Floyd Mayweather Jr. is no stranger to being in the brightest of spotlights. So much so that in what will undoubtedly be the highest-grossing event in combat sports history on Saturday night, Mayweather’s nonplussed attitude toward his mega fight with Conor McGregor is more or less “been there, done that.”
Aside from the final day or so of the pair’s initial press tour last month, the typically-brash Mayweather has been laying low in the time leading up to the massive event. McGregor has been the one primarily carrying the media duties; the polarizing Irishman has stopped at nothing to take swipes at his foe and continues to bombastically promise a knockout.
Mayweather, on the other hand, has been mostly reserved throughout and his mellow demeanor continued on during Wednesday’s final pre-fight press conference inside the KA Theatre in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“I've been here so many times,” Mayweather told the assembled press. “I know what it takes for a fight of this magnitude. Everyone can talk about different storylines, but it comes down to two fighters. Just me and the guy I'm competing against.”
But as Mayweather’s speech went on, he slowly — and coyly — transitioned into the boastful trash talker everybody has come to know and (mostly) hate. He questioned whether “Notorious” can withstand the assortment of punches “Money” will undoubtedly throw at him.
“Everyone knows I can fight,” he stated. “I can give it and I can take. But to get to 49-0, it's obvious that I'm not receiving it, I'm giving it a lot more often. After 21 years I've been hit with everything and I'm still right here. One thing you must know about combat sports, if you give it, you must be able to take it. Last time I checked, no one is walking me down. It's all about my IQ and patience in the ring.”
Mayweather instructed a few members of his entourage to calm down and be respectful when a few of them barked at McGregor. Without turning into the venom-spitting braggart that set Diego Corrales, Oscar de la Hoya, Ricky Hatton and countless others over the edge and off their game, Mayweather continued to ooze confidence, something many observers didn’t see coming.
“Conor McGregor is a hell of a fighter. He's a tough competitor,” he said. “It's going to be blood sweat and tears Saturday night. The best fighting the best. He's the best at what he does, I'm the best at what I do. We can both do a lot of talking, but it comes down to the skills. We're going to compete and give you what you want to see.”
However, just before the five-division world champion and future boxing Hall of Famer left the dais, he promised a knockout.
“I've said it's not going the distance and you can mark my words,” he calmly declared. “I go out there and do what I do. I've been here before and fought many different fighters with different styles. There have been plenty of guys who talked a lot of trash, but when it's all said and done, I came out victorious. I know he's going to come out and switch and go back and forth with stances. It's my job to execute my game plan and adjust if I have to.”