- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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With training camp winding down ahead of his Sept. 14 megafight against fellow junior middleweight titleholder Canelo Alvarez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Floyd Mayweather Jr. opened his gym for media day this week.
Mayweather hit the mitts, heavy bag and speed bag, jumped rope, stretched, did calisthenics and, of course, did a ton of interviews.
Mayweather fought in May, easily outpointing Robert Guerrero, and is returning very quickly -- at least by his usual standards. Without a long layoff, Mayweather figures to be in better form than usual, a scary prospect.
"I think I'll be a lot sharper for this fight," Mayweather said. "My training camp has been great. Actually, this is one of my best training camps I've had, probably since 2005. On my first day back, I got right back into sparring. I think I sparred seven rounds.
"I've been boxing a lot of rounds, so I'm sharp. I'm in great condition and happy to get right back in there. I feel tremendous."
The fight, although to be contested for the 154-pound titles that Mayweather and Alvarez hold, is at a catchweight of 152 pounds, which is more of a concession by Alvarez to the smaller Mayweather, who has no issues making weight.
"My weight is made," Mayweather said. "I came into training camp weighing 150 or 149 and I came into the gym [for Thursday’s media day] probably weighing 150 or 149. "Canelo is a solid competitor, but it is what it is: I've faced the best in this sport, I know what it takes to be involved in a fight of this magnitude and I'm dedicated to my craft. I was born for this."
Mayweather also talked up the match that so many fight fans are anxious to see.
"This is a great matchup. He's a puncher. I'm a sharp boxer," he said. "You know, a lot of times I hit these guys and I make them go into survival mode. Even in the Robert Guerrero fight, I was looking for the knockout, but I hurt my hand. So I wasn't impressed with myself, because I didn't get the knockout. This time around, I'll be looking for the knockout.
"He's banking on his youth, I'm banking on my experience. I have a lot of experience in championship fights. Look at his résumé, look at my résumé and see what you come up with."
Mayweather has faced numerous titleholders, former titleholders or future titleholders and many fighters who will someday be in the Hall of Fame. Alvarez’s experience level isn't even close, but Mayweather said he believes Alvarez is one of the best active fighters.
"He is one of the best in boxing at this particular time. He's young and strong," Mayweather said. "He's got guts, so we'll see how the fight plays out.
"It's not about the weight, it's about the skills. The skills pay the bills. I can't wait to get in there and compete and test my skills against this young guy. I feel good. I'm still hungry."
One of the many topics Mayweather addressed was the prediction from Alvarez and Golden Boy promoter (and former Mayweather victim) that Canelo would win by knockout.
"Did Canelo KO [April opponent] Austin Trout? This is a whole different ballgame," Mayweather said. "He may be predicting a knockout, but all you have to do is look at the opponents he's faced. I really don't know too many, but a lot of the guys went the distance with him. And we're not just talking about A-fighters, but D- and C-fighters. Guys that he should have knocked out in the fourth round, they were able to go into the eighth and ninth rounds even though they were caught with numerous shots. I don't think Ricky Hatton's brother [Matthew] is on the level of a Floyd Mayweather."
As for De La Hoya making the KO prediction?
"Oscar said he was gonna knock me out also," Mayweather said. "Did you see what happened in that fight? People are entitled to their opinion. People are going to say what they're going to say. My job is to be the best I can be and continue to do my job. There's a reason I do record-breaking numbers."
With training camp winding down ahead of his Sept. 14 megafight against fellow junior middleweight titleholder Canelo Alvarez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Floyd Mayweather Jr.