Floyd Mayweather says he is ready for “anything and everything” thrown at him in the headline event at the inaugural Global Titans Dubai on Saturday, with the American promising to put on a show in his exhibition boxing bout against Don Moore.
The former five-weight world champion, who retired undefeated from professional boxing in 2017 with a 50-0 record, takes on his former sparring partner at the top of the card on the Burj Al Arab helipad.
Entitled “The Showcase in the Skies of Dubai” and kick-starting the first Global Titans Fight Series, it is billed as the world’s first NFT (non-fungible token) pay-per-view sports event. The show features four boxing bouts in all, including UFC great Anderson Silva against UAE Warriors lightweight champion Bruno Machado.
In 42-year-old Moore, Mayweather faces an unbeaten rival, although his fellow American fought professionally only 19 times (18-0-1) – and not against the same calibre of opponent. His most recent pro bout took place in 2016.
However, Moore should be aware of what he is up against on Saturday: having previous sparred with Mayweather, beginning in 2012, he was also formerly coached by his uncle, Roger Mayweather.
On Wednesday, in a press conference at Dubai Sports Council, Mayweather was asked what challenged he expected from Moore, replying: “There’s a major difference between boxing inside a boxing gym and boxing under the lights. Because a lot of the times you have guys that can do great in a boxing gym, but don’t do great under the lights. And vice versa. That’s how it works.
“But Don’s a hell of a fighter. He’s undefeated for a reason, like myself. He hasn’t had as many fights as I’ve had because he hasn’t had the opportunity. But somebody has got to give him the opportunity to display his skills and show his talent also.
“We’ve worked together numerous times, so we said, ‘Let’s take it under the lights now’. So we decided to come here. And Saturday we’re both going to go out there and do what we have to do.”
While Mayweather, 45, conceded he was not in the shape that helped carve his Hall of Fame career – his most recent pro appearance came against crossover UFC star Conor McGregor in August 2017 - he said: “I just honestly feel that when I was born, this was for me since the beginning. They say if you want be ready, you have to stay ready. So I’m always ready. From the starting deal to the end, I’m always ready to go.
“And I’m pretty sure all these guys [on the card] are ready to go. It’s not just about me and Anderson Silva. Everybody has worked extremely hard; all fighters have pushed their bodies to the limit to get to this point. So everybody’s here for a reason.
“I don’t want to say I’m in tip-top condition, but I’m in good condition. It’s not like where I’m getting ready for a Manny Pacquiao, or a [Saul] Canelo Alvarez or a Miguel Cotto. Don is undefeated for a reason also. So I’m pretty sure he has a great game plan.
“But I’ve seen everything [in my career]. I haven’t seen Don under the lights, but I’ve prepared myself for any- and everything that’s going to come my way.”
During a pro career that began in 1996 and boasted 15 world titles in five weights, Mayweather was involved in some of the highest-profile bouts in boxing history. His 2015 clash with Pacquiao, from which he triumphed by unanimous decision, sits still as the sport’s most lucrative fight of all-time.
On Saturday, Mayweather will fight Moore in front of 40 spectators on the helipad, but said that would not negatively affect his motivation going into the contest.
“Absolutely not,” he said. “I’m a fighter. I was born a fighter; I’ll die a fighter. Fighting’s want to do.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s when I fought in front of 60,000 or fighting in front of six. I’m always going to go out there and display my skills and give the people a show – that’s what the people want. So I’m going to give the people what they want to see.”
Mayweather said he had at least two more exhibition bouts planned - in 2018, he fought Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa and then last year YouTuber Logan Paul, winning both – with the first to be staged once more in Japan. He said the other would be “probably in Dubai again”.
Meanwhile, Moore said: “I have great talent; Floyd has great talent. We’re both undefeated fighters. I’ve been in the ring with him before numerous times. I have the blueprint that nobody’s seen before, that Roger prepared me for, and [my current] coach prepared me for. So I just have to be there. The best wants to impress.”