HOLLYWOOD, United States / California (AFP) – Floyd Mayweather says his undefeated record has been partly built on the backs of handpicked opponents who didn’t always provide the toughest fights but did help him become the world’s best paid athlete.
“Sometimes they say, ‘Well, Floyd Mayweather’s opponents was handpicked.’ That’s a good thing,” Mayweather said during a conference call with reporters to hype Saturday’s world title fight against Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
“I commend my team … when I sit back and I think about my career, I say ‘you know what? I had a cool career. I didn’t take any punishment’.
“If they say these guys were handpicked, they was handpicked to make $40 and $50 and $60 million, then you know what? Keep handpicking them. If they’re going to keep paying, keep handpicking them.”
Mayweather, who Forbes magazine lists as the world’s highest paid athlete, has been criticized for dodging a potential mega fight with Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao.
The two have tried several times over the past few years to get the deal done for what would likely be the most lucrative fight in boxing history. But each time negotiations broke down when they couldn’t come to terms on a variety of issues, including drug testing and share of the revenue and purses.
Pacquiao’s camp blames Mayweather for the holdup, saying even when they agreed to all his demands — including drug testing — the American would come up with new increased demands to scuttle the blockbuster fight.
“Floyd’s statement speaks for itself. Now we know why he won’t give the fans the fight they want most,” Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach told AFP on Tuesday.
The fight with Alvarez is the second in Mayweather’s six-bout, 30-month contract with American cable network Showtime that could pay him more than $200 million. After Mayweather beat Robert Guerrero in May, he said he wanted to fight again in September – marking the first time since 2007 he will be in the ring twice in a calendar year.
Mayweather’s guaranteed purse for the Alvarez fight is reported to be a record $41 million which would surpass the previous record of $32 million he received for fighting Guerrero.
Organizers are also hoping that this fight will eclipse the 2.44 million record pay-per-view sales and sales of more than $130 million racked up by the Mayweather and Oscar de la Hoya fight in 2007. Mayweather will also get a cut of the pay-per-view money on top of his guaranteed purse.