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Floyd Mayweather Jr. confident, comfortable heading into fight with Victor Ortiz

Prefight distractions part of preparing for a big-time fight – something Mayweather handles with ease


Steve Marcus

Undefeated welterweight boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., right, trains with his uncle Roger Mayweather at the Mayweather Boxing Club Tuesday September 6, 2011. Mayweather challenges WBC welterweight champion Victor Ortiz for the WBC title at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday, September 17.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. Workout

Undefeated welterweight boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. works out with a heavy bag at the Mayweather Boxing Club Tuesday September 6, 2011. Mayweather challenges WBC welterweight champion Victor Ortiz for the WBC title at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday, September 17. Launch slideshow »

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Floyd Mayweather Jr. is more than familiar with this drill.

Meeting with the media Tuesday at his boxing gym just west of the Las Vegas Strip, Mayweather answered question after question in preparation for his Sept. 17 WBC welterweight title fight against Victor Ortiz at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Mayweather was asked about his year-plus layoff from competition, his many legal problems, his legacy in the sport, a potential mega-fight with Manny Pacquiao and whatever else the hordes of reporters threw at him.

With the air conditioning off inside his gym, which is common practice during training, the reporters seemed to work up more of a sweat than the confident Mayweather. His ability to be comfortable with the media — and other prefight distractions — comes from years of experience in the spotlight.

That’s where he feels the 24-year-old Ortiz could be overwhelmed. This is easily the biggest fight in Ortiz’s career. For Mayweather, it’s simply another day at the gym.

“I have been here so many times, so you know I know what it is going to take,” said Mayweather (41-0), who is six-time world and five-division champion. “It is very difficult when you get to this level and you are fighting a fight of this magnitude. It’s not the same as fight in small arenas and small preliminary bouts."

“This is the pinnacle,” he said. “Once you get to the top, it is rough and only the strong can survive. I am one of the strong, and that is why I am where I am today.”

The 34-year-old Mayweather hasn’t fought since beating Shane Mosley in May 2010. He was also inactive from December 2007 to September 2009. Just don’t expect him to be rusty, says Roger Mayweather, his longtime trainer and uncle.

Roger Mayweather praised his nephew for his work ethic and strong training regime. That’s what separates him from others, he said.

“He is pretty much the same kid I started with in 1996,” Roger Mayweather said. “I don’t think much has changed with him. He is doing the same things he did when he was younger and is going to work hard. I don’t need to tell him, you need to do this or you need to run. He is going to do that anyways, because he believes in himself and showing the world he is the best.”

Mayweather, despite a number of legal problems, has managed to remain one of boxing’s most popular fighters. Far from being humble, Mayweather never hesitates talking about his accomplishments.

“I’ve faced 41 and I’ve been victorious against 41 opponents,” he said.

While that will likely again be the outcome next week against Ortiz — Mayweather is a –600 betting favorite, meaning gamblers must wager $6 to win $1 — it might not be the same against Pacquiao. They are widely considered boxing’s top pound-for-pound fighters with a potential showdown a once-in-a-lifetime matchup.

“There is no way in the world the fight with him and Manny Pacquiao isn’t going to happen,” Roger Mayweather said. “For as long as the guy has been champion, and as long as my nephew has been champion, why wouldn’t it happen?"

“The only way it doesn’t happen is if Manny doesn’t take that (drug) test. When he takes that test, he will get what he wants. That’s a good ass whooping,” he said.

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