LOS ANGELES: Floyd Mayweather issued an apology to female mixed martial arts star Ronda Rousey on Thursday (Friday in Manila), then laughed off a suggestion the two could meet in the ring, saying he would have to take a major pay cut.
“Are you a comedian? You a comedian?” Mayweather responded when asked if he would consider fighting the undefeated Rousey, who has been jackhammering her way through the women’s fighting ranks.
“I am in the one hundred million dollar business, not the one hundred thousand dollar business.”
Mayweather did apologize to Rousey Thursday at a news conference in Los Angeles after a comment he made a year ago at another downtown hotel where he mistakenly referred to her as a man.
He said he had never heard of Rousey when the question was posed to him last July at the Biltmore Hotel.
“They asked me about Ronda and I thought it was a guy. I didn’t know it was a female. I apologize. I wish her all the best,” Mayweather said.
Rousey needed just 34 seconds to knockout Bethe Correia in a UFC fight on Saturday. Her last three matches have gone a combined 64 seconds.
Rousey called Mayweather out for his history of domestic violence.
After she beat him out to win the ESPY award for 2015 Best Fighter award she levelled her guns at him.
“I wonder how Floyd feels being beat by a woman for once,” she said.
Mayweather (48-0, 26 KOs) was speaking Thursday at a news conference to promote his upcoming September 12 world title fight against Andre Berto in Las Vegas.
Mayweather’s World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association welterweight belts will be on the line but almost no one gives Berto a chance as the oddsmakers have Mayweather a 40-1 favorite.
Mayweather defended the choice of fellow American Berto for this fight which he also claims will be his last.
“I have been getting backlash,” he said. “They say no one in the sport will buy the fight. I picked him because he is an exciting fighter.”
Mayweather was asked why he didn’t choose former two-time world champ Amir Khan who is considered a tougher opponent.
“How many championships has Khan won, two. Berto has won two also,” Mayweather said.
There was no trash talking during Thursday’s news conference but the fighters did get together for a stare down at the front of the podium.
Berto (30-3, 23 KOs) thanked Mayweather for the opportunity and his trainer Virgil Hunter spent more time at the podium lavishing praise on Mayweather than he did talking about his fighter.
Mayweather made no apologies Thursday for the Manny Pacquiao bout in May which became the richest fight in boxing history but failed to live up to the hype in the ring after Pacquiao suffered an injury.
He described it as a chess match and said it was the media’s fault for over hyping it.
“My job is to go out there and be a chess player and that is what I did. I found a way to win,” he said.
Mayweather could also make history if he beats Berto next month. With a win he would match the record of late heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano, who retired in 1956 with a record of 49-0.
Mayweather reiterated Thursday that this is his final fight which is what he have been saying before each of his last several fights.
Not too many people are taking him seriously considering he will have a chance to go 50-0 if he fights again next year.
Mayweather said after his win over Pacquiao that he would surrender his world titles so younger boxers could hold them, but he has yet to follow through on that promise.
Las Vegas is also opening a new arena next year which would be convenient for Mayweather’s attempt at 50-0.
The undercard will feature Swedish-born Badou Jack and England’s George Groves in a super middleweight title fight.
Also on tap is a rematch between Roman Martinez of Puerto Rico and Orlando Salido of Mexico.