By Mitch Abramson
For the most part, Floyd Mayweather Jr. spoke softly and respectfully about his opponent Victor Ortiz during a conference call on Wednesday. But Mayweather’s comments turned toxic when the subject turned to potential foe Manny Pacquiao and his reign atop the sport. In a withering assessment of Pacquiao’s opposition in recent years, Mayweather described his choice of opponents as his own “leftovers,” a reference to Ricky Hatton, Shane Mosley and Oscar De La Hoya, whom Mayweather faced and beat before Pacquiao had the chance to do the same. Continually referring to himself in the third person, Mayweather didn’t hold back in demeaning Pacquiao’s choice of opponents.
“As long as he can keep fighting Mayweather’s leftovers or a fighter that has already been beaten, then the media has to really pay attention to this,” Mayweather began. “They say Shane Mosley looked the best when he beat Antonio Margarito. His next fight was against Floyd Mayweather. I’m only fighting him when they say that he was coming off of his best performance. So after I beat Shane Mosley, then he gets a draw [against Sergio Mora last year]. Like I said, fighters are never the same once they face me.”
Even when Pacquiao fought an opponent that Mayweather never met, such as Antonio Margarito or Miguel Cotto, Mayweather manages to advance his argument by demeaning the opponents they have in common. (Or something to that affect.)
“So then [Mosley] fights Pacquiao,” Mayweather continued. “Once again, I beat him first. After Antonio Margarito gets beat by Mosley then Pacquiao fights Margarito. Margarito cheats and beats Miguel Cotto and then, that’s when Pacquiao says [he] wants to fight Cotto.”
There’s more. Mayweather was just getting warmed up in piecing together his sixth-degrees of separation logic.
“I beat Hatton when he’s undefeated, and then he goes and fights Hatton after I already beat him,” Mayweather goes on. “He wasn’t the same. Now, Marquez called me out. Once again, I took the Marquez fight, the guy that they had rated No. 2 pound-for-pound, after I had taken two years off. Now they say that Floyd Mayweather is too big for Marquez, but he’s not too big for Pacquiao, but they’re the same size.”
Pacquiao faced Marquez the first time back in 2004, a good five years before Mayweather fought him. Of course, Mayweather didn’t bring this point up, and even if he had, Mayweather, as tough with his words as he is in the ring, surely would have found a way to demean Marquez at that point in time.
Mitch Abramson covers boxing for the New York Daily News and BoxingScene.com.