Floyd Mayweather may be retired from the ring, but the man has no shortage of opinions when it comes to boxing, the sport he dominated throughout a 19-year career in which he won world titles in five weight divisions, reigned for years as the pound-for-pound king and made more money than any fighter in history.
Mayweather paid a visit to ESPN HQ in Bristol, Connecticut, on Wednesday to promote the Badou Jack-James DeGale super middleweight unification fight that his company, Mayweather Promotions, is promoting Saturday night (Showtime, 9:30 ET) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
During his visit, Mayweather sat down with my colleague Brian Campbell for a 15-minute Facebook Live interview in which Mayweather dished on a variety of boxing topics.
First up was his take on the much-discussed fantasy fight between him and UFC champion Conor McGregor -- the match I think is complete nonsense -- who recently received a boxing license in California.
“Conor McGregor, I want to tell everybody this right now: Do he want to fight? Absolutely not,” Mayweather said. “I’m trying to see if he really wants to fight. But we can’t make the fight happen because he’s got his own boss [in UFC president Dana White].”
Mayweather went on to rag on McGregor for tapping out against Nate Diaz at UFC 196 in March.
“[Three] fights ago he was tapping out. He was quitting,” Mayweather said. “Call me what you want to call me, but I’m not a quitter. I don’t quit.”
"Canelo's not ducking Triple G. Canelo will beat GGG. ... Canelo is going to end up fighting Errol Spence down the line in a big, big fight. I think it's going to come down to those two. That's my honest opinion."Floyd Mayweather
Although McGregor beat Diaz in the rematch, Mayweather said, “I still thought he lost. When I talked to Nate Diaz [on] Facetime, he said [UFC] put him on the shelf. Nate Diaz said, ‘I want to fight, I want to fight, I want to fight.’ He said, ‘Ever since the second fight with Conor McGregor, they put me on the shelf. I’m ready to stay busy and stay active.’ Nate Diaz even talked to me about coming to box.”
When asked if he would return to boxing, Mayweather was coy, as usual, because sometimes he says no way, and other times he leaves the door open.
“I’ve made mistakes. I’m not perfect,” he said. “Can I contradict myself? Absolutely, because I’m only human. Floyd Mayweather’s not perfect. God only made one thing perfect -- my boxing record.”
Mayweather chuckled to himself with that comment and did not seem interested in the prospect of fights with any of the younger top welterweights.
“I’m an old man now, so I’m smart,” said Mayweather, who will turn 40 next month. “The best business move for me is Conor McGregor. That’s what the world wants to see.”
Moving on to other topics:
Who’s No. 1 pound-for-pound?
Now that Mayweather is retired, he agreed with most observers that the best fighter in the world is undefeated four-division world champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (46-0, 38 KOs), who currently holds a junior bantamweight title. In naming Gonzalez No. 1, Mayweather also took a hard shot at unified light heavyweight titleholder Andre Ward, who claimed three belts by heavily disputed decision against Sergey Kovalev in November.
"Conor McGregor, I want to tell everybody this right now: Do he want to fight? Absolutely not. I'm trying to see if he really wants to fight. But we can't make the fight happen because he's got his own boss [in UFC president Dana White]."Floyd Mayweather
“I like Andre Ward, but one thing about me -- call a spade a spade. He didn’t win,” Mayweather said of Ward. “Chocolatito has to be No. 1. He haven’t lost yet, and he’s a helluva fighter.”
As for the future pound-for-pound king, Mayweather had some candidates in mind.
“I really think it’s going to come down to two fighters,” he said. “I think that Terence Crawford is going to eventually fight Errol Spence, Keith Thurman or [Danny] Garcia. But then [there’s Erislandy] Lara.
“Canelo [Alvarez] is going to end up fighting Errol Spence down the line in a big, big fight. I think it’s going to come down to those two. That’s my honest opinion.”
What about Canelo vs. GGG?
Many have accused Alvarez of avoiding a fight with unified middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin. Supposedly, they’ll meet in September as long as each wins an interim fight. Mayweather, however, said Alvarez is not ducking him.
“Canelo’s not ducking Triple G. Canelo will beat GGG,” Mayweather said.
Mayweather went on to rip Golovkin for his performance in a fifth-round knockout of welterweight titlist Kell Brook, who moved up to middleweight for their fight in September.
“Triple G is the same guy who was just getting outboxed by a welterweight if [I'm] not mistaken,” Mayweather said. “I know boxing. Nobody in the world know boxing like me. Canelo knocks Triple G out. Triple G has his hand full with [Daniel] Jacobs [on March 18]. Jacobs can fight. The thing is this: Jacobs can dish it out, but he has to be able to take it. But it’s all about who gets who first.”
Trainer Virgil Hunter
When told that Jacobs will have noted trainer Virgil Hunter as part of his team for the fight with Golovkin, Mayweather went off.
Perhaps there was a method to his madness, however, as he said that should his fighter, Jack, defeat DeGale, he envisions Jack moving up to light heavyweight and going after Ward and the 175-pound belts. Hunter, of course, is best known as Ward’s trainer.
Whatever the reasons, Mayweather took it to Hunter.
“Virgil Hunter’s not a good trainer at all. That’s just my honest opinion,” he said. “Virgil Hunter is a cool guy. He’s a nice guy, but a guy who’s never fought before, that’s never been in a crunch moment. How can he tell you about a crunch moment if he’s never been in a crunch moment? I need a trainer that’s in my corner that’s been in there before and felt contact and know how it is to be in a fight. I don’t care if it’s an amateur fight. You have to have some type of experience at boxing. So can Virgil Hunter be in my corner? Absolutely not. But do I think he’s a cool guy? Absolutely.
“Do I like Andre Ward? Yes, I do like Andre Ward. But Andre Ward got to make some major changes if you going to fight Kovalev again. You got to make some major changes. You got to go get you a trainer that’s been in the crunch before.”