If the new Mayweather is a kinder and gentler sort outside the ring, he has changed some inside, too. His fights sometimes tended to become tedious affairs as he sought to win without getting hit, but in recent years he has changed his style somewhat and has become more aggressive and flat-footed.
It showed on Monday, as he walked two sparring partners across the ring, banging away with left hooks and right hands while keeping up a steady stream of chatter. The short time between fights should benefit Mayweather at his age, and he is already inside the 152-pound (69kg) catchweight.
“I got back into it so quick that I’m still sharp,” he said. “I feel good, real good.”
Boxing fans should feel good, too, that Mayweather is taking on Alvarez, a 23-year-old who is unbeaten in 42 fights and holds a piece of the 154-pound title. Mayweather has been criticized in the past for hand-picking his opponents and refusing to fight Manny Pacquiao, but Alvarez is about as dangerous a fight as any he could take on at this stage of his career.
Not that Mayweather will acknowledge any such thing. Icing his sometimes brittle hands while sitting in a dressing room after his workout, he questioned the quality of Alvarez’s opponents, and said it was just another fight to him.
Another fight and another US$40 million to US$50 million payout that will cement his reign this year as the highest-paid athlete in the world.
As for Pacquiao and the fight that will likely now never happen?
“I don’t even know who that is,” Mayweather said.