"To me, it's just another day. It's just another fight. I mean, when you just look at the tale of the tape, I have a longer reach, I'm taller, I'm stronger, and I'm more accurate. I think I seen a major change in Pacquiao...I took my time, I made the right move, and I'm just ready to go out there and be exciting. Be smart and be exciting. I mean, he's a fighter just like I'm a fighter, and he's a guy that's out there to win. The only thing I know is to win, so is losing in the back of his mind? Absolutely! Why? Because he probably lost 3 or 5 times before, so losing is in his mind. Losing is not in my mind because the only thing I know how to do is win," stated undefeated pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather, who gave FightHype.com an in-depth interview about his May 2 showdown with Manny Pacquiao, how the fight came about, and much more. You don't want to miss what else he had to say. Check it out!
BT: Floyd, first and foremost, congratulations! I know this is something you've wanted for a long time.
FM: I'm happy that the fight is finally taking place. It took awhile, but I think with prayers and belief and a good team, eventually we made it happen. It's all about self-preservation. Of course I come first. I'm fighting for Floyd Mayweather first, you know, but I love my fans because without the fans, I wouldn't be where I'm at. Me and my team and my family, we really appreciate everybody that has been supportive throughout the years.
BT: After nearly 6 years, how did the fight finally come about? Was it a difficult processs to get to the finish line in these negotiations?
FM: It was very, very difficult. We forced them to fight. We gave them no choice. Al and Bob and HBO and Showtime were going back and forth, trying to make the fight happen. It was a battle, but everybody is happy now and it's time to give the people what they want to see. Everyone was saying, "Sign the contract! Sign the contract!" As soon as Arum signed and as soon as Manny signed, Al Haymon brought the contract right to me and I signed the contract with no problem at all. I'm not here to say anything negative about Bob or say anything negative about Manny. That's not my job to do. I'm a boxer/entertainer and my job is to go out there and entertain and be the best that I can be. I'm just happy that we were able to make the fight happen. I can't wait.
BT: What was different now as opposed to some of the other times you tried to put the fight together?
FM: I think how we were able to make the fight this time was me sitting down and meeting with Pacquiao one on one. Once we sat down one on one, it had an awful lot to do with Al Haymon. I stayed on top of Al day in and day out. Stephen Espinoza and Al and Leonard Ellerbe was communicating back and forth all day just trying to make the fight happen. It was extremely difficult, but like I said before, I'm truly blessed to be in a position to make nine figures in thirty-six minutes. Al Haymon, I couldn't choose a better man to have in my corner. He's been like a father to me. He has taught me about business. He's such a brilliant business man. He came to my house. We was at my house sitting down in Vegas. We had a meeting, just about business outside of boxing, but then we got to talking about boxing. I said, "What do you think about the Pacquiao fight?" He said, "I really don't know. Do you want the fight?" I said, "Absolutely!" I said, "Can you make it happen?" He said, "I can try my best." And I said, "Well you told me we don't ever try to do anything. We do it! So can you do it?" He said, "I'ma do it!" And that's what we did. Once I got with Al Haymon, everything that I asked for throughout my career, I've received. From every mansion that I wanted, every car that you can possibly dream about, to every country, but I had already been around the world before I was 19, but everything that I asked of from Al Haymon, he did. Like I said before, he's remarkable. He's been like a father to me. He's unbelievable.
BT: This fight has definitely been a long time coming. Do you remember the first time you thought Pacquiao might one day be an opponent for you?
FM: A close friend of mine, I never spoke about him because he's always been behind the scenes for years, but a friend named Deshaun Wayne, he's from LA and he's been my friend for over 10 years. Deshaun Wayne was the first one to ever come to me about the Pacquiao fight. He was the first one to come and say that we should make the fight happen. This was years ago when he was slowly moving up in weight. Deshaun don't really get the props that he really deserves. There's a lot of people that's behind the scenes that really don't get the credit they're due, but as long as I recognize them, that's what's important. Like my driver, Brucer Miller. You know, he's been with me a good while. He's solid. 53, my other driver, he's still connected to the family too. It's a great thing to be able to put people around me in great positions so that they can become entrepreneurs. That's what it's about. My team goes out there day in and day out and fights. I mean, Al Haymon, he's on the front line, of course, but there's other people that's with me on an every day basis that travels the world with me and go out there and fight because they only want the best for me. You know, it's not all about the money. It's about loyalty. It's about being dedicated also; being dedicated to your job, and I feel that if your job is to go out there and find the biggest deal that you can possibly find for Floyd Mayweather because you're going to get a huge kickback, then that's your job.
BT: There were times when it seemed like these negotiations were touch and go. When Bob started the "He's Scared" mantra, I thought it might not get...
