Mayweather skips gathering to reveal card's new top bout

Friday, December 6, 2002

LAS VEGAS -- Much to the irritation of his promoter, Floyd Mayweather Jr. didn't show up at a press conference to promote his lightweight title fight Saturday night with Jose Luis Castillo.

If he had, the petulant Mayweather would have found out something that might have disturbed him even more -- he was no longer the main event of the night.

"I feel sorry about this, I really do," promoter Bob Arum said.

Arum wasn't referring to the dropping of the Mayweather-Castillo rematch from the top of a fight card now headed by Wladimir Klitschko's heavyweight fight with Jameel McCline.

He was talking about the attitude of a fighter who will make $2.4 million to fight Castillo, but refuses to cooperate either with his promoter or the media to let the world know he is fighting.

"We've promoted Floyd Mayweather since he turned pro," Arum said Thursday. "I want to apologize for him."

Arum's contract with Mayweather runs for three more fights -- the same amount Mayweather has left on a contract he signed with HBO after initially telling the network he wouldn't work for the "slave wages" it was paying him.

It's because of HBO's generosity that Mayweather is making more than what both the heavyweights who now headline the fight will make together. Sensing it had a rising star, the network signed Mayweather after he won the 130-pound title in 1998 to a six-fight deal worth $12.5 million.

Arum signed Mayweather even earlier, after he won a silver medal in the 1996 Olympics, but now says he wants nothing to do with him.

Arum and Mayweather have feuded constantly over the fighter's failure to promote himself, and Arum also was upset over Mayweather refusing to fight Castillo in Los Angeles, where ticket sales probably would be higher because of the large number of Hispanic fight fans in the area.

"Three more fights and I'm done. Three more and I'm counting each of them," Arum said.

Both Mayweather and his manager, rap music producer James Prince, were absent from Thursday's press conference. Arum sat in the seat on the dais reserved for the fighter and Castillo playfully held up Mayweather's name card for photographers afterward.

Though Mayweather didn't show up, he did tell a writer who showed up at one of his workouts this week that he might retire because he's "tired of the negativity" of the sport.

Mayweather said he declined interviews because no one writes anything positive about him.

Mayweather (28-0, 20 knockouts) is a 3-1 favorite to beat Castillo in the rematch of the April fight in which he took Castillo's WBC lightweight title with a unanimous decision win.

Though The Associated Press scored the fight 115-111 for Mayweather, Castillo came on strong in the late rounds and the pro-Castillo crowd booed the decision and Arum began trying to promote a rematch.

Castillo (46-5-1, 42 knockouts) vowed again Thursday to regain the title and scoffed at claims that Mayweather was bothered by an injured shoulder in the first fight.

"I'm ready to win back the title," Castillo said.

While Mayweather was absent, others at the press conference at Mandalay Bay hotel-casino had plenty to say.

Both Klitschko and McCline predicted victory in their heavyweight elimination fight, then weighed in at the end of the press conference. McCline weighed 263 to 240 for Klitschko.

Mayweather's uncle and trainer, Roger Mayweather, also was on hand to extoll the virtues of his fighter, though he left before he could be asked questions about where Mayweather was.

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