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Mayweather-Berto media day delivers hype and then some

27
Aug
Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

We tick down to a – How do we put this? – somewhat un-anticipated battle between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Andre Berto on Sept. 12.
I don’t write that flippantly or to be a provocateur…

I write that because, compared to the last Mayweather bout, the most hyped boxing match OF ALL TIME, this one couldn’t hope to be in the same hemisphere, in regard to buzz.

I mean, I guess it could be if Floyd were choosing to exit his comfort zone, head up to 160 pounds, see what he can do six pounds north, against surging terminator and WBA beltholder Gennady Golovkin.

But that isn’t Floyd’s way…What the Leonards and Durans and Armstrongs did, he isn’t into it. And we got a better sense of why, when he talked about how his uncle’s health influences his thinking, he’s pondering retirement (that said, even if he is playing a card, anyone can be moved by the plight of any man losing his mind to dementia, be it from boxing or aging…so my heart does go out to all afflicted by dementia).



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-3_6rpnGto

Even then, many folks who felt burned by the over-hyped “Fight of the Century” are seeing Mayweather through more cynical eyes and believe he is using that health situation as a card, that he, in fact, has no intention of retiring now and is merely in leverage mode. They think Mayweather has zero intention of hanging up the gloves after this Berto fight and is only talking the “R-word” as an element to build up interest in a bout which fares poorly when placed alongside the build-up when he accepted a challenge against a man who fans clamored for him to fight for almost six years.

But Berto is no Golovkin; he’s lost three of his last six and most experts and even casuals give him next to no chance to bother, let alone beat the self-proclaimed “TBE.” Again, that’s no gratuitous slam; the same can and is said for most, any and all in and around 154 pounds. Floyd is indeed among the The Best Ever, defensively, and does enough offensive work to win 98% of the rounds.

It is with all that in mind that we take in promotional efforts like the Mayweather media day, which unfolded Wednesday at his Las Vegas gym. Showtime sent out a video of the session, which was hosted by someone named “Big Tigger” Morgan and journo Mark Kriegel. They added on promotional tack-ons, testimonials and such, to give all a better sense of what we can maybe expect Sept. 12.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coMec1Jtad8

Kriegel did his part, talking up the atmosphere at the gym, and said this was “an end of an era.” That is, if Floyd is to be held to his word, he noted. Kriegel shilled capably, called the undercard “very excellent” and said he was mightily enthused about the Rocky Martinez vs. Orlando Salido rematch. It could be a “Fight of the Year” type tangle, he said. Interestingly, he was playing up the undercard more heavily and before he talked about the main event.

Tigger told us about the kickoff presser and we watched footage of the soft-spoken Berto and Mayweather, neither of whom showed more than an ounce of fire as they discussed their clash. We also saw a recap of the Floyd master class over Manny Pacquiao and saw Floyd tell us how he beat “Pacman.” He let him shoot his load, he said, and we saw journos like Kevin Iole and Lance Pugmire tell us how TBE handled the Congressman so easily (though our man, Freddie Roach, does still maintain that Pacman maybe won, telling me that 90 percent of the people who come to his gym tell him MP bettered FM).

Some good points were made, such as, Floyd doesn’t engage in thrillers because he’s so damn talented. He’s head and shoulders and another head better than everyone else and, thus, he doesn’t get tested. That and he’s so risk-averse, choosing not to risk trading, to shoot for stoppages, which are, of course, considered a fan-friendly methodology.

We also saw Berto trainer, Virgil Hunter telling us what Berto brings to the table. And the journos did their job, as sometimes I do when asked, and that is to show enthusiasm and look for the upside, bright-side possibility in a match-up. Indeed, does the possibility exist that Berto could win? Sure. Slim is in the driver seat, though, as he does have that punchers’ chance. And this will have me and you watching because of what MIGHT happen. What will happen is pretty preordained because Floyd is so talented.

