(Photo credit: Esther Lin/Showtime) LAS VEGAS (Sept. 9, 2015) – Floyd Mayweather and Andre Berto participated in the final press conference for “HIGH STAKES: Mayweather vs. Berto” on Wednesday at the David Copperfield Theatre at the MGM Grand ahead of their major showdown taking place this Saturday, Sept. 12 live on SHOWTIME PPV (8 p.m. E/5 p.m. PT) from the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
In what is expected to be the final fight of his illustrious 19-year career, boxing superstar and pound-for-pound king Mayweather (48-0, 26 KOs) will put his undefeated record and WBC and WBA Welterweight World Championships on the line when he faces power-punching, two-time welterweight world champion Berto (30-3, 23 KOs). Three days before they meet in the ring, the two fighters and their camps were business-like and confident as they took their turns at the podium.
Here is what the fighters and executives had to say Wednesday:
“We’ve been here so many times. I know talking doesn’t win fights. I know trainers don’t win fights. It comes down to the two competitors. I’m always prepared, physically and mentally. We have a remarkable game plan.
“I want to thank everyone that has covered this event and my career over 19 years. Whether it was a good story or a bad story, you guys wrote about me and kept me relevant. That’s how I was able to do record breaking numbers.
“Training camp was unbelievable, like always. I was asked if I’d be able to get in top condition after the Pacquaio fight and I absolutely did. No matter who I chose, the critics would have something to say.
“I know what it takes for a fight at this magnitude. No matter what anyone says, it comes down to the two competitors and I know what I can do. One thing I can do, I can fight.
“When we talk about landing the highest percentage, I’m that guy. When we talk about doing the highest gate or PPV, I’m that guy.
“I can’t say I’m going out 49-0 because you can’t overlook anyone.
“Every fight played a major key. It’s not just the intelligence; it’s the sharp mind, the good chin, the tremendous heart. I never overlooked an opponent. I trained for every fighter the same way, by pushing myself. I believe in my skills and I believe in my talent. I’ve been in there with the best, and the results are always the same.
“You have fighters that may be faster than me, there are fighters that may hit harder than me, you have fighters who are very athletic, but you don’t have a fighter who can make adjustments like me. You don’t have fighters that can be on my level mentally.
“It’s never personal for me, it’s always business. Everyone fights for what they fight for. My thing is this; I keep my eyes on the prize. I don’t focus on things outside the ring. I focus on the guy in front of me.
“You get to where you get to by staying focused. My dream was to be the best. No matter what happens Saturday, when it comes to boxing, I’m the best at this.
“Some guys wanted to rush me, well what’s plan B? Pacquiao could set traps for other fighters, but he couldn’t set traps for Floyd Mayweather. You need a plan A, a plan B and a plan C. I’ve never beaten a fighter with my plan A.
“Berto you’ve had a hell of a career. You’re a tough fighter and competitor. It’s obvious you’ve done something right. My thing is, just put guys in front of me, and we’ll rate him after they face me.
“To be in the sport of boxing and make upwards of $800 million, my team has done their job. I’ve never focused on things on the outside. I’ve never put anything before boxing. At 4:30 in the morning when my opponent is sleeping, I’m working. I don’t want to leave anything in this sport.
“No fighter in history has been in bigger fights than me. No fighter in history has beat more champions than I’ve beat. But it’s not over yet. I’m going to push myself. I can go to places where no fighter can go mentally.
“The sport of boxing needs this. Berto is a tough, young, hungry fighter and that’s what we need to bring the best out of us. I’m going to come forward and be Floyd Mayweather. Trainers and fighters try to find ways to throw fighters off, but I know what to do when it’s all said and done.
“I want my legacy to be of a remarkable fighter inside the ring and a great businessman outside of it.
“We’re going for the knockout. I’m pretty sure he’s going for the knockout. It’s going to be something special.”
“It’s funny, when it comes to the media and critics. They’re not in that gym working and knowing the feeling of being a fighter. They don’t know the miles we run and the sacrifices that we have to make to become a world champion or come up to this level of fight.
“This camp has been intense. It has definitely taken me up to levels that I’ve never achieved. We’ve left no stone unturned, I’ve busted my ass for the last couple months.
“Anybody that steps in the ring, I have to respect. When it’s time to fight, I’m coming for my respect. Saturday night is going to be a good one I promise you.
“I’ve given my whole life to this sport. I’ve come in and I’ve entertained the people. That’s what I do. That’s why I came into this game. I’ve been counted out from day one coming from where I come from.
