COMMENTARY | Floyd Mayweather continues to do his victory laps in the wake of his September 14 unanimous decision victory over Saul "Canelo" Alvarez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. After appearances on television and radio to discuss his status as boxing's very best, the five-division world champ recently assumed the role of motivational speaker to defending NBA champs, the Miami Heat.
As the Heat prepare to make a run at becoming only the fourth team in NBA history to win three straight titles, Mayweather went to visit the defending champs at practice Sunday morning to give them some special words of encouragement.
Although it's not known, specifically, what he told the team-he entered before reporters were allowed to enter the training facility and left just as they were coming in-the message was loud and clear to basketball's undisputed best.
"From one champion to another, he just talked about being proud of us and how we handled ourselves," Dwyane Wade told reporters. "He knows, as a champion, how hard it is to go out there and compete when people try to take you down, take what you work for. He kept telling us how proud he is of us. If you got up today and you were a little tired, you walk in and see the champ, you work a little harder."
It's indeed a rarity that outsiders are allowed into a Heat practice, but team president Pat Riley-a long-time boxing fan-made the exception for Mayweather, who is a courtside regular at Miami's home games.
"With him being 17 years-and-0 -- we're trying to defend two titles -- he's been defending for a long time," LeBron James said. "He definitely knows where we're coming from. It's definitely exciting to have someone, one of the greatest of all time, to be in your presence. It's something you can talk about years from now when you look back on the history of sports. That guy was at our practice."
To add some drama to the events, though, Erik Spoelstra, current Heat head coach of Filipino descent and a well-known supporter of Mayweather arch-rival Manny Pacquiao, at first deferred media questions about the visit to other members of the team. Eventually, he relented and made a very diplomatic statement.
"Champs-to-champ respect, that's universal and pretty awesome," Spoelstra said. "Our guys are obviously in awe of what he's been able to do for an extremely long period of time, 17 years being on top. That's almost too remarkable to even fathom."
Heat center, Chris Bosh, later commented that he had thought about teasing his head coach about the recent setbacks of Pacquiao, but thought better of it.
"It was fantastic just to be full of that energy and be in that aura and just soak up whatever he had to say," Bosh said of the Mayweather visit.
However, as special as this moment was, all future appearances and motivational speaker gigs for Mayweather may have to take a momentary back seat to the unenviable task of selecting a bankable, viable opponent for his upcoming May 3 bout. At the moment, the front runners for the big ticket pay-per-view prizefight appear to be Amir Khan, Danny Garcia, and Devon Alexander.
Whatever decision is made, though, it looks like the fans have Mayweather's back.
On the same day of his visit to the Heat, an ESPN Sportsnation poll showed Mayweather walloping LeBron James 61% to 39% in a survey asking who had the more impressive career.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and is the author of Notes from the Boxing Underground. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
Sources: ESPN, USA Today
- Sports & Recreation
- Floyd Mayweather
- Miami Heat