By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – While breaking down the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury fight during Showtime’s telecast Saturday night, Floyd Mayweather Jr. made sure to tell Jim Gray that he loves Wilder.
The feeling definitely isn’t mutual.
Wilder deemed Mayweather “a hater” while watching a replay of his controversial split draw with Fury on Thursday with a small group of reporters at a Manhattan restaurant. The unbeaten WBC heavyweight champion commented on Mayweather’s criticism of his performance when Mayweather was shown on the screen, criticizing Wilder’s performance as Gray interviewed him.
Among other things, Mayweather told Gray he had England’s Fury in front 5-0 through five rounds. Wilder won the fourth round on the scorecards of each of the three judges, only one of whom scored their 12-round fight for the Tuscaloosa, Alabama, native.
“He is a hater,” Wilder said. “He don’t want nobody else to have no shine but him. It’s a shame because he’s 40-something years old. I mean, get married, man. Settle down. It’s sad. And these is the champions, the former champions, and then downing the champions – this is what makes the sport bad. Because they’re downing fighters. They down ‘em.”
When asked what type of relationship he has with Mayweather, Wilder revealed he has “never” had a private conversation with the 41-year-old, five-division champion.
“I have no relationship with him,” Wilder said. “This ain’t the first time. I mean, he bet against me on [Bermane] Stiverne [in January 2015]. He bet against me right here.”
The 33-year-old Wilder seemed more disappointed than angry regarding Mayweather’s reluctance to encourage him and help him with his technical flaws. He has noticed, however, that Mayweather interacts with other younger champions similarly.
“Look at all his fighters,” Wilder said, referring to Mayweather’s promotional company. “Everybody that’s trying to come, he brings ‘em down. Anybody that got any shine, that seems like he could be the next star, look what happens to them. Look at Gervonta [Davis]. I mean, we sees it. We sees an example. Look with Adrien [Broner]. ‘This is the next Floyd Mayweather.’
“You think he wanted to see Adrien make it to the top like that? They was comparing [Broner] to him, he could be the next great thing. Nobody wants to be forgotten, but I always say if you’ve done it right in your career the first time, you done it right, you’ll never be forgotten. But we always are remembered by the last thing we did. We could do 99 great things, and we do one wrong thing, people will always remember that right there.”
Wilder would do things differently than the retired Mayweather if he were boxing’s biggest star.
“I don’t understand, we have great champions like him, like Mike [Tyson] and stuff like that, that – build us up,” Wilder said. “Talk to us. If you’ve got something to say, hey, pull us to the side, privately. They don’t even take the time out to call. ‘Hey man, just work on this. Just do this. I think you’re great. You can do this and do that.’ Because they don’t wanna see that greatness and it’s sad. When I get in the position, I’m gonna be the type of guy that motivates these guys, like I do now. I always tell other fighters and I tell my brother, ‘I want you to be better than me. Don’t try to be like me. Be better than me.’
“Because history repeats itself. There can never be a person that just stay in position and just be the man throughout the time in history. It’s never gonna happen. And my idol is Muhammad Ali, you know? Even Muhammad Ali lost in the ring. For me, it’s not so much what he did inside the ring, it’s what he did outside of the ring. Very outspoken, loved his people, spoke out. You know? But you know, nowadays everybody just wanna be the man and stay the man.”
Mayweather reportedly walked away from the ring disgusted Saturday night at Staples Center, once Showtime’s Jimmy Lennon Jr. announced the split draw.
“Deontay Wilder, he’s depending just on one shot,” Mayweather told Gray from his ringside seat following the fifth round. “He’s looking for just one, big shot. And as a fighter, you have to use other weapons. Fury’s using combinations and a very, very fast jab, and taking his time. So I think if Deontay Wilder don’t do something else, it looks like Fury’s gonna win, if it goes the distance.”
Mayweather added that his score was, “5-0 so far. Deontay Wilder, a hell of a fighter. You know, I love Deontay Wilder. Fury is a very unorthodox boxer. A good matchup.”
When Gray asked if he was surprised by what he had witnessed to that point, Mayweather replied, “Anything can happen in boxing, so I’m not surprised.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.