March 29, 2008
Toe to toe with Money MayweatherQ & A: Sun Media's Tim Baines dares to face the unbeaten champ before Wrestlemania
By TIM BAINES - Ottawa Sun
Floyd Mayweather may well be the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world. A 39-0 record lends plenty of credence to that.
He oozes charisma to go with those fast fists and he's light on his feet, as exhibited by his Dancing with the Stars experience (he was the fourth celebrity eliminated).
Even though he's battled through five different boxing weight classes, winning six world championships, his biggest battle lies ahead. Tomorrow night at Wrestlemania 24 in Orlando, Fla., the 5-foot-7, 147-pound whirlwind they call Money will step into the squared circle to try and somehow fell a giant, the 7-foot, 440-pound monster named The Big Show.
During the course of the following Q and A, a Sun exclusive 1-on-1 interview, the world champ at times became agitated with the line of questioning. He rides the fine line between confidence and cockiness. And maybe that's part of the makeup that makes him so great.
SUN Media: You're facing a guy who's seven feet tall, 300 pounds bigger than you at WrestleMania. How can you win?
Mayweather: With intelligence and endurance. And I've got a good team working with me.
SUN Media: Can a boxer beat a wrestler?
Mayweather: I didn't say a boxer could beat a wrestler. But I'm different. Floyd Mayweather can beat a wrestler.
SUN Media: Some wrestling fans are already booing you. Do you want to be loved by wrestling fans or is this all part of the game?
Mayweather: Some boo, some cheer. That comes with the territory. Only the strong survive and I'm one of the strong ones.
SUN Media: It's been reported you're getting $20 million to step into the ring. Is it about the money for you, or is there more to it?
Mayweather: It's more than the money. But I deserve to be compensated. Credentials don't lie. We will break a record.
SUN Media: Is Floyd Mayweather unbeatable?
Mayweather: Anybody is beatable. But I won't lose in a boxing ring.
SUN Media: How do you compare to legends such as Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard? Are you the greatest of all-time?
Mayweather: I never saw Sugar Ray do the WWE. The eras are different. Tell me who's gone through five different weight classes without a loss. Credentials don't lie. I mean no disrespect, but Ali lost to Leon Spinks.
SUN Media: Outside of boxing, what makes you happy? What do you do in your spare time?
Mayweather: I feel if I put my mind to it, I can do anything. (In Dancing with the Stars), I don't feel I was treated fairly. (In my spare time), I spend time out in the country. I go bowling, skating and watch movies. It's good just to spend a day on the beach, to relax and focus.
SUN Media: What music is in your iPod.
Mayweather: Mainly hip-hop and R and B. Ray J, 50 Cent.
Mayweather: I'm here to talk about The Big Show. De La Hoya talks about me, I don't have to talk about him. Another fight? Why would it be any different?
SUN Media: The Floyd Mayweather we see is the charismatic guy with expensive jewelry, a flashy character. What are you like when you're away from it all?
Mayweather: That's the entertaining part of me. They say it's cocky. I call it confidence. I live the world dream. It's truly a blessing to be where I am. I appreciate what I have. I'm humble. I've got my diamond ring, my diamond watch, my expensive car ... but when the lights go out, it's the big man upstairs that matters.
SUN Media: Three athletes you admire?
SUN Media: You're living the American dream, when you talk to youngsters, what message do you pass on?
Mayweather: Everybody is not strong mentally and everybody is not strong physically. Find your strongest weapon and use it to the best of your ability.
SUN Media: Will you win your match against The Big Show?
Mayweather: It's a toss-up. He's got so many weapons. He's bigger and he's stronger. But I'm faster and I'm better looking. I've never been in a wrestling match. And I'm going to be in front of 80,000 fans. I'm confident enough to get in the ring with a guy who's 440 pounds.