“I’m just coming for my respect. I’m coming for everything that I deserve.
“At the end of the day, I have to be able to take my game to a whole other level. Sometimes you need that opponent to get you to that point, and Floyd is the one.
“He has a great IQ, but one shot can change it all.
“You can be smart, you can be fast, but this is boxing.
“Floyd is sharp of course, but I have certain tools that I believe will make it a real difficult Saturday night. We’re going for the knockout. You definitely don’t want to miss it.
“This is huge for Haiti. The country of Haiti is just elated right now and Saturday night they will definitely be in the building. Saturday night will be historical for the country. This is the first time that an individual has been on this level to represent the country.
FLOYD MAYWEATHER SR., Mayweather’s Father & Trainer
“I see a real fight on Saturday. Don’t get me wrong because I don’t know what’s going on but I really think Floyd is coming to fight.
“I know Berto’s coming to fight. One thing I’ve seen from Berto is that he has no defense – and he’s messing with a defensive whiz.
“I definitely think Floyd will trap him somewhere along the way.
“Floyd respects Berto and is not overlooking him, but he might just stop him, it’s very possible.’’
VIRGIL HUNTER, Berto’s Trainer
“There are some things that a lot of people don’t understand. When you have two guys who were born in situations where they try to prove who the king of the school is, you get some real fights.
“I think about Joe Frazier in the “Thrilla in Manila”, when people thought he was done, but he fought over his head. Does Andre Berto have that capability? Yes, of course he does. We see it all the time in sports. There are nights when it just happens. Andre Berto is going to take it over his head and that’s what he intends to do and what he has to do.
“We can’t match his IQ, but there are other elements that make a successful fight. There is something brewing in the air. I’ve been around a long time and I know when something is personal. You better tell your people to tune-in for this fight. Trust me; it’s going to be a rumble.
“I’ve seen Floyd’s Plan B. I’ve seen him go to war. I’ve seen him rumble with guys bigger than him. I’m not going to be swayed by his skill. This fight is going to be fought from way deep down.”
LEONARD ELLERBE, CEO of Mayweather Promotions
“We are thrilled that this fight night will be filled with high stakes matchups all night. We have a tremendous fight card. Of course, the main event has the highest stakes of them all as Andre Berto will be taking on the undefeated Floyd Mayweather.”
STEPHEN ESPINOZA, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports
“Six fights in 30 months. Floyd, they said you wouldn’t do it, they said you couldn’t do it and once again you proved them wrong. The first five fights yielded nearly 10 million PPV buys, $750 million in PPV receipts and it’s all led here to fight number six, fight number 49.
“19 years undefeated, 17 consecutive years as world champion, 16 consecutive opponents who are former or current champions. On Saturday night none of that matters. Andre Berto isn’t fighting a legacy or a record book or history, he’s fighting a man, and men can lose.
“The conventional wisdom is that Floyd is going to win this fight, but conventional wisdom said that the first Maidana fight would be easy for Floyd. It said Canelo would be Floyd’s toughest challenger and it said Pacquiao could beat Mayweather. It didn’t account for Hasim Rahman or Buster Douglas and it certainly won’t account for Andre Berto’s heart or desire to rewrite boxing history on Saturday night.
“Like you, I don’t know what will happen on Saturday night. I do know that Berto is more athletic than any fighter Floyd has fought recently. One thing I do know, it’s not going to be boring. When you have fighters like our entire PPV card has, it’s a night not to be missed.”
RICHARD STURM, President of Entertainment & Sports for MGM Resorts International
“We’re thrilled to be a part of this championship fight between Mayweather and Berto that will kick off a sensational fall lineup of entertainment at MGM. We all look forward to history as Floyd looks to end his career at 49-0 and equal the record of Rocky Marciano that has stood since September 1955.
“We are pleased to welcome back Andre Berto. Berto will take on one of the sport’s greatest champions and there is no doubt he will be prepared for the challenge.”
BOB BENNETT, President of the Nevada State Athletic Comission
“There is no doubt that any commission in the world would be elated to have this fight, just like we are. We’re very appreciative of Floyd Mayweather for having this show in our backyard. The NSAC actually commissioned Floyd’s first fight 19 years ago and to date we have regulated 25 out of 49 of Floyd’s fights come this Saturday night when he tries to tie Rocky Marciano’s record.
“It’s been our honor and privilege to regulate these fights. Our officials spend a lot of time in training and we’re ready to go to work come Saturday night.”