By Matt Citak
The time has finally come. This Saturday night, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, one of the most anticipated boxing matches in recent memory will take place. Floyd Mayweather and his perfect 49-0 record will come out of retirement to take on UFC star Conor McGregor, who will be making his professional boxing debut.
While rumors of this battle began swirling over a year ago, it was not made official until the two fighters announced the epic showdown via Twitter on June 14, just over two months before the fight. That may not sound like a lot of time for a 40-year-old boxer to prepare for a match, but the five-division world champion said that’s all the time he needs.
“I don’t really know how long I’ve really been training for this fight,” Mayweather said. “I want to probably say eight weeks, nine weeks.”
Mayweather has not boxed competitively since September 2015, when he shut down Andre Berto over 12 rounds. However rust has never been an issue for the man who has won fifteen world titles, as he is known for staying in phenomenal shape all the time, not just getting into great shape when training begins.
“Money” Mayweather is not the biggest boxer out there, as he comes in at 5-foot-8 and has always weighed around 150-pounds throughout his career. But what he may lack in size, he more than makes up for in talent. Mayweather is a master inside the ring, and it would be difficult to argue with the notion that he is the best pound-for-pound boxer of his generation.
“You know I believe in skills pays the bills,” said the undefeated champion. “It’s not really about your size. If you’ve got skills, you’re going to be able to get over the hump.”
Some people question why Mayweather would come out of retirement almost two years after his last fight to take on a guy only known for his accomplishments inside the MMA octagon. But to the man who held five world titles at one time, the answer is quite simple.
“What motivates Floyd Mayweather? The money,” the founder of Mayweather Promotions said with a chuckle. “I like making the money because I know where to put the money at: the bills. The most important thing is taking care of the bills every month. That’s the most important thing.”
Mayweather and McGregor are both expected to take home quite a large chunk of money for Saturday’s fight, which is expected to challenge the historical super fight of Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao in total revenue. But after all of the trash talking that has gone on between the two fighters over the last few months, there is more at stake than just money.
Trash talking is nothing new for Mayweather, who has been known to call out his opponents throughout his entire career. However the attention this fight has drawn seems to be unlike any other in recent years.
“You’ll never know which Floyd Mayweather you’re going to get,” Mayweather said. “Just my aura. My swag. Just everything. Everything wrapped in one. It’s just me being me. Because when Conor McGregor does it, they say he’s very confident. When I do it, they say I’m cocky.”
There is no denying the significance and hype of this weekend’s legendary showdown. But don’t take it from me. Listen to the champion himself: “This fight is colossal. It’s huge.”
Matt Citak is a producer for CBS Local Sports and a proud Vanderbilt alum. Follow him on Twitter or send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.