Wednesday, April 15, 2015 | 2 a.m.
Manny Pacquiao’s Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach prefaced a verbal lashing of Floyd Mayweather Jr. at a press conference last month by calling the undefeated local boxer “the best in the world.”
Pacquiao receives no such reverence from the Mayweather camp, which took an open media workout Tuesday afternoon at their Chinatown gym as an opportunity to reinforce as much.
“We’re not fighting Cassius Clay,” Mayweather Jr.’s head trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr. grumbled at the start of the event. “We’re fighting an ordinary guy. He ain’t gonna do (expletive). Floyd is going to crush him.”
Those who will serve in the red corner on May 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena insinuated the hype for the long-awaited bout between the two most decorated fighters in the world was excessive for a single reason: Pacquiao isn’t on Mayweather Jr.’s level.
And, therefore, they’re not treating the fight any differently despite the whirlwind surrounding them. Approximately 200 media members filled Mayweather Boxing Club Tuesday, pouring out of the foyer and into the parking lot.
Most of them piled into a tent occupying two and a half parking spots to hear Mayweather Jr. discuss the same topics he’s covered for years, chiefly his legacy and Pacquiao.
The first words Mayweather Jr., who followed another pre-fight custom and arrived nearly two hours late, spoke publicly were, “My camp has basically run the same way.” While Pacquiao limits visitors to Roach’s Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles in an attempt to focus more intensely on training than ever before, Mayweather says 200 to 300 people watch him work out every day.
“This is not my first dance,” Mayweather Jr. said. “With the Oscar De La Hoya fight, we broke records. Then we came around to the Canelo (Alvarez) fight and outsold.”
But after the Alvarez victory, and Mayweather Jr.’s seven other wins since 2009, Pacquiao was the topic of post-fight conversation. Everyone saw the Filipino superstar, who won a record eight championships in different weight classes, as Mayweather Jr.’s only challenge.
The Mayweathers never agreed, which is as big of a reason as any for the six-year delay in the two stepping in the ring. Pacquiao had to accept coming in as the “B-side” in the superfight, according to Mayweather Jr.
“Alvarez was a better opponent,” Mayweather Sr. said. “I believe (Robert) Guerrero was a better opponent. Even the last guy Floyd fought, (Marcos) Maidana was better than him. Come on. Stick Pacquiao and Maidana in a ring and see what happens.”
Mayweather Jr. is subtler with his criticisms of Pacquiao leading up to the fight. His go-to line consists of the thought that no single opponent defines his career.
Mayweather Jr. vowed that he never wanted to beat anyone as badly as Pacquiao last month, but backtracked from that position at his workout.
“Every day, you don’t feel the same way,” Mayweather Jr. said. “That day I said I felt that way. But I just want to win. I want to win like I do every fight.”
No fight in Mayweather’s recent run, however, has featured so many people picking against him. All of the betting action continues to come in on the underdog Pacquiao, and boxing luminaries like Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. have joined the chorus calling for an upset.
Mayweather Sr. said the only explanation was they all “know nothing about boxing.”
“I’m not worried about Manny doing nothing,” the trainer said. “I don’t worry about his speed. I don’t worry about his power. I don’t care about his thoughts. I don’t care about his mind.”
Mayweather Sr. is implementing a simplistic game plan for Pacquiao, identical to the ones Mayweather Jr. has used in his last four fights since reuniting with his father. It’s so simplistic that he doesn’t mind sharing.
“Jab, stick, move, groove and make Pacquiao look like a damn fool,” Mayweather Sr. described.
Mayweather Jr. doesn’t believe he requires anything more thorough because he trusts in his ability to make adjustments during the fight. He considers making tweaks on the fly one of his strengths, and something Pacquiao sorely lacks.
Mayweather Jr. only watched a couple of Pacquiao’s recent fights, but didn’t come away impressed.
“He’s a very reckless fighter,” Mayweather Jr. said. “I could have had the same type of career, but my career probably wouldn’t have lasted as long and I probably wouldn’t be at this point if I was a reckless fighter like that.”
The comment could be interpreted as a backhanded compliment commending Pacquiao for coming so far despite the limitations of his style. That would make it the only compliment reserved for Pacquiao at Mayweather Boxing Club.
“Freddie is a joke coach Roach,” Mayweather Sr. rattled off. “He’s a roach that Floyd smokes. Manny moved from first class to coach with the Roach and now he’s sprayed with Raid and underpaid because by the end of day his title will be gone.”