(Photo credit: Esther Lin/Showtime) LOS ANGELES (July 3, 2013) – “THE ONE: MAYWEATHER VS. CANELO” press tour came to a spectacular conclusion Tuesday night before 10,000 energetic and enthusiastic fans at Nokia Plaza at L.A. LIVE.
Tempers didn’t exactly flare between Floyd Mayweather, Canelo Alvarez and their camps during the lively festivities that included loud music, a mariachi band and colorful streamers shot into the air, but, for the first time during the enormously successful nine-day, 10-city tour, the respective teams were less than completely complimentary of each other on stage.
Golden Boy President Oscar De La Hoya, who was seated next to Canelo at the dais, told the pro-Canelo crowd that he was “convinced Canelo will win.” Fans, who had chanted “Ca-nel-o” throughout, often drowning out the speakers, erupted in cheers. Moments earlier, De La Hoya said he “believed this event will break all the (pay-per-view) records” and that “this will be the best fight in the history of the sport.”
When it was his turn to speak, Canelo reiterated what he had said throughout the tour, that he fully appreciated the fans’ support, that this was “his time and we’re going to win this together.”
Mayweather, who took a verbal shot at De La Hoya at the podium while comparing his (Mayweather’s) resume to Canelo’s, told reporters afterward that “this was the only time on the press tour that there was trash talk.”
“They never said a word in the first nine cities,’’ Mayweather said. “They were totally quiet. Now, all of a sudden we’re in L.A. and they’re talking big like, Canelo is the king. Well, as you saw, if you shoot shots at me, I’ll shoot shots back. How you react to me is how I’ll react to you. You show me respect, I show you respect.
“Every time they give a fighter a huge buildup, I bring them down. It’s so crazy. Canelo is a great, young, strong champion, but he’s never fought on pay-per-view unless he’s been on one of my undercards. I’ve been here before, done it all for 17 years. Does he belong in the ring with me? We’ll just have to see, but I haven’t seen it yet.
“I’m young, strong and rich. He may be number one in his division, but I’m number one in boxing. You’ll see on September 14.”
Mayweather was joined on stage by his mother and three of his young children. “Tonight was great,” he said. “The atmosphere here in Los Angeles was amazing, but this was also a special night for me because it was the first time my mother and children were up here with me.
“My mother, she’s a brilliant person. Today, I was going to write her a one million dollar check. Then, I got to thinking, what she’s given to me, my skills, my life, well I realized what she’s done for me is priceless. A one million dollar check would be a start, but could not in any way repay her.”
Mayweather said he had been playing a lot of basketball on the tour and that he is in great physical condition, but that he’s “in basketball shape, not boxing shape. That comes soon. It’s time to get to work.”
Floyd also said that his company, Mayweather Promotions, would make a donation to the families of the firefighters who were killed by the devastating wildfires near Phoenix earlier this week.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the people who lost their lives in those fires,” he said. “This was a terribly tragedy and everyone needs to support them. Never take anything for granted.”
Canelo was thrilled to be part of the unprecedented press tour. “This is my job and I enjoyed every moment of it,” he said. “Every city was different, but the atmosphere was always the same. I was so impressed with all the fans in all the cities, especially the ones in Chicago, Mexico City, San Antonio and tonight in Los Angeles. I appreciate all the fans everywhere.”
In Los Angeles, not unlike most of the other cities on the tour, Canelo appeared to be the crowd favorite.
“Canelo-Mania,” as Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer put it, “had hit the United States. I’ve seen it across the nation, in Mexico and in the U.S.,” said Schaefer, who emceed Tuesday’s proceedings. “We had 100,000 fans come out for the press conferences. Based on what we know and the monies generated already, I’m convinced this fight on September 14 is The ONE to break the pay-per-view record (2.5 million buys, set by Mayweather-De La Hoya in 2007).”
“Was I more popular on the tour?” Canelo replied in response to a question during a roundtable session with the media before the outdoor press conference. “It’s not for me to say. It’s up to you to decide.”
As for who has more to lose on Sept. 14, Canelo said, “I don’t know who does, but I’m not going to lose. This is the fight the fans wanted to see. I’ll be ready whether and I have to box and move, or stand and slug. Mayweather is a very difficult fighter, one of the best, and he has a very difficult style.
“We plan to study a lot of tape, especially his first fight with Jose Luis Castillo, who gave him the most problems. I know I haven’t reached my peak yet and that I still have a lot to learn, but I wish it was September 14 already. It’s an honor for me to be fighting on such an important weekend like Mexican Independence Day.”
Canelo didn’t think his weight fluctuated much during the sometimes exhausting tour. “I was able to run on a treadmill at the hotel every couple days,” he said. “I think my weight today is about what it was when we started.”
The freckle-faced, red-haired Canelo, who turns 23 on July 18, was scheduled to fly to Guadalajara Wednesday morning. He will spend a few days at home with his family before returning to Los Angeles early next week where he will finalize preparations for training camp which will take place in the mountains near Big Bear, Calif.
The top priority on his immediate agenda, however, Canelo says is “sleep. That’s the first thing I’ll do.” he said.
“THE ONE: MAYWEATHER VS. CANELO,” a 12-round fight for Canelo’s WBC, WBA and Ring Magazine Super Welterweight World Championships and Mayweather’s WBA Super Welterweight Super World Championship taking place Saturday, Sept. 14 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, is promoted by Mayweather Promotions, Golden Boy Promotions and Canelo Promotions and sponsored by Corona, O’Reilly Auto Parts and Valvoline. The mega-event will be produced and distributed live by SHOWTIME PPV® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. The event can be heard in Spanish using secondary audio programming (SAP).
Less than 24 hours after going on sale on June 25, the event was sold out, but six MGM Resorts properties will host live closed circuit telecasts of “THE ONE.” Properties showcasing the event include ARIA, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Monte Carlo and New York-New York. General admission tickets for the closed circuit telecasts are priced at $100, not including handling fees, and are available for purchase at each individual property’s box office outlets and also are available for purchase by phone with a major credit card at 866-799-7711. Closed circuit ticket sales are limited to eight (8) per person. Tickets also are available through Ticketmaster by calling (800) 745-3000 or online at www.ticketmaster.com.