Interestingly, Floyd has posited that Berto could hit the canvas; that isn’t Floyd’s way and usually he doesn’t promise or hint at such, so I wonder if he’s going to maybe use Berto’s aggression against him. I doubt it and anyone considering buying on the possibility that he achieves a KO should caution themselves that his recent history indicates this is not in the cards. In this Sho video, we saw Mayweather right-hand man Leonard Ellerbe say he thinks Floyd will KO Berto, so, hey, maybe he knows something we don’t, that Floyd will dial in and be more intent on offense on Sept. 12. Time will tell…

Ellerbe also spoke of this being Floyd’s last live outing. If this is the case, he will receive high praise from me and just about everyone else, as I don’t know of one person who thinks he actually will leave the sport, for good, after Sept. 12.

“I think the fans can expect a knockout in this fight. I think he’s looking to go out and retire with a big knockout,” said Ellerbe. We heard Sho boxing boss Stephen Espinoza also speaking the R-word: “He looks forward to retirement just like the rest of us.” And then the main event was presented as a possible “fairy tale” sort of event, with Pugmire noting that we have to consider the possibility that Berto could be the puzzle-solver.

There was much, much more and here is the release which went out, from the Mayweather people, with quotes from the session:

LAS VEGAS – (Aug. 27, 2015) – Floyd “Money” Mayweather (48-0, 26 KOs) opened up the Mayweather Boxing Club on Wednesday for his last media day ever as he prepares for the last fight of a celebrated 19-year career. He will defend his WBC and WBA Welterweight World Championships against power-punching, two-time welterweight world champion Andre Berto (30-3, 23 KOs) on Saturday, Sept. 12 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, live on SHOWTIME PPV┬« (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT).
If triumphant, Mayweather would match the record of the late heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano, who retired in April 1956 with a record of 49-0.
Television camera crews, newspaper columnists, boxing writers, radio broadcasters, web reporters and photographers watched as boxing’s perennial pound for pound king and 12-time world champion in five weight classes went through approximately a 45-minute workout, which consisted of about 35 minutes of sparring.
Before a training session that was hosted by TV & CBS Radio personality Big Tigger and Emmy® Award-winning sports reporter Mark Kriegel and streamed in high definition across multiple platforms, including via satellite feed, YouTube and social media, Mayweather took questions from the media inside a specially-constructed tent in a parking lot outside the gym.
Promoted by Mayweather Promotions, the Sept. 12 four-fight pay-per-view telecast will be produced and distributed live by SHOWTIME PPV and is the sixth and final fight of a record-breaking deal between Mayweather and Showtime Networks Inc. SHOWTIME Sports® will support the event with the Sports Emmy® Award-winning series ALL ACCESS.
In world championship fights on the pay-per-view telecast, Roman “Rocky” Martinez (29-2-2, 17 KOs) will defend his WBO Junior Lightweight title in a rematch against four-time world champion Orlando “Siri” Salido (42-13-2, 29 KOs), and Badou Jack “The Ripper” (19-1-1, 12 KOs) will make the initial defense of his WBC Super Middleweight World title against mandatory challenger “Saint” George Groves (21-2, 16 KOs). The opening fight of the telecast will feature former three-time world champion and Mexican power-puncher Jhonny Gonzalez (58-9, 49 KOs) against Puerto Rico’s Jonathan “Polvo” Oquendo (25-4, 16 KOs) in a 10-round junior lightweight scrap.
Plus, former 154-pound world champion Ishe Smith (27-7, 12 KOs) will be opposed by longtime top-five contender Vanes Martirosyan (35-2-1, 21 KOs) in the 90-minute COUNTDOWN LIVE: MAYWEATHER vs. BERTO” preshow on Saturday, September 12.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Mayweather Promotions LLC., are priced at $1,500, $1,000, $750, $500, $300 and $150 and are on sale now. Tickets are limited to eight (8) per household for all ticket prices except the $150 ticket category, which is limited to four (4) per household. To charge by phone or with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also are available for purchase at www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
What Mayweather, Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe, WBC Super Middleweight World Champion, Badou Jack and Mayweather Promotions’ Ishe Smith said Wednesday:
Floyd Mayweather
“Berto can fight. He’s a two-time champion. He’s hungry. He comes to wage a war. There is never a dull moment when he fights so I expect a hell of a fight out of him. We’ll all see how it plays out.
