Floyd Mayweather Jr was not his usual self at today's press conference in New York. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Floyd Mayweather Jr has been a great boxer since he turned pro, and really even before that as an amateur. But as his career progressed, it was his big mouth that made him the hundreds of millions of dollars he's piled up over the years, and turned him into a go-to star for HBO and boxing in general across the world.
Today's press conference in New York, though, saw the normally boisterous Mayweather struggle to stay on any particular thought when trying to hype his September 17 return fight against Victor Ortiz, and by the end of his extended stay at the microphone stand, it was unclear if he was even trying to promote the fight at all.
Instead of talking about fighting Ortiz, the 34-year-old Mayweather (41-0, 25 KO) instead focused mostly on himself and his portrayal in the media. He switched from all but scolding the media for saying mean things about him or "making up stories" to thanking the media for helping his career and keeping him relevant. He thanked "the fans" often. He said he wanted to fight 10 more times. He briefly touched on his ongoing legal issues, and made a bizarre comparison between his domestic violence allegations and the likes of O.J. Simpson and Chris Brown. He took clever little shots at Manny Pacquiao, then denied having ever accused Pacquiao of using performance enhancing drugs.
All of this without even being asked a question.
Mayweather came with three of his children, who sat on the dais with him and his business partner Leonard Ellerbe. Their presence was enough to make Ortiz (29-2-2, 22 KO) apologize for dropping an F-bomb during his brief speech, and after everything was over, the two fighters had photographs taken with the kids.
But Mayweather seemed on another planet for much of the press conference today. Some of it was the usual B.S., but as his time at the mic went on, he seemed more and more to have left the public persona of Money Mayweather at home, and was talking about how he wishes his kids wouldn't read negative stories about him on the internet, about how he just asks for respect.
This is not meant to be negative toward Mayweather, either. It was just strange -- and that might be because he was being honest and being real. Or it could simply be that after flying in from Vegas with three kids, Floyd was tired. Or it could be that Floyd is tired in many ways these days, stressed out from what the public knows is going on with his life, plus whatever else the public does not know.
I can say this: It was a different Floyd Mayweather Jr than we usually see trying to sell a fight. And if he's like this on "24/7," he might just be in danger against Ortiz on September 17.
Quick Notes from the Press Conference
- Mayweather on Pacquiao: "Do I want the Pacquiao fight? Absolutely. Absolutely. If that’s what the fans want, that’s what I want to give the fans. But it takes one step at a time. I can’t overlook Victor Ortiz. He’s tough and he’s earned the right. ... I never said Manny Pacquiao was cheating. There’s cheating in sports, period."
- Ortiz made a reference to the 1985 fight between Julio Cesar Chavez and Roger Mayweather, Floyd's uncle and trainer. I didn't quite get what he was going for because it didn't really add up at all -- it's not like the fights are on the same date, or the same month, or it was 20 years ago even or something, and Roger had already lost a couple of fights by then, and I'm pretty certain Chavez was the favorite.
- Golden Boy and HBO will be selling the fight in theaters once again.
- "24/7" starts on August 27, the same night as the Robert Guerrero vs Marcos Maidana fight.
- The video that they put together for this fight was unbelievable in so many ways. They're really going hard on the outer space idea behind "Star Power."