Floyd Mayweather loves to talk — just ask him.
“My main thing is to entertain — in the ring, and outside the ring. The main thing is staying relevant,” said Mayweather, who returns to the ring tonight from a 16-month layoff when he takes on Victor Ortiz for the World Boxing Council welterweight title at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
While Mayweather’s fight against the 24-year-old from Kansas is not the big bout the entire boxing world wants to see, fans might want to tune in to see if the scrap is indeed a tune-up for a future megafight with pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao.
“I never said that at all. So please, don’t put words in my mouth,” the 34-year-old Mayweather said recently, defiantly answering a reporter’s question of whether the Filipino sensation would be next in line.
“Nothing is a precursor.”
Except for when it possibly is.
While Ortiz doesn’t have the pedigree of Pacquiao, he is a southpaw with power — much like “Pac-Man.”
The undefeated Mayweather (41-0, 25 KOs)—who oddsmakers have listed as a minus 650 favorite—may have wanted a refresher bout before possibly taking on Pacquiao, who faces Juan Manuel Marquez on Nov. 12 at the MGM Grand, in the spring.
Two rounds of talks between Mayweather and Pacquaio have broken down for what would arguably be the biggest—and no doubt richest—fight in boxing history, circumstances may have recently changed though to make the fight more of a possibility than ever before.
Pacquaio said he would undergo the Olympic-style drug testing that Mayweather’s camp demands. And Mayweather himself may need the rumored $40-$50 million payday, considering he’s facing a long list of lawsuits and criminal charges for everything from defaming Pacquiao to alleged domestic battery against his former girlfriend.
Mayweather’s trainer and uncle Roger Mayweather says “Money” is not dodging Pacquiao and insists the megafight will happen.
“There is no way in the world the fight with him and Manny Pacquiao isn’t going to happen,” Roger Mayweather said. “The only way it doesn’t happen is if Manny doesn’t take that (drug) test. When he takes that test, he will get what he wants. That’s a good ass whooping.”
Still Ortiz (29-2-2, 22 KOs) is no chump, having not lost in six bouts and coming off his gritty win against Andre Berto in April to claim the WBC crown.
The hungry fighter wasn’t scared to engage the brash Mayweather as the escalating war of words heated up during fight week.
“I sense a little nervousness over here in this part of the room,” Ortiz said during Wednesday press conference as he looked at Mayweather’s team.
“I’m gonna teach you what it feels like to have that one (loss) on your record, bro. It’s going to be very nice to do what others have tried and failed. What is (your record)? 41-0? Forty-one of those weren’t me.”
Mayweather—who HBO fans saw cuss out his father and former trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr. on the 24/7 build-up show—quickly took the podium looking for a reply.
Instead of being rash, Mayweather calmly thanked Ortiz’s Golden Boy Promotions team. But just as he appeared ready to wrap up his comments, he unleashed a firework.
“You seen Victor’s story. You know, about his mother leaving. I would never expose his hand and tell him I know the real truth, that his father didn’t leave. But it’s good for TV,” said Mayweather of Ortiz’s well-known story of abandonment as a child.
“No, his father didn’t leave, and he went to high school in California. I’ve got to do my homework on individuals.”
Ortiz laughed off the comments.
“I understand it’s one of his tactics. He’s got a loud mouth. He has to try to put somebody down to make himself look good,” he said. “Hey man if that’s how he is, come Saturday night those eight ounces in his mouth will feel good.”
The fight looked like it might start on Friday as Mayweather put his hands around Ortiz’s neck at the official weigh-in. The scrum got settled, and Mayweather again promised the crowd at the MGM Grand what he’s been saying all week.
“I’ve been here so many times. When I get out here it’s just like, ‘Here we go again.’ It’s the same thing. Okay? Here we go,” Mayweather said.
“I’m the best, and I’m going to show them that I’m the best.”