VEGAS DIARY: MAYWEATHER MAKES HALL, AWAITS McGREGOR
by Norm Clarke | Jul 2, 2017
Unbeaten boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. loves making huge bets on just about everything. But he sounded unsure that he would bet on himself against UFC star Conor McGregor.
If and when the megafight happens, he could legally bet on himself, but he said, “I don’t think I’m going to bet. I haven’t bet on myself in 21 years, why start now?”
In a one-on-one interview conducted Friday after Mayweather was inducted into the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame at Orleans Arena, he chose his words carefully about whether a deal can be worked out with McGregor.
“We’re communicating,” he said. “We’re going back and forth. Do I think the fight’s going to happen? It’s possible. I just don’t know yet.”
Asked to comment on the rumor that the promoters are looking at Aug. 26, Mayweather said, “I really don’t know, but once they tell me it’s a go I can start back training, start back getting focused. I have to get back in training mode. I have to get back in fight mode.”
Has he been training? “No, not at all.”
How long would it take to be in shape?
“I can’t really say, but I’ve been off two years now.”
Mayweather (49-0) might be favored by some of the longest odds seen in a major fight in years. Mike Tyson (37-0 at the time) was a 42-1 favorite over Buster Douglas in 1990 in Tokyo. Douglas won by a knockout, pulling off one of the biggest upsets in sports history.
Mayweather is around a 10-1 favorite at most Las Vegas sports books. McGregor, 28, has little boxing experience and must compete under boxing-only rules.
“I wouldn’t give McGregor any chance, not even a puncher’s chance,” said Tim Dahlberg, The Associated Press’ Las Vegas-based national sports columnist. He has been covering major fights for almost 40 years.
“No matter how good a puncher you are,” said Dahlberg, “you’re facing the greatest defensive fighter of his time and he would argue all time.”
I tweeted from the Hall of Fame event that a source close to Mayweather said the fight “is going to be sooner than people think.” Another reliable source said Aug. 26 is being explored.
Dahlberg questions whether the fight could take place that soon.
“I’m sure he keeps in good shape but a good fighter in his prime would need six to eight weeks of training camp,” said Dahlberg.
Harmon’s take on Tiger’s health issues
Golf teaching legend Butch Harmon doesn’t buy the popular theory that Tiger Woods’ back issues and subsequent opioid use stems from his hard-swinging style.
“I don’t believe in that at all,” said Harmon, who joined Mayweather, Sam Schmidt, Overton Curtis and the Las Vegas Bowl as inductees of the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame on Friday.
“I think the back injuries come from the workout in the gym,” said Harmon, who was Woods’ coach for a decade.
“I think he works out so hard he’s big from lifting a lot of weights. In my opinion that’s how he hurt his back. He got really big. Whether that was good or bad I don’t know, but he was obsessed with lifting weights. And that was a big thing for him.
“When I had him — we parted ways in August ’02 — and if you look at his body then, it wasn’t like that. He worked out a lot and he was strong but he wasn’t as big and as bulky as he became.”
Woods’ dramatic body transformation started being noticed in 2004.
In September, 2006, when Woods stormed to five tour tournament wins in a row, I interviewed Keith Kleven, Woods’ long-time Las Vegas-based trainer. Kleven said Woods had packed on 25 pounds of muscle.
That was a big change from his days at Stanford University when Woods was nicknamed “Urkel,” after Steven Urkel, the skinny, nerdy star of the 1990s hit TV show “Family Matters.”
The Woods-Kleven connection started when Woods made his recruiting trip to UNLV, where Kleven was a prominent trainer.
Watching the TV footage of Woods’ DUI arrest was “really sad,” said Harmon.
“It’s awful. I think right now golf would be the farthest thing from my mind. I hope he gets the proper help. I hope he can go back to having a great quality of life and enjoy his kids. If he can play golf that would be a plus. But for me right I just hope he gets the help he needs.”
The scene and heard
Jerry Lewis update from the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s John Katsilometes @johnnykats: “Hospitalized Friday night. Should be released soon, possibly (Saturday). Treated for a UTI and is taking antibiotics.”
Vegas tweet of the week, from @LVCabChronicles: “Drunk Guy: ‘A #Vegas casino is like a washing machine; every 15 years or so you have to blow it up and built a new one.’”
Taylor Swift sighting with new beau http://bit.ly/2qTLj2S
Olympics reportedly to add 3-on-3 basketball to 2020 program http://dpo.st/2qOkJxa
20 actresses who stole Marilyn Monroe’s style http://bit.ly/2srClfe
Best weird AP news of the week http://apne.ws/2qOAaoO
Worst-dressed celebrities of the week http://bit.ly/2qMFJjv
On this day…
June 3, 2001: Rocker Tom Petty marries longtime girlfriend Dana York in a low-key ceremony after two sold-out shows at the Hard Rock Hotel. Three weeks later they repeat the ceremony in front of family and friends in Malibu, with Little Richard officiating.
June 4, 2007: The fourth and final season of the World Series of Blackjack, filmed at the Las Vegas Hilton, premieres on the Game Show Network. Despite adding celebrity players such as Penn Jillette, Orel Hershiser and Caroline Rhea, the show lacks the appeal of televised poker and is cancelled.
Mayweather, taking in The Chainsmokers concert at XS nightclub (Wynn) on Friday after his Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame induction… Spotted at the Hall of Fame gala: Brent Musburger and Bill Adee, chief operating officer of Vegas Stats & Information Network, Baseball Hall of Famer Greg Maddux, 2005 SNSHOF inductee Marc Ratner, former executive of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, and former Nebraska quarterback great David Humm, the first SNSHOF inductee… Reality TV star Chase Chrisley of “Chrisley Knows Best,” celebrating his 21st birthday at Chateau & Rooftop at Paris Las Vegas on Friday night.