Mayweather talks, but not about injury
Although Floyd Mayweather Jr. still isn't saying exactly how he injured his ribs training for his comeback fight, he has plenty to say about nearly everything else.
Mayweather kicked off the publicity campaign for his Sept. 19 fight against Juan Manuel Marquez on Tuesday by dismissing those who believe Manny Pacquiao is boxing's best overall fighter, ripping Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum, and confirming an improved relationship with his father.
Yet the undefeated former pound-for-pound king still won't give specifics about his abrupt injury last month, which forced the fight's postponement from July 18 and immediately led to suspicions of skullduggery.
Many boxing observers speculated Mayweather wanted time to line up a big-money bout with Pacquiao for his first fight since December 2007. Mayweather (39-0, 25 KOs) insists he was injured in a "freak accident" in training, but won't say much else.
"Believe me, it wasn't a small guy that done it, but it didn't even come from sparring," Mayweather said. "When it happened, I tried to work through it. I was sparring for a while, but then it happened again. I said, 'You know what, I can't try to be a superhero. I've got to take time off and let it heal.' I'd never tell exactly what happened. I just had a rib injury."
Others wondered whether Mayweather thought he needed more time to prepare for the veteran star Marquez (50-4-1, 37 KOs) -- or even whether Mayweather was disappointed by reportedly lackluster ticket sales for the fight, which Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer insists wasn't the case.
Marquez, who's training in Mexico City, believes Mayweather's story about the injury, saying he used the extra time to take his children on vacation.
"I'm sure that there's solid evidence," Marquez said through a translator. "There should be some paperwork from the doctor, and I'm sure he presented the paperwork that was needed. I was calm. I'm fine. Things happen for a reason."
Mayweather confirmed discussions with Arum and Top Rank about facing Pacquiao, but didn't specify whether they occurred before or after the rib injury. Mayweather ripped Arum for demanding a 50-50 split of the purse for Pacquiao, the undersized Filipino star whose recent run of electric victories has elevated him to boxing's top echelon.
"If he wouldn't be so greedy, that fight would happen," Mayweather said of Arum, his own promoter until Mayweather bought out his contract to promote himself.
Mayweather resumed training two weeks ago, but has limited himself to basketball and calisthenics. He plans to get back in the boxing gym this week.
He's also spending more time with Floyd Mayweather Sr., the respected boxing trainer who molded his son into a champion before a furious family split several years ago. A family friend got the Mayweathers together for dinner this summer, and the two are back on friendly terms.
"He's teaching his oldest grandson how to box, and that's a good thing," Mayweather said. "He's coming to the birthday parties of his granddaughters. He's spending more time getting to know his grandkids. My kids are the future of the Mayweather family and of the Mayweather brand. I feel our family is stronger if we stay together."
Mayweather, Marquez and their promoters curiously won't reveal the exact weight limit for the fight, saying only it's a welterweight bout -- which could mean anything from 141 pounds to the 147-pound class limit. De La Hoya claimed the mystery is designed to get people to watch the weigh-in on Sept. 18.
Marquez has never fought at more than 135 pounds, only moving up from 130 recently. Mayweather says he's already close to 147 pounds, meaning the few extra pounds won't be tough to lose.
Although Mayweather Promotions is closely aligned with Golden Boy, Mayweather also needled two Golden Boy partners during the conference call.
He blasted Sugar Shane Mosley as a cheater for using steroids, which Mosley says he did unwittingly. Mayweather also speculated De La Hoya "was just in it for the payday" when he lost to Pacquiao last year.
If Mayweather saw irony in a fighter whose self-proclaimed nickname is "Money" warning of the dangers in fighting solely for paychecks, he didn't acknowledge it. Mayweather, whose camp has denied problems with the IRS over unpaid taxes, insists he'll reclaim his spot atop the sport, starting next month.
"The biggest fight in boxing isn't Mayweather vs. Marquez," Mayweather said. "It's Mayweather vs. anybody."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press