“My last fight, all you guys put [Manny] Pacquiao on a pedestal and look what happened. I went in there and did what I needed to do, which is win.
“This fight, no matter who the opponent, somebody would have something critical or negative to say. Some people are never satisfied. But I’m satisfied.
“All 48 of my fights have been hard. None have been easy. All played a major key. It’s the ‘Mayweather Era.’ I feel that every fighter is an artist and they all take pictures their own way. I’m just one of the very best artists.
“I’ve truly been blessed. I’ve taken my time, kept my eye on the prize and done what I’ve had to do. So I’m able to make a choice when to retire. Most fighters really couldn’t.
“Boxing has always been work to me, a job. If I could say anything to a youngster taking up boxing it would be to “be smart and not take a lot of punches. It’s called the sweet science for a reason. Hit and not be hit, make a lot of money without taking a lot of punishment. That’s what it’s about.
“Nobody knows what the future holds, but right now, I’m cool and comfortable and having no second thoughts at all about retirement. I had a good career, I won every world title, but boxing is wear and tear on the body. It’s time to hang ’em up. I’m looking forward to working with some up-and-coming kids, going on walks, and taking vacations.”
Leonard Ellerbe
“All people are saying is that Berto is 3-3 in his last six fights but Pacquiao was 3-3 in his last six fights, too. Cotto has lost two of his last five fights. But they’re both headed to the Hall of Fame.
“We know Berto is coming to fight, that he is coming to win and shock the world. There’s no way Floyd takes him lightly. He is working just as hard for this fight as he did the previous 48.
“Floyd is my friend, we’re family, but I commend and applaud him for doing what he’s done, what he’s accomplished, how successful he is, how successful he’s been from 1996 to now.
“It’s truly remarkable. To be able to walk away on his own terms, to follow his own game plan, is unbelievable. At 38, he’s got a boatload of money in the bank, all his faculties and he did it his way. This is the American Dream.
“Floyd could fight as long as he wants, if that were what he wanted to do. People don’t understand what goes into his craft. He trains around the clock. He’s given his life to his career. He’s ready to ride off on to the next phase of his life. He’s earned that right.
“We made a commitment and we are following his contract. Besides, how much is enough? How much can one ask of somebody? How much more can he make?’
“This will be Floyd’s last fight. I’m very excited for him. He’s done it his way. He’s had an illustrious career and I know he’s very comfortable with what he’s been able to accomplish.”
Badou Jack
“Honestly, I think this fight could steal the show and will be the fight of the night. This will be very, very entertaining.
“Groves is definitely a good, tough fighter, He has a lot of speed, a lot of heart. I respect him. . He fought Carl Froch twice. But I’m not Froch and don’t fight like Froch. We have different styles.
“This is my first defense and I’m very excited about it, but I have always maintained an underdog mentality, and that will never change. I’m trying to stay humble. I’m still the same guy but by becoming a world champion it has only made me work even harder.
“I’m still learning, working hard. I know I can’t look past anyone. There are a lot of potential really big fights in the future – and I want to fight the best no matter if it is GGG, Andre Ward, whoever.
“But right now my only focus is on the game plan and executing it. I’m really looking forward to fighting [George] Groves and winning on Sept. 12.”
Ishe Smith
“I’m not going to make any predictions. I’m just going to go out and do what I do and that’s give 100 percent.
“I will say this, though, if he thinks he is going to knock me out, like he’s saying, it’s going to be a very entertaining fight.
“I won a world title as a B-side, but I feel I’m the A-side in this fight. I’ve fought the best in the division for years and years, I’ve sparred with the best.
“Martirosyan is a good dude and has a nice family, but he hasn’t been in with guys like I have. Guys that are better and hit a lot harder than him. I’ve never been down. I’ve never taken an eight-count. I’m 34 years old and never been hurt and he says he’s gonna stop me. That’s just crazy.
“I’m betting on my chin, that’s for sure. He couldn’t knock out [Jermell] Charlo in his last fight. He made all kind of excuses for losing. The reason he lost was because he lost to a better fighter.
“If he wants to go for the KO, fine; if that’s his focus. For me, I’m not thinking KO. I’m just thinking winning.”

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