This afternoon at the ESPN Zone in Times
Square, a press conference was held for Saturday’s HBO bout between
undefeated “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather Jr. and DeMarcus “Chop Chop”
Corley. The fight, which will take place at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk
Hall, is Mayweather’s first test at 140 pounds. He is the current WBC
lightweight champion and #3 on Boxingtalk’s P4P list. In Corley,
Mayweather will face an experienced, well-rounded southpaw who has spent
his entire career as a jr. welterweight. Although Corley is no soft
touch, he looked flat in his last fight, losing a split decision and his
WBO belt to Zab Judah.
Before the press conference began, “Pretty Boy”—who has been billing
himself “The Truth” lately—was peppered with questions from the boxing
press. As expected, the Grand Rapids, Michigan native talked his fair
share of trash about his fellow pugilists (even dissing his #1 homey
from Brooklyn—“I ain’t no Zab Judah,” he declared more than once).
However, he was disappointingly blingless today; while he was decked out
in Sean Jean sweats and had diamond-encrusted gold dog tags hanging from
his neck, he looked naked without his mid-six figure, hubcap-size gold
and diamond watch.
Corley comes into this fight as a significant underdog, and Mayweather
wants to make sure his opponent knows his place. “I don’t want DeMarcus
to get in his mind that he’s Tarver and I’m Roy Jones,” Mayweather said.
“Cause he’s nothing like that. I don’t even want him to get that in the
back of his mind. Because that’s when he (Corley) gonna be him (a KO’d
Roy Jones) real quick.”
“Cause it’s like this,” Mayweather continued. “With all three of us
(Antonio Tarver, Roy Jones and Mayweather himself), we got somethin’ in
common. We all are Olympic medalists, and we all been world champions
more than once . . . I’m good at what I do. It’s got to be respected. I
may talk a lot of trash. They may say I’m cocky. They may say I’m
arrogant. Say what you want to say, Floyd Mayweather’s a winner. I know
how to win.”
Mayweather also expressed dismay about Bernard Hopkins being rated
higher than him on the “Ring Magazine” P4P list: “He been beat by the
guy who’s number one (formerly Roy Jones), and who the other guys he’s
lost to? Come on, man?! And what’s he at, one weight class? I turned pro
at 130, and when I fought for the title I fought the best guy who was at
130 (Genaro Hernandez, Diego Corrales). I ain’t get no tune up fights
when I went to 135—I fought the best guy at 135 (Jose Castillo)! And I’m
trying to find who the best guy at 140 is. They say his (Kostya Tszyu)
ankle hurt and he’s talking about retiring, so I’m not chasing him. I’m
tired of chasing these guys. Like I said before, I’m gonna fight fights
that make sense.”
So then what fights make sense for him, Boxingtalk asked the
27-year-old. Does he see welterweight champ (WBC, WBA, IBF) Cory Spinks
in his future?
“Cory Spinks is a good fighter but he’s scared of me,” Mayweather said.
“I know it. I know when I’ve got a fighter beat. He’s beat mentally. I
beat you mentally before I beat you physically.”
Is that a fight you really want, Boxingtalk asked once more?
“It’s not the fight he wants. You wanna see the reason why? He tryin’ to
get to that seven-figure level. My goal is a eight-figure level, for one
No one would describe this answer as committal. Whereas Cory Spinks
called Boxingtalk’s Greg Leon this morning and delivered a few
well-executed jabs at Mayweather. “He calls himself ‘The Truth’ but he’s
a pathological liar in the ring . . . he only fights true hamburgers.”
* * *
As Floyd Mayweather fielded more questions, Boxingtalk searched the room
for DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley, who was no where to be found. Obscured
by a herd of heavyset boxing writers surrounding the free buffet, sat a
lean, bald-headed man in a sharp white linen suit. He wore a sulky
expression. It was Washinton D.C.’s “Chop Chop” himself, sitting alone
with his manager Gary Lee. He seemed pleased to have a boxing writer pay
him more attention than the greasy ribs and overcooked chicken fouling
ZL: Across the room the boxing press is hanging on Floyd’s every word,
while you’re sitting here basically getting ignored. Does that make you
angry or give you motivation going into a fight like this?
DC: No, it doesn’t bother me very much. I’m a calm and relaxed person.
I’m pretty much laid back. Come fight time, everybody’ll see what I can
ZL: Do you think Mayweather’s ever experienced the power that you’re
going to bring as a genuine 140-pounder. Do those five pounds you have
on him naturally make a world of difference?
DC: Not only the five-pound difference. My hand-speed is going to be
pretty much fast as Floyd’s, and my punching power.
ZL: You must be excited to get a second chance on the big stage. I know
you must have been disappointed with the Zab Judah fight, and here
you’ve got a chance to really vindicate yourself.
DC: Yeah, I was pretty much disappointed, but in life you go through
things that make you better. And like God say, before he can take you
forward, he have to take you backwards. And me losing that fight with
Zab made me a better fighter, gave me a chance to look at life better,
and I got a better offer with Floyd.
ZL: What are some of the things that you learned coming off the Zab
Judah fight, when you analyzed it?
DC: I mean, I analyzed it. And my strategy for that fight was planned
and created by my trainer. I went out there and done what my trainer
wanted me to do. And we fought the way he wanted me to fight for that.
But we looked at it and the strategy was wrong for that fight. I’m the
champion, I shouldn’t have been going in there fighting as the
challenger. I was chasing him around and trying to press the fight. I
should have had him coming to me. (Corley now works with Don Turner. His
former trainer was Bernard Roach.)
ZL: Are you the type of fighter who likes to do his research and watch a
lot of tape?
DC: I like to watch the person I am going to fight. But as far as going
back and watching a lot of fighters, no. I watch the greatest
pound-for-pound, Sugar Ray Robinson. I like that and seen the way he
knocks fighters out going backward, going forward. He had tremendous
ZL: Is he probably the one fighter you like to study most?
DC: No, I like to study Marvin Hagler. Cause he’s a southpaw.
ZL: Do you see any flaws in Floyd’s style that you want to exploit?
DC: Yeah, we seen a whole lot of mistakes that he makes. He reaches with
the right hand. He jumps in. He pulls back with his hands down. He tries
to pop-shot you with the shoulder. And he likes to fight off the ropes.
ZL: So, for a serious question, what are you going to be wearing in the
ring? (Corley designs his own boxing apparel.)
DC: You gotta wait till Saturday. I mean, I have ideas in my head. I
already have the uniform designed for the next fight. After we beat
Floyd, then we’ll go to the table and have them start putting the next
one (fight) together.
ZL: I heard you design women’s lingerie and clothes, as well as men’s
fashions. What kind of stuff do you like to design?
DC: I like to design boxing apparel. This suit I have on now, I designed
it. I had them make it for me.
ZL: You wear it well. Best of luck on Saturday.
DC: Thank you.