FM: [Cutting in] I've fought for over 30 years. I've been a professional now 19 years, you know, and world champion 18 years, and I'm not scared of any fighter. The thing is this, I feel that I earned the right to be the A-side. I dedicated myself to the sport of boxing. I gave boxing my all, so to just say, "You know what? I'm going to take anything. I'm going to settle for anything," is ridiculous. I'm not going to do that. What I'm going to do is I'm not going to work harder, I'm going to work smarter. So my thing is before, at one particular time, my guarantee was $50 million. That was when we was trying to make the fight before, but now, it's a lot more. So the only thing I can really say is thank you to the fans. The fans made me number one in Forbes by going out and buying pay-per-view. When I'm charging $80.00 a pay-per-view, that's some faithful and loyal fans. You know, Al Haymon is a very, very shrewd business man, and me and Leonard Ellerbe, we've been through a lot; a lot of ups and downs, but you know, every day is not going to be the same, but I'm going to continue to work hard and keep my team strong, and believe in my team and believe in myself. I believed in myself before anyone else believed in Floyd Mayweather.
BT: Obviously for the fans, this is a huge fight. This is the mega-fight they've all been waiting for. How important do you personally view this fight?
FM: Well I don't feel that one fight defines my legacy. To me, it's just another day. It's just another fight. I mean, when you just look at the tale of the tape, I have a longer reach, I'm taller, I'm stronger, and I'm more accurate. I think I seen a major change in Pacquiao when Alex Ariza left his training camp. Which is a great thing Alex is working with me now. He's a strength and conditioning coach and he's a great guy.
BT: When I saw you two standing side-by-side at the basketball game, that was the first time I really noticed the size difference. What were your initial thoughts during that first face-to-face encounter you had with him?
FM: I don't really think that height plays a key for him. I think with me it plays a key because I use a little bit of everything. I use my reach, I use my height, I use my movement; I use different techniques, whereas he's not as versatile as Floyd Mayweather. I think that's the difference between us two. I think he's a very exciting fighter. I think he's also strong, but I think that this is a different league. I mean, this is a guy that can box going forward, this is a guy that can box going backwards, a guy that can counterpunch, I can tie you up, I can slug if I have to, but my thing is always working smarter, not harder. And like I said before, I'm blessed and you can never take nothing for granted. The only thing I did was constantly work, constantly believe, constantly pray, and anything is possible. And like I said before, I can retire today and I'm okay. I was very, very smart investing my money in a lot of real estate, doing business with my big tycoon buddies. The great thing about my career is I did it my way. A lot of guys are forced to do things that they don't want to do. I honestly believe that, at this particular time, even if Pacquiao didn't want to fight, he has no choice because his back is against the wall. The reason why his back is against the wall is because he needs the money. I don't. Every property that I have, from Miami to LA to Las Vegas, is paid for. So I'm blessed, and I didn't do it by myself. My team is around me every day and everybody that has supported me throughout my 19-year career, I'm thankful for. No relationship is perfect. Like I said before, me and Leonard bump heads, of course, and he can do things that I don't like, but real men can sit down and communicate and get on the same page and come to an agreement. So with that being said, I look forward to working with my father. We're ready to get back to camp and do what we do best, and that's just work hard and be smart.
BT: Do you think Pacquiao is the same fighter that he was 5 or 6 years ago when the idea of you two fighting was first approached?
FM: He may not be the same fighter, but this is a guy that I cannot overlook. He got here somehow and some way. You never take nothing for granted because anything can happen. But as far as me being nervous or worried, absolutely not, but I'm always cautious and smart.
BT: From a technical point of view, do you think his style has changed at all?
FM: Well, you know, 5 or 6 years ago, once again, he was with Alex Ariza. Once Alex Ariza left, he's a totally different fighter. You know, I don't have anything bad to say about Freddie Roach, I don't have anything bad to say about his team, but I believe in myself and I believe in my skills, and I got here somehow and some way by believing in my skills and believing in my talent. So with that being said, he must know that he's not in there with, um, I don't know the guy's name, Algieri, the guy he just faced. That's a kickboxer he was fighting, the last guy, from what I was told. He's fighting a legitimate welterweight. You know, I'm not upset at all, but people would say...I mean, am I judged from the character Money Mayweather or...put it like this, this fight could've been happened a long time ago. People say certain things because I'm the villain in the sport of boxing. I think that I get criticized a lot because I'm the bad guy, but that's okay. Things happen. Like I said, everything takes time. I took my time, I made the right move, and I'm just ready to go out there and be exciting. Be smart and be exciting. I mean, he's a fighter just like I'm a fighter, and he's a guy that's out there to win. The only thing I know is to win, so is losing in the back of his mind? Absolutely! Why? Because he probably lost 3 or 5 times before, so losing is in his mind. Losing is not in my mind because the only thing I know how to do is win.
[ Follow Ben Thompson on Twitter @fighthype ]