Civility prevails at final Mayweather-Marquez news conference
LAS VEGAS – The most-amusing things about Wednesday’s final news conference to promote the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Juan Manuel Marquez fight on Saturday were things that didn’t happen.
Some background, Part 1: When Oscar De La Hoya fought Mayweather in 2007, Mayweather brought to a news conference a chicken with a gold medal around its neck. It was Mayweather’s way to poke fun at his foe, an Olympic gold medalist who had been dubbed “Chicken De La Hoya.”
To get back at Mayweather, De La Hoya and Co., who promote Marquez, brought fuzzy little chicks and planned to present one with string and a penny around its neck, a reference to Mayweather’s nickname, “Money.”
In the end, they decided against going through with it because of the surprisingly magnanimous tone of the news conference.
Some background, Part 2: Marquez revealed on HBO’s reality series 24/7 that he drinks his urine as part of his training regimen, which has been one of the most talked-about elements of the promotion during fight week in Las Vegas.
With that in mind, Mayweather’s uncle-trainer, Roger Mayweather, brought to the news conference a small box with the words “Cow Pie!” on it. He planned to present it to Marquez and, according to reliable sources, say something to the effect of: “You drink urine. Why don’t you eat this?”
In the end, the fighter’s handlers thought better of it and didn’t even allow Roger Mayweather to speak at the podium.
In the end, civility ruled the day, which is unusual for boxing.
Then again ÔÇª: Mayweather explained to a handful of reporters that he has nothing against Marquez but took a shot at De La Hoya in the process.
“(Marquez) hasn’t said nothing negative about me,” Mayweather said. “ÔÇª Everybody over there [in Marquez’s camp], his trainer, Marquez, good guys. I respect those guys. There’s only one fake person over there and we know who he is.”
He later added: “I know he truly don’t like me and I truly don’t like him. We both don’t like each other. I don’t know if it’s an Ali-Frazier type hate but he just don’t like me and I just don’t like him. From the bottom of my heart, I just don’t like him.”
Someone asked him why he doesn’t like De La Hoya.
“He don’t like me,” he said. “It’s just bull s—, for real. [De La Hoya says] ‘Hey, how are you guys doing.’ It’s fake.”
A few hours later, in the media center, De La Hoya was told about Mayweather’s comments but still said he finds Mayweather likable and is well aware of his rival’s feelings.
“I think it’s jealousy,” De La Hoya said. “I’m sure Mayweather has a lot of emotions in him. He probably blames me for a lot of it. When we were both promoted by Top Rank, I was the star fighter and he wasn’t. He was always covered by my shadow.
“He was asking himself, ‘What about me? I’m a better fighter. I can be the entertainer.’ Since (Top Rank) didn’t pay attention to him, or didn’t know how to promote him, that’s why I’m sure he feels bitterness inside. It’s not my fault. I was only a fighter.”
Never say never? Someone asked Mayweather what is Marquez’s best chance to beat him?
He paused until someone chimed in, “Brass knuckles?” He responded, “Maybe so.”
Still punching: Marquez, Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera comprise one of the greatest trios of fighters Mexico ever produced at the same time.
However, as Marquez prepares to fight in the biggest event of his career, Morales and Barrera apparently are finished fighting even though both are younger than Marquez. Morales is 33, Barrera 35 and Marquez 36.
How is that possible?
“I train very hard,” he said. “I take care of myself too. The important thing is I don’t like to drink, I don’t like to smoke, I don’t like to go to sleep late. I take care of myself.”
And then there are styles. Marquez has been a tactical fighter, although he has become more of a brawler late in his career. Morales and Barrera never hesitated to bang with their opponents, which means they took a lot of punches.
“My style is different from Morales and Barrera,” he said. “I try not to get hit.”
Weighty issues: Those connected to the fight still refuse to divulge what the contracted weight limit is. One report said the limit was 143-144. However, Mayweather dismissed that notion months ago, saying “I ain’t gonna weigh no 143.”
Others believe that the limit will be the regular welterweight maximum of 147.
Regardless, Marquez said he’ll weigh 142-143. He has fought over 130 pounds only four times, 134 against Rodrigo Valenzuela in 1996, 132 against Marcos Licona in 2003, 135 against Joel Casamayor last September and 134¼ against Juan Diaz in February.
Marquez won all four of those fights by knockout.
The odds: Mayweather is -420 at the MGM Grand; Marquez is +340. That means Mayweather is roughly a 3¾-1 favorite to win on Saturday.
Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]