Published February 28, 2012
NEW YORK – A trumpet blared a fanfare to introduce Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Miguel Cotto as fans at the Apollo Theater cheered the start of Tuesday's news conference to promote their May 5 fight in Las Vegas.
Still, there appeared to be far more interest in the fight that's not happening — a matchup between Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. Mayweather made clear that whether they meet in the ring is about the money — breaking down the shares in what could be boxing's richest fight ever.
"Just by speaking to Pacquiao on the phone, I mean, he's not one of the sharpest knives in the drawer," Mayweather said. "He faces Floyd Mayweather, he's not getting 50-50. Not at all. No one is getting 50-50."
While Mayweather urged Pacquiao should "take the test," a reference to his demand for random drug testing, payout appears to be the real sore point between Mayweather on one side, and Pacquiao and Top Rank promoter Bob Arum on the other. Arum has said testing is not an issue.
"Bob Arum likes to match Top Rank fighters with Top Rank fights. He keeps all the money in house," Mayweather said.
This dispute has spilled into federal court. Pacquiao sued Mayweather for defamation in December 2009, alleging Mayweather falsely accused him of using performance-enhancing drugs. Pacquiao spent 12 hours in Las Vegas last week giving depositions in the case.
"If I offered him $30 million, he should be happy," Mayweather said. "If I offered him $30 million and I didn't give money on the back end, why should I? He's with Arum right now, and they're having problems. It's obvious he must not be getting money on the back end."
Mayweather says he's not ducking Pacquiao, who stopped Cotto in the 12th round of their November 2009 fight.
"If I'm scared and I'm a coward, why do you guys want to see me fight?" he said. "Do I want the Pacquiao fight? Absolutely. But it's going to be hard to make the fight because Arum is worried about getting money."
As boxing news conferences go, this was fairly tame. In the second of a series that began Monday in Puerto Rico and end Thursday in Los Angeles, Mayweather and Cotto praised each other and said they respected each other. Video projections proclaimed them "Ring Kings" and "Living Legends." They sat in tall chairs of red velvet with lions on the arm rests.
Mayweather was the snazzier, in white jeans, a black turtleneck sweater, sunglasses. There was bling on his left wrist, and the rapper 50 Cent was part of his onstage entourage. Cotto, who got the bigger cheers, was in a black suit, black shirt and striped tie.
Mayweather defended his Feb. 14 tweet, in which he said: "Jeremy Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he's Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don't get the same praise."
Mayweather said most of the focus was on the second sentence and the first was largely ignored.
"Do I regret what I said? Absolutely not. I stand by what I said, and I meant what I said," Mayweather said.
Cotto, who has stopped all three of his opponents since losing a welterweight title fight to Pacquiao, thinks the 154-pound weight limit will favor him over Mayweather, who has boxed at lighter classes.
"Power is going to be on my side," Cotto said.
The fight, for the WBA super welterweight title, will take place in Las Vegas and will be televised by HBO pay-per-view. HBO plans a four-episode series leading up to the bout, with the first part to air April 14.
Mayweather is to begin a 90-day jail sentence on June 1 stemming from a domestic violence case.