A Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight is so much better when the world’s unbeaten, pound-for-pound champion has a foil to trade banter with.
Beyond the interest in how defensive-minded Mayweather (46-0) can calm the fury of Marcos Maidana after enduring an entertaining majority decision battle in May, there’s the entertainment of the back-and-forth between “Money” and Maidana’s trainer, Robert Garcia.
The San Pedro-born Garcia, who trains Maidana in Oxnard, launched a repeated barrage of jabs at Mayweather during their Pershing Square appearance on Thursday to close a five-city national publicity tour for the Sept. 13 Mayweather-Maidana Showtime pay-per-view rematch at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Back in 1998, Garcia, 39, was the International Boxing Federation super-featherweight champion while Mayweather owned the division's World Boxing Council belt.
“We were both champions at the same time. He’s mentioned he’d love to fight me. He never did,” Garcia said. “You don’t need pay-per-view … we can take a little walk, and we’re in business. I’m from L.A., Southern California, we know how to get behind the bushes and do this.”
Garcia also extended his hand, working to get Mayweather to agree to make the September fight a winner-take-all battle for a combined purse and to let Maidana wear the harder Everlast gloves the Arentinian set aside (in exchange for Mayweather money) in favor of a softer glove before their bout in May.
Mayweather’s hand never moved toward Garcia’s.
Mayweather usually gets the best of verbal warfare, and his most effective counterpunch was to note that he defeated the late Diego Corrales, the same man who took Garcia’s IBF belt in 1999 by seventh-round technical knockout.
Mayweather beat Corrales by 10th-round TKO in 2001.
“Garcia said Diego Corrales – and I love Diego -- is going down in the Hall of Fame as a warrior,” Mayweather said. “Well, if I beat him, what am I going down as? I’m still trying to figure out who’s around from the ’96 Olympics. I think all of those fighters should’ve been defensive fighters.”
Garcia told the Los Angeles crowd to watch a replay of his loss to Corrales.
“Sit down at YouTube, you’ll enjoy the fight, seven good rounds,” Garcia said. “My kids enjoy it.
“If Mayweather sits down with his kids, and they watch his fight, they’re going to fall asleep.”
He wasn’t done, then taking aim at the array of women and muscular bodyguards near Mayweather.
“One thing I do give him applause for is having so many beautiful girls with him. Too bad when they’re not on the payroll, they’re going to walk away,” Garcia said. “Look at those tough guys … if they weren’t on the payroll, they wouldn’t be here. That’s just the way it is.”
Garcia then pointed to a small group of his own friends on stage, a group in flannel and T-shirts.
“All of our guys are real, real friends,” he said.
Mayweather said he felt no need to apologize for the success that routinely earns him $30 million purses and has created a “rock-star” lifestyle.
“OK, you can go down as the best trainer, but I’m going down as the best fighter, [and] there’s a difference,” Mayweather said.