"He believes in God. I believe in God. This fight is not about church. This fight is not about being a Catholic, being a Christian, being a Jew, being a Muslim."
It's not a line you'd expect to hear in the media conference call before a big time pay-per-view boxing match. But there was Floyd Mayweather Jr. philosophizing on faith.
The weeks before a prizefight are always filled with some sort of mental jousting-- about how ugly the opponent is, or how soft, or about his primitive skills, or his lack of work ethic. But the mind games before Saturday's mega-fight between the undefeated "Money" Mayweather and Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero, of Gilroy, have gone deeper than the usual libel. Before trading hooks and jabs, the fighters have been exchanging moral judgement.
Guerrero says that God has put him in a position to humble Mayweather. Mayweather says that Guerrero is a hypocrite.
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Which has made for a fun bit of pre-fight trash talk. A back and forth of defending one's own sins and pointing out the other guy's sins. When Guerrero looks at Mayweather, it seems he sees a good deal of heathen. And, as his past opponents have learned, Guerrero is a like a Rottweiler when on the offensive.
In an interview with the 700 Club about a month ago, The Ghost noted that Mayweather is "about money, and everything else that comes along with the fame and fortune." He followed that point up when speaking to the media last week, explaining that "I live my life one way and he lives his another way." His aim, he says, is "Not just to humble Floyd, but to humble the boxing world." And he knows a false idol when he sees one:
You get a lot of people out there that think Floyd's like a god, the way he acts, the way he lives, the way he spends money, the way he boasts about stuff; you get everybody thinking that he's unstoppable, that nobody could beat him. That with Floyd, there's no blueprint to beat him. You can't break him down. But you know what? Being a big believer in God, there's a blueprint for everybody. There's a way to beat anything.
But Mayweather, anyone who's watch him fight knows, possesses masterful defensive skills, weaving around hooks and bobbing below jabs. In the conference call, Money told reporters:
He'd been saying money is my God and I praise money. And you look at the beginning of my career, you know I always gave thanks to God and you go back to the beginning of my career. I've always given thanks to God just for blessing me with the ability that I have, blessing me with the talent that I have.
And he's always sharp with the counter-punch, waiting for an opening and striking with precise combinations:
On one hand you're trying to be a role model for children at school. You say you're going to a school. Then you're going to the 700 Club. But then as you look closely you see he has Marilyn Monroe on the wall in his house and then he's driving a truck all over somebody's lawn.
And then a little while later after leaving the school and leaving the 700 Club this guy is going through the airport with a gun.
Oh, what a shot! Guerrero, days after his appearance on the 700 Club, was arrested at JFK airport for possessing a firearm. He's licensed to own a gun in California but does not have a permit to possess one in New York.
But Guerrero's got an iron chin on him. He walks through punches like a rhino charging through savannah grass. He's a relentless attacker. And his punches land like anvils.
Yeah, you know, we're all hypocrites. Everyone, you know, if you're a perfect person, you wouldn't need Jesus Christ. It just goes to show how much he keeps his head in the Bible and he reads the Bible and how much he believes to call somebody a hypocrite. It's laughable.
Boom! Oh Lord, look at all that blood!
Will the in-ring battle match the thrill of the theological dispute? Only God knows.