Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Dan Rafael [Print without images]

Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Mayweather: 'I’m gonna be a lot sharper'

By Dan Rafael


LAS VEGAS -- When Floyd Mayweather Jr. steps into the ring to face Canelo Alvarez on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena it will have only been four months since Mayweather’s lopsided May conquest of Robert Guerrero.

That quick turnaround will be the shortest one Mayweather has had between fights in a decade, since the same amount of time elapsed between lightweight title defenses against Jose Luis Castillo (in their second fight) in December 2002 followed by one against Victoriano Sosa in April 2003.

Mayweather has not even fought twice in the same calendar year since his monster 2007, when he was fighter of the year after outpointing Oscar De La Hoya in May and knocking out Ricky Hatton in December.

But even though Mayweather fought only once per year from 2009 to 2012 (and didn’t fight at all in 2008 while in a brief retirement), he has always returned looking like he had not missed a beat. That's how good he is.

Now just imagine how sharp Mayweather might look against Alvarez after only four months between fights, and it’s not as though Mayweather took any punishment in his walkover of Guerrero.

Considering that Mayweather is the kind of fighter who relies primarily on speed, reflexes and timing, the short break only figures to make him better than he has been entering fights off long layoffs.

“I didn't get a chance to take a vacation [after Guerrero], but actually, this camp went great. I was able to get right back into the groove, get right back in there,” Mayweather said. “Actually, it was a good turnaround because I was still sharp. I was able to be sharp. This camp has been tremendous. I've been getting good work, good solid work.”

Surprisingly, Mayweather did not think he was that impressive against Guerrero.

”I wasn't impressed with my fight against Robert,” he said. “It's probably because I took a year off, but I think I'll be a lot sharper this fight because I got right back into the groove of things. Like I said, we got a lot of young and up-and-coming talent in our boxing club that pushes me to the limit and keeps me sharp. I'm trying to outdo the young guys.”

Golden Boy promoter Richard Schaefer did not agree with Mayweather’s assessment of the Guerrero fight but agrees that the short amount of time off can only help him against Alvarez.

“He was spectacular in his last fight against Guerrero. I was sitting next to Oscar and what he said was most impressive was how light on his feet Floyd was, just a great performance,” Schaefer said. “You can just imagine how good he’s going to be coming back so quickly. He’s in great shape. If you look up gym rat, it must say 'Floyd Mayweather.' I think you’ll see a spectacular Floyd Mayweather, but Canelo is going into the fight with all the confidence. He is going in with bad intentions. He wants to do some damage.”

Mayweather compared staying active to a basketball player shooting 3-pointers.

“I think I’m gonna be a lot sharper [against Alvarez] because I’m active. It’s no different from a guy that’s in a 3-point shooting contest,” he said. “You got a guy who is shooting every day and a guy who is shooting once a week. The guy who’s shooting every day is going to be a lot sharper. I feel that staying active, I’m going to be extremely sharp.”

An active Mayweather is also good for business.

“I think if you have the No. 1 star in the sport, Floyd Mayweather, come back to do back-to-back fights, taking everybody by surprise -- nobody thought he would do that -- I think it’s great news for the sport,” Schaefer said. “Now, instead of having just one Super Bowl, you have two Super Bowls [in the same year].”

Mayweather said he plans to remain active in 2014 too, as he looks forward to the third fight of his 30-month contract for up to six fights with Showtime/CBS.

“After this fight I’ll look to fight in May and then fight in September again,” Mayweather said.