In a somewhat messy press conference this afternoon in Times Square, "Money" Mayweather showed up at the first sign of boos from the New York audience gathered for the event, bringing out the old bad guy persona that helped turn him into boxing's biggest star, after trying to scale that back for a couple of years.
Mayweather (46-0, 26 KO) started his speech by thanking the fans and media and all of that, but mere moments later, he had turned against everyone. As fans waved Maidana signs and chanted for the Argentine fighter, who gets a second shot to knock off Mayweather on September 13, Floyd's heel character came pouring out, as he offered to bet Maidana's purse that he would beat him again in the rematch.
When that offer was turned down by manager Sebastian Contursi, Mayweather declared that he had "pulled (Maidana's) ho card," and instructed Mayweather Promotions CEO and press conference host Leonard Ellerbe to "talk about this bum."
All in all, it might have been a little touch-and-go from a production standpoint today, but Floyd saved the event by digging down, displaying his "swag" (he repeated the same line on this topic twice, in Adrien Broner fashion), contradicting himself, and just being Floyd Mayweather for the sake of getting everyone riled up. It worked, and it's probably gotten this press tour off to a much better start than the promotion for their first fight, which was notably lacking.
On the Maidana (34-4, 31 KO) side, trainer Robert Garcia said he wasn't sure if they'd be allowed to use their preferred gloves in this fight, which was a huge point of contention the first time around, and Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez, representing the company in Oscar De La Hoya's absence, dubbed Maidana "Mr. Kryptonite," a nickname that will probably go over as well as when Roy Jones Jr decided he was "Captain Hook" for his fight with Jeff Lacy.
In his turn at the podium, Maidana kept it short, saying, "I deserve this rematch. I want to thank Floyd Mayweather for giving me this opportunity. Without a doubt, we're going to prove who won the first fight with this rematch."
Given a loud, over-the-top introduction by Ellerbe, Mayweather took to the stage declared as "the best to ever do it," and a man who had "completed changed the face of all sports, not just boxing." Mayweather was cordial, then took a sharp left turn once he read the audience.
After the presser, Mayweather told Showtime, "If he really believes in his skills, however much you're making for the fight, bet it. I believe in my skills, so I'll take any bet."
When asked why he was giving Maidana a rematch instead of fighting someone else, Floyd said, "Why not? I wanted to give the fans what they wanted to see. They wanted to see Mayweather-Maidana part two, so you know what? It's all about the fans."
He then said, "You must realize, Floyd Mayweather is not just fighting a fighter, I'm fighting against the world. I'm fighting against the critics, I'm fighting against the media, I'm fighting against everybody," doing his classic flip-flop on that topic, where depending on the speech he's looking to give, he either gives fans and media major credit for the success of his career, or declares that they're his enemy, and never give him the respect he deserves.
"Maidana had his moments in the first fight," Mayweather added. "Out of 12 rounds, I think you can give him three, maybe four rounds. But I clearly won the fight."
He was also asked about the surprise he promised for next May, but said he "can't let the cat out of the bag" before this next fight, and that he was focused solely on Maidana. He also wouldn't commit to commenting on fighting in May 2015 on Cinco De Mayo weekend, which Canelo Alvarez has said he wants to "take back" for Mexican boxing.
Another topic swirling around Mayweather lately is whether or not he's looking to fight in New York at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, something that keeps coming up despite the fact that New York's taxes are rather brutal, particularly compared to Nevada, which has no state income tax for individuals or corporations.
"There's no city like New York City, of course. It's always been one of my goals to fight at Madison Square Garden or the Barclays Center, either/or," he said. "The Barclays Center is truly unbelievable. But the only thing we can do is take one fight at a time. We have to go out there and do what we do best, and that's be victorious."
Maidana spoke with Showtime after Mayweather, and pretty much brushed off the question of the bet, turning it around to being about the gloves. "We can bet for whatever. It doesn't really matter to me. Will he allow me to use my gloves?"
He added, "Yeah, there might be some sort of controversy (on fight night). I think he's afraid. That's why he doesn't want me to use my gloves. He says I fight dirty? He's the king of the elbows."
Maidana also ignored Mayweather calling him a bum, saying, "It doesn't matter to me. Maybe I am, maybe I'm not. I'm going to train hard, and I think I can beat him," adding that he had a few adjustments to make, plans to train better this time, and believes in his ability to beat the king of the boxing world.