LAS VEGAS — Floyd Mayweather often says boos don’t bother him. All he hears is the ch-ching of a cash register.
Surely then Mayweather heard a gold mine during Friday afternoon’s weigh-in at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, where a standing-room-only crowd of more than 6,000 fans made no secret of their antipathy for the most divisive figure in boxing today.
Hours after it was announced Mayweather will earn at least $32 million for Saturday’s super welterweight title fight — a guaranteed figure expected to swell to more than $50 million after the pay-per-view receipts are counted — the undefeated 35-year-old tipped the scales at a career-high 151 pounds. Cotto weighed in at 154, coming in right at the division limit.
The tense staredown that followed seemed to stretch into eternity, with Mayweather chomping on gum centimeters from Cotto’s emotionless face, surrounded by a maelstrom of team members and hangers-on. And then Floyd started talking.
“I just told him, ‘When you’re facing Floyd Mayweather, you’re facing the best,’” said Mayweather, a 7.5-to-1 favorite according to the latest odds at the MGM Grand sports book. “I don’t feel like I’m just any ordinary opponent and I don’t want him thinking I’m just an ordinary opponent.”
Said Cotto: “I’m here to fight. If he wants to run, I’m ready for that. If he wants to face me, I’m ready for that. I’m ready for everything.”
Fans had started lining up as early as 7 a.m. local time, six hours before the doors opened for the weigh-in, which was free. They carried signs, flags and brought noisemakers, often jeering Mayweather when his image was shown on the large projection screens. Several hundred were turned away from the gate hours before the first fighters hit the scales at 2:45 p.m.
Earlier, Shane Mosley came in a half-pound over the 154-pound limit for his super welterweight title fight with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, who hit 154 on the nose. The 40-year-old Mosley, who appeared shocked when informed he was over, returned to the scale a half-hour later and made weight.
– Bryan Armen Graham