http://www.fightnews.com/sloan40.htmA few days ago, Fightnews.com was able to catch up with pound-for-pound warrior Floyd Mayweather, Jr. during an open workout at the Top Rank Gym in Las Vegas. Just before Mayweather bedazzled the media with his jarring workout, the undefeated former champion spoke candidly about his opponent on June 25 in Arturo Gatti. As always, Mayweather was comedic, entertaining and held nothing back. He avoided no questions and answered from his heart. He was able to answer as many questions as possible while his two hands were wrapped during preparation for his rigorous workout. Here is what he said:
What are your thoughts on Gatti?
Well, lightning strikes but thunder only makes noise.
Is this the biggest fight of your career so far?
On paper, yeah. But he ain't on the level of a Jose Luis Castillo or Diego Corrales. Is he better? I don't think so. You gotta realize how this guy has become a "world" champion. You gotta remember that he got that belt because they stripped Kostya Tszyu of the belt and let him (Gatti) fight for a vacant title. I don't feel like my job is complete until I beat Kostya Tszyu.
Why do you think Gatti is so popular?
Well, if you take what he's done... I mean, you take Mickey Ward. He is not a bad fighter, but he is a good guy to fight for a tuneup fight. What they doin' is that Mickey Ward fought a lot of guys back in the day on Tuesday Night Fights on USA and also on ESPN. What they went and did was said that, 'Mickey Ward is a good journeyman, so let's put him on HBO and let them beat each other's brains in for millions.' They made it out to be such the big deal but for me, personally, I wasn't that impressed. I'm not going to let some guy beat my brains out. The less you get hit the longer you last in this sport. I am a smart fighter. I try to dish out as much punishment but take the least amount of punishment as possible.
With that said, what did you think of last week's Castillo/Corrales fight?
I think it was good for those two guys. But you got to think that the fans don't go home happy and feeling good because I ain't trying to be in a fight like that. That is not my style; it's not me. I mean I can fight like that, but that's not me. They were out there and they say that they're the best lightweights in the world and I guess they proved it. I did my thing at lightweight already and have moved on. I don't have to badmouth Corrales or badmouth Castillo because those guys are in my past. If those same guys come to me in the future, then I'm gonna do what I'm gonna do.
Is there an opponent out there right now who could elevate you and who could really define you as a fighter?
Of course there is. But what the fans and you guys in media have to understand is that I am constantly calling out these guys after my fights. I don't need a Jim Lampley or a Larry Merchant to ask me the name of an opponent because I go out there and I call the major names out. With these other guys, they have to be asked these questions like four or five times before they can answer it. Gatti didn't really want this fight. This fight was pushed onto Gatti and he really doesn't want it. He was going to be stripped of his WBC belt; a belt he really didn't even win because it was vacant after they stripped Kostya Tszyu. I never won a vacant title in my life. Every belt that I won I actually went out there and beat a champion for it. I never won a vacant belt. They are trying to strip him of his title but he and his team are saying that it was the paperwork or because of my court case. I pleaded "No Contest" just so I could make the fight and then this guy backed out again! This guy doesn't even want the fight. I want the fans and the media to know that this guy is supposed to be Arturo "Thunder" Gatti, but he really has been just ducking and dodging me. They say that I got a big mouth and that they are going to shut me up, so let's bring it. Ain't nobody shut me up yet so come June 25, you all can get your pen and paper out because everything I have said in the past will come true. So with Arturo Gatti, I am going to box circles around him and then I am going to go in the pocket and punish him. I am going to take him out right there in Atlantic City. And then I'll just say, "I told ya'll so."
Is there anybody out there that you want to fight after Gatti?
Like I said at my last fight when I called Kostya Tszyu out. I called him out. Kostya Tszyu don't never call my name out. Every time they ask about my name, he try to duck and dodge the question and go around my name. I am not like any of these guys; I got a chin, I can give it and take it, I can box, I can fight on the inside as well as the outside and I am smart. He knows I am an intelligent fighter. Smart fighters know smart fighters.
Are you saying that Kostya Tszyu is a smart fighter?
No, I'm saying Kostya Tszyu knows that I am a smart fighter. Is Gatti on the level of Kostya Tszyu? No, he's not. Is Kostya Tszyu smart? All he tries to do is load up with the right hand and he likes to follow you around. Actually, he fought my uncle so I already know what he's about. He fought Roger Mayweather when he was an old fighter; a Roger Mayweather who was close to 40