CHICAGO (FAXX/jGLi) – Undefeated pound-for-pound world boxing champion Floyd “The Money” Mayweather tried to whip up a storm into Chicago-leg of his traveling circus to hype his September 14 bout dubbed “The One” against another undefeated baby-face Mexican star and Super Welterweight World Champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. But he found himself being bitten by a bug that swept the city after its own Chicago Blackhawks national hockey team re-captured the Stanley Cup championship in four years.
A game but humbled Mayweather could only mutter a brief congratulatory quip to a local ABC7 TV news reporter, who asked him if he followed the Blackhawks improbable playoff quest, by admitting he hardly followed the playoff because “I was busy but I’m happy for them.”
Before some of the fans, who waited early in the morning to watch the arrival of Mayweather and Alvarez, a native of Guadalajara, Mexico, in the evening, promoter Oscar de la Hoya whetted their appetite by greeting them in Spanish and thanking them for their warm reception.
De la Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions is assisting the Mayweather Promotions in producing a mega-blockbuster bout that would largely benefit Mayweather both as a boxer and a promoter.
In a promotional stunt that mimicked a grand entrance during a boxing main event, Alvarez entered the full-3,500 capacity Chicago Theater at 125 North State, Chicago, Illinois after 6 p.m. to the chants of a highly partisan Latino crown, “Canelo,” “Canelo,” “Canelo”!
The crowd saved their cheers for the entrance of Mayweather, followed by his towering bodyguards in black shirts emblazoned with “TMT” (The Money Team). Mayweather was wearing a white shirt with a light grey jacket and TMT cap. His shirt revealed his glittering diamond necklace and wristwatch that fortunately were not snatched away from him by an uncontrollable shrieking mob, who greeted him as he inched his way up the theater stage as if he was climbing a ring.
WILL CANELO BE THE ONE?
Introduced as the “one, the highest paid, the one in a generation, maybe one in a lifetime, he (Mayweather) is one with grand style thrust in showbiz and everything else. But will he be the one at the end of September 14 or will there be a next one, will there be a new one, Canelo Alvarez, (who) will he be the one, the next champion Mexico waiting to beat Mayweather?
“Canelo is younger one, bigger one, stronger one. One thing I know, all of us will be watching who will be the one on Sept. 14.”
Alvarez pumped up the crowd in Spanish by saying, “I’m ready for the big challenges and now I have to prove it against Floyd Mayweather on September 14. I said I wanted to fight the best and here I am in front of the best pound-for-pound fighter, who I respect for his achievements. But on September 14, I will write a new page in boxing history because I am going to be victorious. This fight is for all of my fans, my family and, of course, for Mexico because we’re fighting on the weekend of Mexico’s independence. I’ve waited so long for this and my only option is to win!”
During his greetings, when Mayweather remarked, “Hard work,” repeatedly, the fans answered, “Dedication!”
At the press conference that followed, Mayweather told the media that outside the ring, his biggest accomplishments are his “four beautiful grown and healthy children. I am comfortable. I am happy and blessed. But I can’t do it without you guys.”
When asked the difference between a Mayweather of six years ago in 2007 and the Mayweather of today, Mayweather said, “I’m a mentally grown up person. I now have a leader (an adviser he calls his brother) next to me to take care of my day-to-day business and who tells me right from wrong. We love each other. But only the strongest survive.”
NO PACQUIAO QUESTION, PLEASE
When this reporter asked Mayweather if Filipino world champion Manny Pacquiao can mount a comeback, he waived the question away, saying, “back off, back off.”
Homer D. Sayson, who covers sports events for Philboxing.com, and who was also in the press conference, told this reporter that even Golden Boy’s CEO Richard Schaeffer evaded his question when he floated the name of Pacquiao. “They don’t want to answer anything about Manny (Pacquiao).”
When asked by this reporter if he was predicting a knockout or a knockdown against the 22-year-old Mexican brawler 14 years his junior, the 36-year-old Mayweather moved his head sideways without comment. The same question posed by this reporter to the Spanish-speaking Alvarez, who understands English, managed with snatches of “no knockout or knockdown but we will win.”
When asked by this reporter if this is his biggest fight, the Grand Rapids, Michigan native said, “I can’t be able to say this is my biggest fight. All my fights have grown big. I can’t say this is my biggest fight.”
When asked why he missed the Blackhawks playoff, Mayweather said, “I’ve been busy to build a pay-per-view fight. I was busy traveling with my daughter. Jet skiing, swimming in the ocean, water skiing and bike riding.”
For the rest of the night, both boxers were signing away autographs from fans, mostly boxing gloves, oversized posters and other personal stuff, including a white-colored iPhone.
Eight-time, five-division World Champion Mayweather at 44-0-0 (26 knockout) will be moving up in weight from welterweight while super welterweight Alvarez (42-0-1 (draw)-30 knockouts will be moving down to 152 pounds with Alvarez’ WBA and WBC titles at stake.
On Friday, June 28, the Blackhawks had a parade around the city before tens of thousands of fans.
Meanwhile the Mayweather-Alvarez circus left town and moved to Atlanta, Georgia on Thursday, June 27, and to Miami, Florida on Friday the following day and the rest of the 11-city, two-country tour.
FACE OFF EVENT: Eight-time, five-division world champion Floyd “Money” Mayweather (left) stands beside reigning super welterweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez Wednesday, June 26, in front of thousands of predominantly Alvarez fans at the Chicago Theater in downtown Chicago, Illinois in their Chicago leg of their 11-city, two-country tour promoting their bout dubbed as “The One” on September 14 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada that puts the Alvarez’s WBA, WBC titles up for grabs for Mayweather. (FAXX/jGLi Photo by Joseph G. Lariosa)
iPHONE AUTOGRAPH: Eight-time, five-division world champion Floyd “Money” Mayweather asks a fan if he wants him to autograph the back of the iPhone during their Chicago-leg of their 11-city, two-country tour on Wednesday, June 26, inside the Chicago Theater in downtown Chicago, Illinois as members of TMT (The Money Team) look on. The tour is part of the promotion to hype the bout dubbed as “The One” on September 14 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada that stakes the Alvarez’ WBA, WBC super welterweight championship belts on the line against Mayweather. (FAXX/jGLi Photo by Joseph G. Lariosa)