Floyd Mayweather, getting ready for his first bout in 21 months, has apparently lost none of the chip on his shoulder that made him one of boxing's most intriguing figures.
In an otherwise calm meeting with reporters on Tuesday, including ESPN.com's Kieran Mulvaney, Mayweather calmly and matter-of-factly lashed out at what he thinks is unfair treatment from the media and the public, in part because of his race.
"If you're rich, you're a rich n-----," he said. "If you're poor, you're a poor n----. If you're smart, you're a smart n-----. At the end of the day, they still look at me as a n-----."
Mayweather meets Juan Manuel Marquez in a 144-pound bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday night (HBO PPV). Mayweather, 32, hasn't fought since beating Ricky Hatton nearly two years ago.
Earlier in the conversation, Mayweather compared the reception he received in England earlier this year to what he gets in the United States.
"This country needs to be more positive," he said. "We're already at war. We're in a recession, we're at war and we continue to be negative. The fans in the UK showed me more love than in my own country. That's crazy ... Sometimes I'll sit back, I'll be in my theater sometimes, and I'll think: 'Imagine if I was the same fighter that I am, and I was the same person that I am, and I was from another country. Can you just imagine how big I'd be?'
"But I wouldn't change my life for nothing in the world. There's nothing like being young, black and rich. But there are certain things you think about. If Floyd Mayweather was white, I'd be the biggest athlete in America. The biggest, the biggest. I know that for a fact."
Mayweather compared his public persona with that of Oscar De La Hoya, whom he beat on a split decision in May 2007.
"One thing you never hear. You never hear anything negative about Oscar De La Hoya," he said. "Anything he do negative, it gets swept under the rug."
He continued by complaining about two of HBO's broadcasters, who will be calling Saturday's fight.
"Larry Merchant don't know nothing about boxing," Mayweather said. "What's that other guy's name [at HBO]? [Emanuel Steward]. He's an Uncle Tom.
"One thing you can't knock. You cannot knock my talent."
Tuesday, it was reported that Mayweather is being sued by a bank in Las Vegas for more than $167,000 unpaid on a loan for a half-million-dollar luxury car. Also, county records in Las Vegas show Mayweather has one unresolved lien with the Internal Revenue Service for $6.17 million in unpaid taxes from 2007. Other records show homeowners associations, the state of New Jersey and a trash collector have also claimed Mayweather did not pay bills.
Mayweather was not asked about the financial issues in his chat with reporters, but on a recent episode of HBO's Mayweather/Marquez "24/7," which is documenting the fighters as they prepare for Saturday's match, he said: "I got a good relationship with the IRS; they ain't took nothing away from me."
In late August, Las Vegas police investigating a shooting outside a skating rink seized two handguns, ammunition and two bulletproof vests from the home and two cars of Mayweather. He was not named as a suspect in the investigation and was never charged.