Mayweather, Marquez hold public workouts in L.A.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. was the center of the media's attention while he had his hands wrapped before a public workout Monday in Los Angeles. Photo / Hoganphotos.com
LOS ANGELES — The promotion for Saturday’s Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Juan Manuel Marquez showdown received a healthy amount of casual fan exposure when both fighters held public workouts in front of the Kodak Theatre Arch on Monday on Hollywood Boulevard.
A crowd of around 70-80 hardcore fans gathered around the tiny 10-by-10-foot ring set up near the sidewalk just outside the giant indoor mall to which Arch is attached, while hundreds of pedestrians paused during their walks through the popular tourist area to watch the future hall-of-fame boxers shake out.
The onlookers got to see Mayweather work through a brisk training routine at 11:30 a.m. and then observe Marquez’s abbreviated training session an hour later.
Mayweather was clearly going through the motions as he worked mitts with his uncle and trainer, Roger, but he was visibly faster than Marquez, who punched with authority while working the heavy and speed bags.
Mayweather also pounded on the mid-section of assistant trainer Nate Jones, who was clad in his usual body padding, then worked the speed bag and skipped rope.
Mayweather’s rope-skipping routine is second to none in my opinion (although junior flyweight titleholder Brian Viloria is a close runner-up). Even when Mayweather only gives a half-effort, as he did during Monday’s exercises, he appears faster and sharper than most world-class boxers operating at 100 percent.
The mitt routine he and Roger do for the public involves more muscle memory than conscious action, but Mayweather’s reflexes, upper body movement and block-counter combinations were still impressive.
The sun peaked through the clouds around noon, so Mayweather got a good sweat in front of the tourists and boxing media, which included representatives from Mexico and the Philippines.
The crowd of hardcore fans, most of whom were of Mexican descent, came alive when Marquez arrived.
The lightweight champ shadow boxed with gloves on before working the bags. The added weight he’s carrying is well distributed on his featherweight frame (he didn’t appear top heavy) but to my eyes his hand speed is not what it was at lightweight (which wasn’t what it was at featherweight and junior lightweight).
Marquez might prove me and a lot of pundits wrong but I think it’s a mistake for him to come in more than a few pounds over lightweight.
Marquez said he expects to weigh in and fight around “143, 144 pounds.”
MAYWEATHER MISSES BOXING, NOT MEDIA
Mayweather, who fielded questions from the media before his workout, was asked whether he missed the excitement that accompanies the final week of a big fight during his year off (2008).
The old saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder” holds true for the former five-division titleholder, who hasn’t fought since his 10th-round TKO of Ricky Hatton in December of 2007.
“I needed a break,” Mayweather said as veteran cornerman Rafael Garcia meticulously wrapped his hands. “I had been active since 1987 without a having a break. Sometimes you need to get away from the things you love to remind you how much you love it. Of course I love boxing. The sport’s been good to me.”
While boxing’s been good to him, the media covering the sport has been so-so, according to Mayweather.
“Here’s the thing about the media,” Mayweather said when I brought the subject up. “Let’s say you got 20 writers. Well, 15 are gonna write the same thing, and 9 out 10 are gonna write something negative. Four or five will write something OK, but only one will write something positive and good.”
I betting Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports is the one “positive and good” boxing writer in Mayweather’s book.
I didn’t ask where I fell in his media breakdown.
“I’ll be honest,” Mayweather said. “I don’t read stories about me.”
However, Mayweather does watch TV shows about him, particularly the one he says he invented, HBO’s 24/7.
Mayweather has been one-half of three of the multi-part reality series, beginning with the first show with Oscar De La Hoya in spring of 2007, followed by Ricky Hatton later that year and now Marquez.
Mayweather claims the network still hasn’t got it right when it comes to portraying him to America.
“HBO likes to always show negative things about me,” he said. “They never do that with De La Hoya. They never show the negative things in his life. They won’t show him wearing fishnet stockings.”
In a RingTV.com column that ran two weeks ago (“Ten crucial questions for Mayweather-Marquez”) I cited an email from an anonymous trainer of one of Mayweather’s sparring partners who claimed his fighter witnessed a wild gym scene that erupted with a sparring session between ‘Money’ and 140-pound contender Lamont Peterson.
The trainer claimed his fighter said that Mayweather and Peterson did a lot of jawing before they went eight intense 4-minute rounds with only 15-second breaks. Peterson, the trainer said, ran out of gas and was unable to continue, incurring the verbal wrath of Mayweather and his team.
A few days later, Rick Reeno, editor of BoxingScene.com, wrote a piece on the sparring session and quoted an anonymous witness who claimed Peterson got the better of Mayweather.
“If anyone got their ass kicked, it was Floyd,” Reeno’s source said. “Lamont went to town on the boy.”
Reeno interviewed Peterson’s trainer-manager, Barry Hunter, who claimed that the two sparred twice and that the second session, in which the fighters exchanged as much trash talk as they did punches, was dominated by his fighter.
Hunter added that prior to the start of the last round Mayweather tried to get a drink of water and Peterson “went right to him and hit him” because “he didn’t want no breaks.” Hunter told Reeno that Peterson took off his headgear “and wanted to fight without headgear” so he intervened to prevent an actual fist fight from breaking out.
“That’s a f___ing lie,” said Jones, an Olympic teammate of Mayweather’s (who won also won a bronze medal at the ’96 Games) and is now a part of his old friend’s training crew. “That’s all bulls__t. Lamont gave Floyd decent work but he wasn’t whuppin’ on him.
“And there wasn’t no arguing or street fight or near street fight at the end of the sparring session. No disrespect to Lamont, but if he had gotten near Floyd tryin’ to fight him without his headgear, I would have jumped in the ring and tossed his ass outta there.”
Mayweather downplayed the sparring session and claimed that no incident occurred.
“I don’t get paid to spar, so what do I care what somebody says?” he said. “It was more wrestling than boxing to me, anyway.
“I have nothing against Lamont. I wish him nothing but success in his career.”
Richard Schaefer countered internet rumors that Mayweather-Marquez tickets aren’t selling by reporting that the gate for Saturday’s fight has already exceeded “well over $6 million.”
“It’s only Monday and the fight is already one of the biggest non-heavyweight bouts in Nevada history,” said the Golden Boy Promotions CEO. “Anyone who says the fight isn’t selling isn’t living on this planet.
“We’re going to announce the opening up of closed circuit locations this week. We wouldn’t do that if tickets weren’t selling.”
Schaefer believes the fight will sellout the MGM Grand’s Garden Arena, which is configured for close to 16,000 seats.
“De La Hoya-Pacquiao didn’t sellout until fight week and I fully expect Mayweather-Marquez to do the same,” he said.
Doug Fischer can be reached at [email protected] You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/dougiefischer