He hasn’t fought more than once a year since 2007. But as he prepares to fight Saul “Canelo” Alvarez just four months after his last bout, Floyd Mayweather Jr. can’t wait for the bell to ring.
“I feel a lot sharper,” Mayweather said Wednesday during his media day at his gym a few miles off the Strip. “It’s been one of my best training camps since probably 2005. I can’t wait to get out there and test my skills against this young guy.”
The young guy is Alvarez, who is 23 but has fought 43 times as a professional, going 42-0-1 with 30 knockouts in a career that started when he was 15. They will meet Sept. 14 at the MGM Grand Garden in a WBA/WBC junior middleweight unification bout.
It has been an intense camp for the 36-year-old Mayweather (44-0, 26 knockouts), who is coming off a unanimous decision over Robert Guerrero on May 4 at the MGM Grand. As is usually his routine, he has been sparring with bigger, stronger fighters.
“The first day back in training camp, I sparred seven rounds,” Mayweather said. “We got right back to boxing.”
This camp has provided little drama for Mayweather. Even the Carpenter 1 fire at Mount Charleston last month, which forced him to take his training runs to another location, didn’t faze him.
He has had no physical issues. His reunion with his father, Floyd Sr., as his head trainer no longer is news. Same for his uncle Roger’s secondary role as trainer. His incarceration at the Clark County Detention Center a year ago also is out of the news cycle.
In some ways, it has been downright boring — particularly by Mayweather’s standards. He goes to the gym, works out, returns to his Southern Highlands home, plays with his children and enjoys life.
One thing hasn’t changed, however. His single-minded focus on Alvarez shows Mayweather still refuses to underestimate his opponents.
He took Shane Mosley seriously. He didn’t look past Miguel Cotto. He was ready for Victor Ortiz and Guerrero. Now, he prepares for Alvarez, a young Mexican star.
“Canelo, he’s a good young fighter,” Mayweather said. “He’s earned his opportunity to face the best. He’s young. He’s strong. We’ll see how the fight plays itself out.
“But look at the opponents he faced. A lot of guys have gone the distance with him. And we’re not talking about guys on the ‘A’ list or the ‘B’ list. We’re talking about ‘D’ fighters and ‘C’ fighters who went into the eighth, ninth round and who hit him with numerous shots. I can come at a lot of different angles. I’ve got a lot more experience. It’s a different fight at this level.”
Floyd Mayweather Sr. said it has been business as usual during camp.
“He’s on top of his game right now,” the father said. “Floyd has handled the big punchers easily. He’s got the complete package working. He’s throwing a lot more punches and throwing them with more conviction.
“I’ve already got the game plan for him, and if he executes it, he’ll knock Canelo out.”
Roger Mayweather said Alvarez is in for a long night.
“The main thing is Floyd is more active, and he’s going to be sharper the night of the fight,” the uncle said. “What he’s been doing in the gym is amazing, and he’ll carry that into Sept. 14.”
Oscar De La Hoya, whose Golden Boy Promotions company handles Alvarez, on Tuesday predicted a victory for his fighter in less than eight rounds. Mayweather didn’t seem concerned.
“He’s entitled to his own opinion,” Mayweather said. “I fought Oscar De La Hoya, and I beat him (in 2007). My team is happy with my preparation for this fight, and most important, I’m happy.”
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.