• Boxing

Mayweather and Maidana divert focus

July 18, 2014
Marcos Maidana believes it's hard to win a decision against Floyd Mayweather Jr and that's why he is going for a knockout in the rematch © AP

The media tour is over, and now it's off to training camp as Floyd Mayweather Jr heads home to his gym in Las Vegas and Marcos Maidana heads to trainer Robert Garcia's gym in Oxnard, California.

Pound-for-pound king/unified welterweight champion Mayweather and former titlist Maidana hit five cities in four days to promote their September 13 Showtime PPV rematch at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Naturally, facing off at news conference after news conference can make fighters testy. So can interviews with the same questions over and over. But any good media tour will accomplish a few things, including getting the public amped up for the fight and establishing the storylines for the rematch of Mayweather's highly competitive majority decision win on May 3.

The tour for "Mayhem," an appropriate name for the sequel, unfolded Monday in New York in Times Square and moved to Washington, D.C., late that night (severe thunderstorms kept them grounded in New York) and then on to Chicago and San Antonio on Tuesday. Wednesday was a day off because Mayweather attended the ESPYS (where he won the best fighter award), and it wrapped up Thursday in Los Angeles.

Mayweather played up the competitive nature of the first fight as a reason folks should pony up to buy the rematch, and he also looked to convince people that one of the reasons he had so much trouble was because he believes Maidana is a dirty fighter.

"Why are we fighting again? Because the fans wanted it. I usually dominate my opponents or knock them out. But this guy won three or four rounds against me, and that never happens," Mayweather said. "It's obvious he's doing something right if he is facing me again, and he won a few rounds from me.

"But the referee had a bad night last time. We forgive him, but this is going to be a much cleaner fight. None of those dirty rabbit punches or elbows. This is not a street fight; this is not an MMA fight. My health and my career after boxing is what's important. He has a wife, he has children. I could hit this guy without gloves and he could never talk again. We use gloves to protect ourselves."

Mayweather also sought to stoke some interest with the age-old ploy of offering a wager to Maidana on the fight.

"If he really feels like he won the first fight then he should bet his purse. He should put his money where his mouth is. But he knows he can't beat me," Mayweather said.

Maidana said they could bet if he could wear his preferred brand of gloves, the Everlast MX model. The day before the first fight, the glove controversy erupted, with Mayweather ultimately paying Maidana an extra $1.5 million to change to the model of gloves he wanted Maidana to fight in. Maidana denied that was the case and said he would have to go for the knockout this time around.

"I have no choice. Floyd's defense is very good, and at times it is hard to hit him," Maidana said. "That's why I want to knock him out. First, I'm going to give him a beating and then I'm going to knock him out. It's going to be hard to get a decision, because he connects well and knows how to score points.

"I'm going to make some technical adjustments, work on my distance and always pressure him. Our camp last time was great, but we just need to make minor adjustments to get the win. Floyd is trying to get under our skin, but it's not going to work. We're going to do our fighting in the ring and this time we're going to win. Floyd is trying to make us lose our cool. He's trying to make us angry so we break concentration. He does it on purpose because he wants to have the upper hand. But his comments don't affect me at all.

"Floyd can say whatever he wants about me. He knows that I gave him the toughest fight of his life. The only difference is this time I will knock him out."

Robert Garcia, Maidana's trainer, and Mayweather had words as well.

"You've been bringing up stories about dirty fighting, dirty this, dirty that. Guess what? This fight is going to be rougher for you. You better be ready," Garcia told Mayweather. "You are going around telling Chino that you want to place a bet on this fight? Well, let's do that bet right now. You want to put in conditions? Well, we have our conditions, too. Let's do a bet where winner takes all. You have a lot of money. Winner takes all."

Back to the gloves, which were approved by the Nevada commission, but Mayweather still paid him off to switch models.

"One hundred percent the gloves made a difference in the last fight," Maidana said. "The gloves I use are fit to my hand and are more comfortable. But the ones that I was forced to wear were not comfortable. But the bottom line is, this time I'm going to win with any glove that I wear."

Maidana wasn't forced. He accepted money to change gloves. Still, he denied it when questioned during a conference call with reporters that took place on Tuesday night.

"No, not at all. They're making a big thing out of it. It's just a rumor," Maidana said of his accepting payment to change gloves. "No, I didn't get paid anything."

At Tuesday evening's stop in San Antonio, things turned a bit physical during the staredown for the photo opp when Maidana put his hands on Mayweather's chest and shoved him back. Mayweather responded in kind and Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe and Golden Boy Promotions' Eric Gomez stepped between them.

That's what happens when you put guys in front of each other time and again on these tours. There were no such drama at Thursday's finale in Los Angeles, although if you are into the business side of things, former Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, who quit the company last month after a falling out with majority shareholder Oscar De La Hoya, was in attendance as a guest of his pal Mayweather.

"To another person that don't get the credit that he truly, truly deserves, a guy who was with me doing record-breaking pay-per-view numbers, give a round of applause to Richard Schaefer," Mayweather told the crowd. "That's who was the driving force behind Golden Boy. Richard Schaefer took Golden Boy from the ground up to the highest heights. I commend you, I love you, I love your family."

Moments later, the tour ended. A lot had been said by everybody. The fans got good shows coast to coast and, hopefully, we'll all get another good fight come September 13.

This article first appeared on ESPN.com

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