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Floyd Chats With ESPN’s Stephen A Smith, Talks Tax Troubles, McGregor Racial Slight, More

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Floyd Mayweather sat down with ESPN’s hot take provider Stephen A Smith and the result, almost 43 minutes of chat, provided some tidbits for the masses.

The 40 year old hitter was told by SAS that many folks think Conor isn’t skilled enough to hang with him. “He’s still a warrior,” Floyd says. But Conor has tapped out before. Nate Diaz was the better man on that night, when Conor got choked, the Michiganer said. “He’s a lot younger,” Floyd said, offering up some reasons why maybe he could enjoy some success. “Youth is on his side, and I’ve been off a couple years,” Floyd says.

SAS went back at it…Conor has NEVER been in a boxing ring. Did he earn this right? Yes, because Conor is at the top of the heap along with him, in the combat sports sphere. But Jon Jones has been off the radar, isn’t of the same prominence as the Dubliner. “Racism still exists,” Floyd explains, and notes that he is outspoken, and is seen as “cocky.” Conor “takes my whole blueprint and they praise him,” and he’s saying in between the lines that is partly why he took the fight.

SAS kept hammering…Conor hasn’t boxed before! And Floyd maintains he’s the best ever! Floyd veered into a defense of how well this fight is selling. He then states that he’s a genius for pulling this fight off, and he doesn’t think he gets full credit for being smart outside the ring. SAS disagrees, and says that Floyd does get full credit for being a sage businessman. He more so gets smacked at for not taking on the stiffest challenges, the ESPNer says. Floyd counters and says, for example, Manny Pacquiao didn’t get flak for taking on Jeff Horn, a no name, but he gets savaged for not picking a fight with Godzilla. Smith bungled by calling him “Joe” Horn when Floyd said he doesn’t know the guys name. “That fight shouldn’t have been on ESPN, at all,” Floyd says, not making that much sense, being that Horn upset Pacquiao and the fight was a pretty good spectacle.

Back to McGregor…

SAS asked if Floyd pondered losing to the UFCer? There’s no losing, he maintains, because he will make hundreds of millions of dollars even if he loses. If he lost, “I’ma walk out of that ring with my head high,” the boxer said.

He then continued to play up Conor’s chances to beat him, because he’s older. He should have been able to stop Berto, he told SAS. He knows he’s slipped because he’s felt it in his workouts. His body has been breaking down but he’s made up for it with a sharp mind, he said.

Floyd also said he’s happy that he has a foe who can co-promote, as opposed to Oscar and Canelo and Manny, where he had to carry the promotion. He didn’t dig it, though, when “(Conor) called us monkeys,” though. He didn’t break character, he said, but it made him think of MLK and Malcom X, and how racism is still around. He won’t be broken by it and will show his strength Aug 26. “The same way he called us monkeys, we’ll see if he says that Aug 26,” he stated.

This fight is for the American people, Floyd said, and “all the blacks around the world.”

Was this like the Holmes vs Cooney racial element? Sort of, but this is bigger, because of social media and all that, Floyd said.

Floyd said that he can be defensive but he presses too. Like he did against Marcos Maidana…Maidana stunned him, so did Shane Mosley…will McGregor be able to touch him? Max Kellerman says nah..

“This can’t be a defensive fight. I gotta go to him,” Floyd answered. “I have to go to him…Because I owe the public for the Pacquiao fight, since they wasn’t pleased with the Pacquiao fight, they going to be pleased with this fight right here.”

He said he doesn’t care if he gets credited with a 50th win, the check is the thing.

What about those that say boxing is being discredited by him taking on a boxing neophyte? Oscar wanted to get Canelo to fight McGregor, Floyd pointed out, and you can Google that. Oscar said he’s not good for boxing but was good enough to fight him, Floyd continued. He said Oscar’s past transgressions, his partying and such, are not good role model actions.

Floyd thinks Oscar is jealous of him and he would have taken the opportunity to fight Conor and get that check. “He’s not even on the chess board anymore,” Floyd said. Oscar’s fighters are now with Mayweather Promotions, he said, and those guys weren’t signed to Golden Boy, so that helps explains Oscar’s animosity, he stated.

Him and McGregor and Showtime and UFC are going to be “the happiest people on earth” Aug 26 because it will be a “billion dollar fight,” the fighter, who declares this is it, stated.

What about his legacy as a boxer? He cares more about his legacy as a father, he said. “I don’t want my kids to have to answer to nobody,” he said, and his management has allowed them to have that luxury.

Floyd went on..He said he doesn’t care to boast about charitable acts he’s done. He met up with more than one kid dying of cancer who wanted to meet him. One little guy, it “brought tears to my eyes,” Floyd said. He didn’t post a pic of them together on social media because he couldn’t think of the words to say to accompany the pic. He took the little fella to GameStop and told him to go nuts. Point being, he has a softer side. That’s his own fault, SAS told him. Because “you don’t want to tell us about that,” Smith said. Floyd said “we do a lot,” including giving away school supplies and turkeys to those in need, but they don’t get credit for it.

Floyd said he himself doesn’t post his good deeds, but yes, his people sometimes have. He said God has blessed him, and all in all, he seems conflicted about it all.

Smith went further, asking Floyd which Floyd he wants people to see most. The fighter said he’s OK as long as those closest to him know what he’s really all about. He said he’s older, wiser.

Back to McGregor. “This fight is black and white,” the boxer said, and Smith didn’t pick up on that and press the issue. Instead, Floyd talked about retiring for the first time. That was actually a “vacation,” he said. And he really thought himself retired after Berto, but a pile of money brought him back. But this is it, Floyd said, and he promised Al Haymon that. “He care about me, period,” Floyd said.

And why is he in the news for tax issues? His attorney handles that, he said, and he has a bunch of mansions, so he’s doing fine, he told SAS. He said that people try and bring you down, like when people “called me a wife beater.” Still, he said, no photos from that event, when he was accused and punished for hitting the mother of his kids, in front of them, have emerged. Floyd said there is a double standard, in that he gets crap for what Hugh Hefner used to do.

The fighter said he doesn’t think most people could handle being him. “They try and defeat me in different ways,” he said. “Years and years and years they been trying their best to defeat me, mentally. They can’t defeat me,” he said.

Does America want Conor to beat him? He doesn’t know, but he loves America. “I’ll be the first one to tell anybody, I’m not an African American, I’m an American,” he said. He launched into why he doesn’t want to be called an “African American,” and I expected him to break out a mini flag and wave it.

He said he remembers where he came from, from “poverty” and from the streets, and “I’m the American dream, I come from nothing to something,” he said. Love him or hate him, it doesn’t matter to him. Either way, they are paying to see him and that money goes to him and his fam.

He ended by saying he will be fighting smart Aug 26 but he will be going at McGregor. He wants to beat AND embarrass the UFCer, he said. “He gonna know, one thing he gonna know, I don’t care who you disrespect, but one thing you gonna know, not to ever disrespect an American again, that much you will know, August 26.”

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About Michael Woods

Editor/publisher Michael Woods became addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the fearsome Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and numerous other organizations.

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