Mayweather to Maidana: “We’re playing chess, not checkers”

Floyd Mayweather Jr. had a message for Marcos Maidana — be prepared to think once inside the ring at the MGM Grand Garden on May 3.

“To me, the sport of boxing is like a game of chess,” Mayweather said Tuesday at media day at his gym off Spring Mountain Road. “Every move has to be thought of. You don’t just make the move.

“In checkers, you can make reckless moves. In chess, you take your time and your moves are thought about. You study the board before you make your move. It’s the same in boxing. Before I make a move, I study my opponent and anticipate what he’s going to do before I make my move.”

Along with light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins, Mayweather, the reigning World Boxing Council welterweight champ, is one of the grandmasters of boxing. He is constantly setting traps for his opponents, luring them in, then capitalizing on their mistakes. It’s a strategy that has made him 45-0 in his career with 26 knockouts.

As for how he’ll deal with Maidana, the World Boxing Association champ at 147 pounds who is 35-3 with 31 KOs, Mayweather, a 13-1 betting favorite, will be prepared and be ready to adjust.

“We had seven different sparring partners for this training camp, so we don’t know what style Maidana is going to bring,” he said. “When I fight, I fight the fighter. The same way you dish it out, you have to be able to take it. This is a give-and-take kind of sport.

“It’s about experience, being around the sport so long. This is what I’ve done my whole life. I’m able to make adjustments, just like I showed you in the Shane Mosley fight, just like I showed you in the Zab Judah fight. In the blink of an eye, I can make adjustments.”

Mayweather said he’s not sure who Maidana reminds him of.

“I can’t really say because I haven’t fought Maidana yet,” he said. “After I fight him, I can tell you who he reminds me of. I watched Maidana against Adrien Broner, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to fight me the same way because styles make fights.

“Me and Amir Khan are two totally different fighters. I like to take my time and be smart. Amir Khan is a straight-ahead kind of guy who can sometimes be reckless. It’s not always about hand speed. Adrien Broner’s a fast fighter. A lot of it is about timing. That’s the good thing about me. I have real good timing.”

As always, Mayweather has kept himself in tremendous condition. His father and lead trainer, Floyd Sr., said throughout the two months of preparation for Maidana, he could recall just one day where his son had an off-day.

“But the next day, he was back on track as if the day before never happened,” Floyd Sr. said.

Mayweather said with age comes wisdom, and at age 37 he understands his body’s limits and he knows when to step on the accelerator and when to back off. He also understands what it takes to get ready for a fight, and he never shirks his responsibilities to that end.

“I think I’m a little smarter,” he said. “I don’t have to run every single day. I don’t have to train every single day. I can take a day off if I need to and let my body recover. But I feel good. Training camp has been tremendous. I’m happy. My father’s happy. My team is happy. We’re ready to go out there and do what we do best, which is take our time and go out there and box.”

Mayweather said he still hasn’t fought the perfect fight, though many will argue his performance Sept. 14 against Canelo Alvarez was as close to perfect as it gets in boxing, judge C.J. Ross scoring the fight a draw aside.

“In 18 years, I haven’t brought my best out,” he said. “We’ll have to see this fight.

And he’ll be setting plenty of traps for Maidana along the way, just like any chess grandmaster would do.

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.

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