PERHAPS Floyd Mayweather is feeling the strain of promoting a fight few people are excited to see, but something seems wrong in the superstar’s world. Disinterested and subdued, the fighter today apologised for his recent comments about disgraced NFL star Ray Rice.
Rice was filmed on CCTV knocking out his girlfriend with sickening efficiency in February, and as a consequence was sacked by his club, the Baltimore Ravens, and suspended indefinitely by the NFL. But on Tuesday, Mayweather stated that the player’s original two-game ban should have remained – imposed before TMZ released further footage this week of the savage attack.
“I think there’s a lot worse things that go on in other people’s households,” Mayweather originally said about the incident. But 24 hours later Mayweather apologised for any offence his comments may have caused, that they were not truly considered, because he was “training for a fight.”
That fight – a rematch with Marcos Maidana – is struggling to create a buzz here in Las Vegas. That is likely due to the first contest which, although one judge called a draw, did not appear to warrant a repeat, particularly at this late and potentially crucial stage of Mayweather’s career. Reporters have struggled to find an angle for the bout, despite promoters’ claims that this is the showdown the public demanded, and much of the pre-fight talk has drifted away from boxing – if not fighting. In the last few days, stories have gravitated to Rice’s unforgivable act due to Mayweather’s own latest brush with domestic abuse – ex-fiancé Shantel Jackson the alleged victim.
Today, the chief-executive of Mayweather Promotions, Leonard Ellerbe, told reporters to stop asking about anything other than the Maidana return.
“It’s none of my business what happens in other people’s homes,” Mayweather said in a change of face less disturbing than the one Rice dished out. Wearing an immaculate white leather shirt with matching cap, his left knee twitched with agitation as members of the media stood over him. The Sin City resident indicated he plans to retire next year, and showed real signs that he wants nothing more than to stop playing the fight game.
“It’s another day,” he said when asked if he was sick of boxing, and all the physically demanding training that goes with it. “Sometimes I just want to take a vacation, go to my house in Miami with my daughter – she’s my best friend – and just rest.”
Before he can put his feet up, he’ll need to make sure his hands are on guard against Maidana. The heavy favourite’s curious mindset will not have gone unnoticed by the Argentine, or his team. But as Mayweather correctly pointed out, it is Maidana’s fight to win, rather than his to lose.
“I don’t have to make adjustments,” the superstar said. “I won the [first] fight. He has to make adjustments. I don’t.”
After more than 30 minutes of interrogation there seemed little else to say. But the questioning continued. The queries were repetitive, predictable, and Floyd, aware he had answered them 10 times over, looked at his diamond-drenched watch and stood up. The media circus, once his playground, was closing in.
Although it still seems exceptionally unlikely Maidana is the right man to end Mayweather’s magnificent unbeaten run, he is in the right place at the right time for the best possible chance.