Friday, March 30, 2007

Floyd puts the World on Blast

By Thomas Gerbasi

Oscar De La Hoya. Shane Mosley. Golden Boy Promotions. Bob Arum. Don King. Even the nosy media. No one was safe from the vitriol of four-division world champ Floyd Mayweather during a Wednesday media teleconference, adding some more life to the biggest boxing event of 2007.

Conversely, the ‘Golden Boy’s portion of the call was significantly more sedate, no surprise after the media circus that saw the two traipse around the country to promote their May 5th megafight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. But Mayweather’s mouth has started to get on the nerves of De La Hoya.

“I truly feel that Mayweather needs a humbling experience,” said De La Hoya. “He really is a little brat. Just the way he comes across, he’s very arrogant. We were on a press tour and he can get on the podium and say a few nice things and then his real side comes out. It’s uncalled for and unnecessary. You would never see Tiger Woods talk bad about Jack Nicklaus. It’s disrespectful and revs me up.”

Not that the hyper ‘Pretty Boy Floyd’ needs any revving of his own.

“There are two things we know about Oscar – we know he gets tired and we know that he will lay down,” said Mayweather, referring to De La Hoya’s 2004 knockout loss to Bernard Hopkins. “We also know Oscar can be beat because he’s got four ‘L’s. In Oscar’s last four fights, he’s 2-2. In my last four fights, I’m 4-0. There’s no style that can beat Floyd Mayweather because we haven’t seen him lose yet.”

Through 37 fights, Mayweather has been perfect while rising to the top of many pound for pound lists, and in many pundits’ eyes, the Grand Rapids native will enter the ring this spring as a heavy favorite. So to close the gap a bit, De La Hoya has enlisted Freddie Roach as his trainer, a change from Floyd Mayweather Sr., but a successful move thus far as far as ‘The Golden Boy’ is concerned.

“The styles are totally different,” said De La Hoya of his past and present trainers. “Floyd Sr. is a great trainer and I have nothing negative to say, but the way they hold the mitts and talk to you is night and day. Freddie is more intense and it’s non-stop with him. Combination after combination, ducking under punches, its constant pressure and it’s gotten me in better shape.”

To get ready for Mayweather’s speed, De La Hoya will even bring in old rival and current business partner Shane Mosley for a month beginning next week.

“We’ve always been friends, ever since we were kids,” said De La Hoya of Mosley, who holds two wins over the East LA native. “He was always the top fighter in the amateurs and every time we would meet or travel together, we always got along. He’s always been a guy I got along with. He’s going to do me the honors of coming down to help me on the second of April and he’ll be here for a month.”

“People are going to be very surprised at how I’ll be able to match his (Mayweather’s) speed,” he continued. “Fighters like this really take me to a whole new level.”

Mayweather was less complimentary of “Sugar Shane”.

“If Shane Mosley is a sparring partner, then that’s what he is,” said Mayweather. “That’s all Shane Mosley’s ever been, was a sparring partner. I can’t really say nothing bad about Shane because he’s not his own boss. If I’m gonna say anything or talk about Shane, I’m gonna talk to his wife or I’m gonna talk to Oscar because they’re his bosses. So all I can say is Shane ain’t nothin’ but a sparring partner.”

Whoa. But he was just getting started, opting to toss out a few jabs at his opponent.

“He ain’t real and you all keep believing the stories he’s been telling you,” said Mayweather of his May dance partner. “Oscar De La Hoya is a fake-ass fighter and he says stuff like I don’t belong to stay in the sport of boxing and I don’t deserve certain things, and we all know that Oscar De La Hoya’s greedy, he’s ungrateful, and he’s a brat. HBO will tell you that. Richard Schaefer says stuff like Oscar De La Hoya is the most decorated champion and the most famous champion. No he’s not. The most famous fighter in boxing ever is either Muhammad Ali or Mike Tyson. And they say he’s the highest grossing. No, that would be Mike Tyson. And the best fighter would be Floyd Mayweather. You don’t even mention that guy Oscar’s name in the same sentence as us three.”

Next on the firing line was the media, for digging into his own personal affairs when it comes to his relationship with his father.

“We’re here to talk about me and Oscar,” said Mayweather. “I’m not fighting my dad. What happened in the past happened in the past and we’ll leave it at that. The media loves trying to find out what’s going on with me and my dad, and they’re the ones who’ve been keeping all this negative s**t going for all these years and it ain’t even nothing that big. My dad is in the gym everyday, but Roger is my trainer and he’s gonna train me on my May 5th. Me and my dad’s personal business is our personal business. When you interview me I don’t ask you what’s going on with you and your dad or you and your mom.”

What Mayweather did reveal about his reconciliation with his father is that “He’s been in the gym and there’s been nothing but love.” And if De La Hoya’s concerned about Mayweather Jr. getting his strategic secrets from Sr., he’s not letting on.

“I don’t think it’s gonna make a difference,” said De La Hoya. “We have him down and it’s not gonna be a fight where I have to change my strategy or my whole game. I have to make little adjustments here and there.”

The biggest adjustment Mayweather could be facing will be entering the biggest promotion of his career with the spotlight squarely on him. Sure, he’s been in big fights before, but nothing quite like this. You could chalk his constant chatter up to nerves, but he won’t.

“I’m never nervous,” he bristles. “I’ve been in 18 championship fights. This guy doesn’t pose no threat to me at all. I’ve been in there with every style. He hasn’t been in there with a style like mine. I never fought one fight the same. You just don’t know what Floyd Mayweather you’re gonna get on May 5th, but I promise you this, you will get an exciting fight.”

And if you believe the 30-year old Mayweather, it will be his last promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.

“I don’t ever want to do business with Golden Boy Promotions again,” he said. “I can’t say what the future holds, but you can see how the company is. It’s like when Bernard Hopkins’ nephew (Demetrius) fought. He was Golden Boy Promotions, he fought Steve Forbes, he got his ass kicked, and look how they gave him the fight. So going into this fight, you’ve got to watch them because they’re slick – they’ve got tricks up their sleeves and they know what I’m talking about. They get mad about me putting their company on blast but to be honest, they’re no different from Don King or Bob Arum. Oscar talks bad about Bob Arum, but then he goes and do the same thing Bob Arum do.”

Floyd Mayweather won’t make any friends with his comments on Wednesday, but that’s okay. He’s not in the friend-making business; he’s in the fighting business, and in this game, winning is everything. And that’s what he plans on doing on May 5th. As he puts it, “I’m a fighter with special effects, I can do whatever it takes to win.”


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