As summer looms round the corner for most of us, there is one person currently revelling in an Indian Summer of his own. Floyd Mayweather Jr was every inch the champion as he met with the world’s media in the Landmark hotel ahead of his showdown with Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico. Often described as brash and arrogant, the self proclaimed "Money Mayweather" was refreshingly humble and full of praise for just about everyone in attendance; including his opponent.
Mayweather Jr has been out of the ring ever since he overcame Ricky Hatton by knock out in the tenth round in December 2007, and time has seemingly healed more than just his body. “I’d like to thank God, without whom none of this would be possible” the American sang as he greeted the press conference. “I am truly blessed to have been able to have worked with the best. Boxing is something I have been doing all of my life. It is written.”
Whether time has mellowed the 32 year old, or whether he saw this as an opportunity to distance himself from the insensitive, over confident character we are so used to - images of him throwing money away at the camera have become synonymous with him - remains open to interpretation. Whatever the case, Mayweather conducted himself admirably and with a grace that bellied his aforementioned image.
He also defended his father, who he is rumoured to share a less than amicable relationship with. Commenting on Mayweather Sr’s coaching of Hatton, the champion of five different weight classes admitted: “My father is one hell of a guy, and trainer. It (Hatton’s performance against Manny Pacquiao) was not my dad’s game plan. I’d like to take this opportunity to take the heat off my father.”
Such press conferences are usually billed as an opportunity for the fighters to promote their own abilities, and can portray boxers as chauvinistic, self-righteous individuals. London witnessed a refreshing change this afternoon, and Mayweather was orchestrating proceedings. “This is not a weight thing. I am not thinking about Pacquiao, I believe Marquez beat him in those two fights. Mexico has a lot of great champions – he’s a warrior – and I’ve got to stick to my game plan”.
The boxing world waits in anticipation for the bout, and Mayweather also shares the anticipation as he looks to further cement himself in boxing folklore. “I’m still here. I’ve been around since the eighties. Boxers have come and gone and I’m the last standing. Where are thy all now? They’ve gone”.
Floyd “Money” Mayweather returns to the ring on July 18th and despite an apparent distortion in his persona, he will be looking to prove he has not altered from his vast array of boxing prowess, including his signature mix of speed, power and natural instinct in the ring. Marquez awaits, and boxing fans the world over look forward to what should be a classic encounter.