor, Freddie Roach, has claimed Mayweather has been knocked about in sparring, and stories have leaked from his Wild Card gym that Pacquiao has been suffering from cramp.
“So many people were trying to say Floyd was scared,” Mayweather’s father and trainer, Floyd Sr, said. “Let’s see on 2 May who is scared. I can’t tell you why or how, but here’s an update: Floyd is going to kick his ass and knock Pacquiao out. I didn’t watch one tape on Pacquiao. There is no reason to study him. He’s not at this level. Coach Roach is telling you lies.
“Floyd is as well-rounded a fighter as there has ever been, but he’s really still here because of his defence. Other guys fight with their head and their mind and come up short. It’s his great defence that has kept him on top for so long. I want you all to see it. It’s so plain and simple what he’s going to do. Even Ray Charles could see it.”
As for the fight itself – with his WBC and WBA versions of the welterweight championship on the line alongside Pacquiao’s WBO belt – Mayweather Jr says, “This is going to be an exciting fight. Our styles are totally different. He is very, very reckless. Every move I make is calculated. I’m always 5-10 steps ahead of my opponent.
“We’ll see what happens when the fight starts. But when all is said and done I’m going to be the winner. Pacquiao is strong and solid but I don’t know if he can make adjustments like I can. I feel tremendous.
“I’m still going strong. The last time I looked, I was 47 and 0. Anyone can get hit with a great shot, but I can make more adjustments, and Manny can’t. I don’t think Pacquiao expected me to look as strong or big when we faced off [at the Los Angeles press conference two weeks ago]. I walk around at 150-152lb to weigh 147lb. Other boxers weigh around 160-170 before coming down.”
As for life after Pacquaio, win, lose or draw, Mayweather says: “I’ve got one more fight on my contract. I couldn’t be happier with Showtime and CBS.
Las Vegas is the boxing capital. During a Floyd Mayweather fight weekend, you can shop, party, stay out late and do anything you want. The city of Las Vegas has everything. There were offers to fight other places, but the MGM Grand is my home.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010