CENTENNIAL PARK, ATLANTA — The promotional machine that is the Mayweather vs. Canelo press tour made its way into Atlanta yesterday afternoon for the fifth stop in an 11-city, two country press tour. Held in Centennial Olympic Park, the presser is one of the few times in recent memory that ATL has had star boxers of this magnitude come through to promote a pay-per-view. With that said, let’s get right to all the news from the event.
EARLY BIRD GETS THAT WORM
While I didn’t go as far as some early birds (two guys were at the park at 7 a.m. despite the 1 p.m. start time), it’s always prudent to be early rather than late. Getting there a little after 10 a.m., I got the chance to observe the layout and scope out the best position for photos. The good folks at Swanson Communications, who are behind Mayweather and Golden Boy’s marketing, were gracious enough to give me first dibs on the best seat in front row. After that, I chilled out at the local CNN Center across the street while the crew finished setting up.
YOU DIDN’T EXPECT IT TO START ON TIME, DID YOU?
One of the Showtime photographers laughed when I noted we were at 1 p.m. with Mayweather and Canelo nowhere in sight. I was informed that none of the press conferences thus far in NYC, DC, Grand Rapids and Chicago had started on time. Problem was, the Atlanta sun was unrelenting and there was zero shade. As the time went over an hour late, most of the crowd’s energy had dissipated into pools of sweat beneath them. To make matters worse, the crowd also started to lose numbers. At its peak, there were roughly about 1500-2000 people there. But you can bet a good chuck of them were there on their lunch break and had to head back to work once the schedule lagged.
We never got a reason for a delay, but it was sure a welcome relief when Richard Schaefer and Oscar De La Hoya hit the stage. Those two don’t seem like the type to sit and cook under the hot sun, and that theory proved correct when Canelo’s music hit.
TRAINING STARTS NOW
Even with his shirt on, Canelo already looks to be in great shape. While the catchweight of 152 pounds is still a concern, Canelo fans should feel optimistic in that he appears to be making sure that his camp will be focused on strategy and not training to make weight.
And we already know Mayweather stays in tremendous shape year round.
BRIEF BUT PROMISING WORDS
If you’ve seen the first press conference in NYC, you didn’t hear much different from Mayweather and Canelo. This fight sells itself as evidenced by the event selling out in Las Vegas in less than 24 hours, setting a live gate record and estimates of a $19 million dollar pull. Because of those reasons, there were no theatrics beyond the staredown.
What interested me the most was De La Hoya stating Atlanta was a city Golden Boy was looking to invest in. Outside of a horrid card a few years back with a washed Roy Jones Jr., Atlanta has not received a name fight going back to Laila Ali in 2004. The city is literally wide open. A guy like Adrien Broner could build a huge fanbase here with the crossover potential in this being a Hip-Hop mecca. Normally, I don’t get too optimistic about promoters doing anything right, but the fact Golden Boy even came here makes me hopeful for the future.
CANELO’S NOT AFRAID…YET
The vibe I got from Canelo is he’s not intimidated at all by Floyd’s record and the massive feel of this event. How that translates in the ring is a whole ‘nother discussion. I watched Robert Guerrero’s confidence literally sink deeper and deeper after every round in May. Will Canelo suffer the same fate? As Leonard Ellerbe pointed out during his time at the podium, “Floyd Mayweather is no Austin Trout.”
MAYWEATHER’S OPEN SECRET
It was a media madhouse for interviews afterward, but I was fortunate enough to get time with Mayweather as he signed autographs and took pics with fans (and some over-zealous media members). He had some interesting comments on some mythical fights between himself and guys like Paul Williams and Vernon Forrest (more on that discussion next week). However, the main question I had was about Canelo and his stamina issues. I asked point-blank if that weakness would be Canelo’s main downfall against him.
Mayweather didn’t have a vocal response, but gave me an illuminating answer anyway when he damn near busted out the Stevie J face. It was the slyest, most smug grin you could ever see, making it clear he plans on drowning Canelo in those late rounds when the Mexican prodigy starts to get tired.
All in all, yesterday’s public presser was the rare chance for Atlanta fans to see two of the biggest stars in boxing. There’s six cities left, and I urge you check out the Mayweather-Canelo train if it comes your way. You’ll probably even get a special guest or two. For us, it was former heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield.
I will leave you all with the below shot as one of the reasons I always say Corona Girls >>> Tecate Girls.