When Floyd Mayweather emerged in the press room after his unanimous decision over Miguel Cotto with his left eye slightly puffy, his world title belts set neatly across the conference tables, Roger Mayweather reclined to his right and 50 Cent seated to his left, he wore a smile on his face that said “I gave you guys exactly what you wanted.”
Yes, the man known as “Money” made sure that he earned every penny of his record setting $32 million purse.
Twelve grueling rounds of fighting is something many aren’t accustomed to in a Floyd Mayweather fight. Wars aren’t something that Mayweather allows himself to be a part of. But against Miguel Cotto, Mayweather stood in the pocket and traded punches with the bigger man. Instead of using his skill set to outbox the Puerto Rican, Mayweather opted to engage in heated exchanges where both fighters would give their best and see who was left standing. It was thrilling, it was exciting and it damn sure was dangerous. But at this point in his career, Mayweather isn’t simply about winning titles, he wants fans to enjoy his fights.
“I could have just outboxed him, moved and make it a boring fight,” Mayweather said. “But it’s a recession and you guys spent your hard earned dollars. So I said f*ck it and gave you want you wanted.”
Mayweather was hit flush probably more than he has in his entire career, but it seemed like that was by design. At one point in between rounds, Mayweather sat on the stool and looked up at an image of himself bleeding from the nose. Instead of being horrified at this unusual visual of himself, a wicked smile spread across his face. In some sort of sick and twisted way, he was enjoying this. This, coming from a man who once upon a time said that toe to toe wars were nonsensical. “I think tonight was a cool fight,” the new WBA Super Light Middleweight champion said. ‘I want to preserve myself first but I want to impress my fans.”
It was impressive, even though the 16,000+ at the MGM were vehemently against him and booed the 117-111, 117-111 and 118-110 scores. But deep down in their hearts they knew that what they saw was special. A gracious Mayweather wouldn’t take all the credit for himself, he was well aware that he needed a dancing partner to deliver one of the defining moments of his sixteen year career. “Miguel Cotto fought his ass off tonight and I want to congratulate him and his team,” he said as he admitted that Cotto won some rounds and gave him his fare share of lumps. There were many times in the fight where Mayweather would catch Cotto with brisk combinations that would have made a lesser man wilt, but the 43-0 champ said he saw a man across from him that was determined to give him a run for his money (pun intended). “I thought he was breaking down but he would come back stronger. A couple of times I hit him to the body and (Mayweather advisor) Leonard Ellerbe said he was slowing down but he didn’t see what I saw.”
But in the end, it was Mayweather’s night and perhaps a defining moment in his career. “It’s about winning and that’s what I did. I’m not going to fold to pressure. Cotto can keep his head high as we are both winners tonight in our own way.”
With the fight behind him and a 87-day jail sentence beginning on June 1st, Mayweather will have some downtime to think about his next move. He knows what we want and decided to get candid about what is really standing in the way of the only fight left that matters — Mayweather-Pacquiao.
“I’m tired of the media and the people being fooled,” Mayweather exhaled on the podium. His smile dissolving briefly as he shook his head. “The truth is that Bob Arum is not going to let the fight happen. It’s not on me. I offered him $40 million. I told him I’d wire him $20 million in 48hrs. He wanted 50% of the earnings. But he doesn’t earn record breaking numbers to deserve that. He doesn’t know what he wants. The public is being fooled. Once he is free from Bob Arum the fight will happen because Arum doesn’t care about the fighter making money. This sport is grueling and I want Pacquiao to make money.”
It is perhaps the first time that Mayweather has said what many boxing journalists have long felt is true. It may not be 100% true as we know that there are two sides to every story, but given Mayweather and Arum’s tumultuous relationship, there is certainly a sliver of truth in his words. Although he has said he wants to fight again at the end of the year, given the war that he was just in and the lack of quality opposition, Mayweather is aware that taking on lesser opposition may be a waste of the public’s time. “There’s really not anybody for me to fight out there anymore,” he says when asked who he could fight if it’s not Pacquiao. “I don’t know where we go from here.”
For now, Mayweather will focus on his jail sentence and giving back to the community. He spoke in great detail about feeding the hungry, non-profit projects with 50 Cent and making sure that he spreads his wealth to disadvantaged youth. You can say what you want about him not fighting Pacquiao and hate him for being the seemingly pompous and narcissistic asshole that he portrays on television, but when you see Mayweather in moments like this, you get a man who lets down his guard briefly. “We’ve been giving back to others for many years but viewers don’t want to see that side of me. On HBO 24/7 they want us being wild because that entertains you,” Mayweather explained. “I don’t want be on TV and not give you guys [the fans and media] what you deserve.”
Love him or hate him, Mayweather is one of the most charismatic and polarizing fighters boxing has ever seen. Who knows what is next for him, but one thing is for sure, when he is gone, boxing just isn’t the same.