Mayweather shows soft side before weigh-ins

Floyd Mayweather Jr. (left) and Victor Ortiz get physical after both weighed in Friday for Saturday night's big fight

LAS VEGAS – Floyd Mayweather Jr. has put his reputation as the self-styled baddest man in boxing on the line with a gushing monologue that revealed a surprising romantic side.

Mayweather was his typically controversial self as he geared up for his World Boxing Council welterweight title bout with champion Victor Ortiz, sparking an altercation with his opponent at Friday’s weigh-in at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

However, that followed an extraordinary exchange with reporters in which he admitted that the 2004 romantic epic “The Notebook,” based on Nicholas Sparks’ best-selling book of the same name, is his favorite movie.

“I really like ‘The Notebook,’ ” Mayweather said. “I mean, who don’t want to die next to your better half, holding hands. Die in your sleep next to the woman that you love, holding hands. That way, neither of you will ever be lonely. This is an amazing story. When you get old, what could be more beautiful than that? I feel like if I leave this earth and leave my better half, she is going to be lonely.

“If she leaves me then I am going to be lonely. I mean, what is the point of making all this money and [having] all this if you can’t enjoy it with your wife?”

Despite his success in the ring, where he has racked up a professional record of 41-0 and is firmly established as one of the two biggest attractions in the sport, Mayweather has a reputation for wild and unpredictable behavior. This summer he burned a $100 bill in an Atlanta nightclub and he is the defendant in six lawsuits. He also is facing several felony charges in a domestic violence case.

It seems, though, that his relationship with aspiring actress and model Chantal Jackson has served as a calming influence, and the 34-year-old Mayweather did nothing to dispel rumors that the pair had already wed in secret.

“Maybe,” said Mayweather, when asked if Jackson was already his wife. “Maybe. Certain things we keep in house, certain things we let you all know.

“Just because you have a lot of money doesn’t always make you happy. People can find success in different ways.”

Despite his newfound inner peace there is little chance of Mayweather going soft when it comes to boxing matters. As usual, he wasted no opportunity to try to get into his opponent’s head during the weigh-in, held in front of about 4,000 fans.

Mayweather pushed his face into Ortiz’s as they posed for photographers after the weigh-in, spouting a series of taunts at the 24-year-old titleholder, then grabbing Ortiz by the throat before they were separated.

A few moments earlier, Mayweather had weighed in at 146.5 lbs, a half-pound under the welterweight limit, with Ortiz coming in right on the money at 147.

Mayweather is an overwhelming favorite to rack up another victory, while the best chance of success for the big-punching Ortiz might be if he can land one huge, fight-changing shot.

Ortiz will receive $2 million in guaranteed money, plus a share of pay-per-view revenues, while Mayweather is guaranteed $25 million, and could make as much as $40 million.

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