Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013 | 2 a.m.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. will tell anyone willing to listen he’s the best.
Step one foot into his Mayweather Boxing Club in Chinatown on Spring Mountain Road in Las Vegas and you can’t help noticing the framed posters on every wall documenting the boxer’s perfect 44-0 undefeated record. One portrait of a much younger Mayweather holding a championship belt from earlier in his career speaks volumes to his lengthy legacy.
Mayweather has seemingly always been the best at his craft, even at an early age, winning eight world championships in five weight divisions to cement his status as being one of the all-time best.
Some feel that claim could be at risk Sept. 14.
That’s when the Mayweather takes on the dangerous Canelo Alvarez, who at 42-0-1 is also undefeated, in a junior middleweight unification fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Alvarez is believed to be on equal grounds with Mayweather for multiple reasons — at 23, he’s 13 years younger; he’s also believed to be stronger and quicker.
But, in typical Mayweather fashion, he doesn’t seemed worried.
“My team feels great and I am comfortable,” Mayweather told media Wednesday before a training session at his gym. “I’m always comfortable. I’ve been in the sport 17 years now. I’m still dedicated to my craft and doing it well.”
He’s also dedicated to big paydays — his nickname, after all, is “Money” and the matchup will easily generate more than $100 million combined in ticket sales and pay-per-view buys to give Mayweather one of the best paydays of his career. Reports predict that will easily be more than $40 million.
The matchup with Alvarez, a popular Mexican fighting on Mexican Independence Day weekend, is so anticipated tickets sold out within hours of going on sale this summer to set an all-time Nevada live gate record with nearly $19 million in sales. The fight is also expected to surpass the pay-per-view record of 2.5 million buys from 2007 when Mayweather fought Oscar De La Hoya.
“I still have the skills to pay the bills,” he said.
This is the second fight of a six-fight contract Mayweather has with Showtime PPV. Some of his more recent fights, such as against Victor Ortiz, Miguel Cotto and Shane Mosley, still have fight posters on the gym’s walls. There are also posters promoting the Alvarez fight — of course, with white athletic tape covering Alvarez’s face.
Here are some more observations from an afternoon with Mayweather:
Media covering the fight by the masses
For an area with only a handful of media outlets, Mayweather’s gym was packed Wednesday with easily more than 100 reporters and photographers anxious to get a minute with the champ.
And, unlike most boxing press events, the media wasn’t limited to boxing-specific websites.
ESPN had a reporter and cameraman, Fox news national had a reporter, and Al Bernstein and Jim Gray from Showtime were in attendance.
Yes, this could be the fight of the decade.
“I’m just going to go out and be Floyd Mayweather,” he said.
The undercard also attractive
Boxing cards are typically criticized — especially by mixed martial arts fans — for having a strong main event, but below-average undercard. That won’t be the case Sept. 14.
Junior welterweight champ Danny Garcia is taking on Lucas Matthysse in an anticipated fight — on any other night, it would the main event.
Also, junior welterweight Ishe Smith, the first Las Vegas native to win a championship, makes his first mandatory defense against Carlos Molina. Smith also trains at Mayweather’s gym, enjoying his time in the spotlight Wednesday — before Mayweather arrived, he was the main attraction for reporters.
“It’s a blessing. It inspires me to train harder when I come in here,” Smith said of training alongside Mayweather.
What's up with Canelo
Alvarez’s training camp is in Big Bear, Calif., with his workout Tuesday open to media and streamed online.
“Big Bear has been great. It is one of the greatest places to train,” he said in a statement. “Even though it is a lot of work, I’ve been enjoying this camp. We’ve accomplished everything here that we set out to do.”
The super welterweight champ is scheduled to leave Sunday for Las Vegas and the most important fight of his career. His handlers described him as cool, calm and collected.
“I feel good about myself and can’t wait to get in the ring. I’m ready for this,” he said. “I’m working very hard and doing my job. Even though I’m young, I have a lot of experience. That’s why I asked for this.”
Floyd's new ride
One of the highlights of going to Mayweather’s gym is seeing the luxury cars parked in front. Mayweather owns multiple expensive rides, apparently adding to the collection recently. He pulled up Wednesday driving a brand-new Mercedes SUV — dealer plates were still on the vehicle.