COMMENTARY | Who is this version of Floyd Mayweather and what did he do with the old one? You know, the bad guy that is enamored with controversy and spends a great deal of his time making you spend your hard earned cash to see him lose rather than watch him win.
Ten years ago, Floyd Mayweather may not have been able to ignore Ruben Guerrero's verbal tirade that found the elder Guerrero -- whose son, Robert, will face Mayweather on May 4 -- repeatedly call the undefeated boxer a woman beater during the final press conference before the fight. But this self-proclaimed more mature Mayweather sat idle as Ruben Guerrero tore into the Mayweather family.
"We're going to beat-up that woman beater, the one who beat up his wife, man . . . his wife in front of his kids, you guys like that sh*t? You like this guy? A woman beater? He must have learned that from his dad. Woman beater baby, we're going to beat that woman beater. See how he's going to like it, he's going to get it from a real man. We're going to beat that woman beater down," Guerrero shouted as Golden Boy Promotions Oscar De La Hoya did his best to quell this uncomfortable situation.
Meanwhile, Floyd Mayweather and Robert Guerrero kept their cool throughout the ordeal as neither acknowledged the incident when it was their turn to speak. Their fathers, however, nearly clashed afterwards as Floyd Sr. -- who was mysteriously not on the dais for the press conference -- looked to confront Ruben. Threats were exchanged, security kept them apart and members from both camps neared explosion.
But who was in the middle trying to take the threat level from red to yellow? Floyd Mayweather Jr.
It was a unexpected sight to see a man who is often linked to controversial actions and words remain so calm. Many members of the media that were present at the press conference expressed their surprise in Mayweather's ability to take the high road rather than see things spill into turmoil, especially considering that an escalating conflict would likely sell more pay per views.
But that's not the 2013 version of Floyd Mayweather, or so he leads us to believe. After order was restored (and Ruben Guerrero finally ran out of verbal venom), Mayweather sat down with the press to address how he was able to keep his cool.
"When I was young I was a wild Floyd Mayweather," the 43-0 fighter says through his illuminating million dollar smile. "But I'm a lot older now and a lot wiser. My kids are teenagers now. I can't carry myself in a disorderly fashion. It's okay to trash talk sometimes to get people riled up but there is a time and place for everything."
This maturity that Mayweather speaks of likely came courtesy of his two month stint in jail stemming from alleged domestic abuse against his ex-girlfriend. According to Mayweather, those days he spent in jail without proper nutrition and the inability to see his family have forever changed him. Even the "Money" nickname that he has latched himself to doesn't carry the same weight.
"I make money, money doesn't make me," Mayweather says of the many realities he faced while behind bars. "I'd rather have my freedom and be poor than be rich and without freedom because it's just like you are poor."
It is certainly a different Mayweather than the one we are used to seeing when the lights are on and it is his turn to keep the audience entertained. He says that he is more conscious of his actions and how his children perceive those actions. Perhaps that is why he didn't involve himself in the fracas that took place only a few feet away from him. Even though it can be deemed that Guerrero crossed the line, Mayweather takes solace in the fact that the only place he needs to fight is inside of the ring under the bright lights of the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 4.
Also standing a few feet away as the chaos ensued was a man who knows press conference trash talking all too well, Bernard Hopkins. He wouldn't go as far to say that Guerrero crossed the line, but he did advise that he hopes that his son is ready for what is in store against Mayweather. "You can say whatever you want in phone interviews, press conferences and stare downs, but when you get into the ring, there's only two guys fighting," Hopkins said a few feet where things could have gotten really ugly. "When that bell rings it becomes a real do or die situation. That's when the reality sets in. The reality isn't now. This is just foreplay."
Although Mayweather isn't showing signs of his feathers being ruffled, rest assured that he's taking a mental note of all that the Guerrero's have said about him in the buildup to the fight. This might be the cherry on top to wake a beast that has appeared to be hibernating. "I've been here so many times," Mayweather said. "We've pushed and shoved and seen things get thrown. I'll just say a prayer for him. I'm not upset at all. But when it comes time for the fight I just do what I do."
May 4 just became that much more interesting.
Andreas Hale lives in the fight capital of the world and has covered the sport for mainstream media outlets such as MTV.com and Jay-Z's LifeandTimes.com, as well as die-hard websites including FightNews.com. You can follow him on Twitter (@AndreasHale).
- Sports & Recreation
- Floyd Mayweather
- Robert Guerrero