This year, Cinco de Mayo represents more than the celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. On this night, seven-time World Boxing Champion Floyd “Money” Mayweather and current WBA Super Welterweight World Champion Miguel Cotto are set to battle for the Super Welterweight Championship at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Floyd, the ever-charismatic pretty boy, opened his Las Vegas gym on Tuesday for Media Day as he granted interviews, worked out, and had a little fun with his team. More than 20,000 people stopped by the gym, which is only a small indication of how many will tune in to the big event.
“I would take any bet that this is going to be the biggest Pay-Per-View event since De La Hoya/Mayweather,” said Richard Shaver, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. That fight back in 2007 set a record with the most Pay-Per-View buys at over 2.7 million households and generated upwards of $120 million. That’s a big payday for HBO, which is producing and broadcasting the event this on Saturday May 5.
Floyd has his work cut out for him with Miguel, especially since he’s stepping up to another weight class at 154 pounds. Some boxing enthusiasts think this weight change could be a problem for the undefeated champ, but Floyd says, “With me, it really don’t play a major factor. My skills are on a different level than any other fighter.”
Floyd went on to say he has respect for Miguel as a man and for his beautiful family, but he will have to do what Juan Manuel Marquez and “Sugar” Shane Mosely did. “I believe he’s going to have to make me respect his boxing skills. Every fighter, you have to earn that," said Floyd.
With a record of 42 Wins, 26 Knock Outs, and 0 Losses, you have to respect Floyd’s skills. And at age 35, he still has the respect of the younger athletes he trains with. “Every day the young guys are pushing me,” he explained. “If I see a young guy doing something in the gym–one of the exercises that he seen me do on TV or that he came in the boxing gym and seen me do–I’ll see him do a certain number and I got to outdo him.” According to Mayweather Promotion’s CEO Leonard Ellerbe, “This has been the best preparation I’ve seen in the last 16 years.”
Also in Floyd’s corner is rapper/actor/entrepreneur 50 cent, who, according to Floyd, is one of the smartest people he knows. “He’s not just my best friend, he’s also one of my business partners.” You will see 50 performing before the fight, but he has a lot more on his agenda than just being an artist. As a former boxer, Floyd feels he and 50 have a tremendous bond. “I think he’s going to be involved on the promotions side. We may even put him in there and let him have a fight on Pay Per View one time," Floyd said. Although there are no set plans yet, Floyd is certain that 50 will be getting involved in boxing one way or another.
As an advocate of fair fighting, both Floyd and his opponent agreed to Olympic-style drug testing. “I think a fighter’s health is more important than anything, more important than money," Floyd explained. Wanting to be the first person to clean up a sport that’s been around for ages, he said, “I want any fighter or anyone reading this article to stand behind me, so all fighters can go into a fight and feel comfortable knowing that he’s fair and the opponent he’s across the ring from is fair.” Disagreements on the drug testing policy was a main factor preventing the highly anticipated bout with Manny Pacquiao from being inked. “If he’s the best, take the test,” Floyd asserted.
Prior to fight night, you can tune into CNN on Saturday, April 28 to hear more from Floyd on the upcoming battle. Also for the first time, HBO’s behind the scenes documentaries “24/7: Mayweather vs. Cotto First Look” will air on TNT following NBA coverage on the Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday preceding the fight.