(Reuters) - Five-division world champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. says he will take his time and "be smart" when he faces Marcos Maidana of Argentina for their welterweight title unification in Las Vegas next week.
Mayweather, who has a 45-0 record with 26 knockouts, is widely regarded as one of the best defensive fighters of all time while slugger Maidana is known for his all-round skill and blistering power.
"Maidana deserves the opportunity," Mayweather told reporters at his boxing club in Las Vegas while preparing for the May 3 bout at the nearby MGM Grand Garden Arena. "He's a champion with an 80 percent knockout ratio.
"But everything isn't about speed. Everything in boxing and life is about timing. I'm a fighter that likes to take my time and be smart. Some fighters like to be reckless. You see what happens when fighters are reckless.
"Boxing is like chess. Every move has to be thought about before you make it. I like to study my opponents first. I'm not going to do a lot of moving when I get in the ring. I'm coming straight ahead."
Mayweather, who outboxed Saul Canelo Alvarez in his most recent bout in September to take the Mexican's WBA and WBC super welterweight titles, praised Maidana for his skills in the ring while cautioning his opponent that his best was yet to come.
"In 18 years I haven't brought my best out yet," smiled the 37-year-old American, who is nicknamed "Money" for his flamboyant and often extravagant lifestyle. "Being around the sport for so long, I have a lot of experience.
"I've boxed my whole life and everyone on the team is ready to go out and do what we do best. Now it's time for me to go out and do what I do.
"(Maidana) is an extremely skilled fighter who brings knockout danger to the ring. This is a great fight for me and he deserves the opportunity to see if he can do what 45 others have tried to do before him - beat me."
Maidana, 30, has a professional record of 35-3 with 31 knockouts and won his most recent bout in December with a unanimous decision against the heavily favored American Adrien Broner to claim the WBA welterweight title.
The May 3 bout in Las Vegas, scheduled for 12 rounds, will unify the WBC welterweight title held by Mayweather and Maidana's WBA welterweight crown.
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)
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- Marcos Maidana
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