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Floyd Mayweather apologizes for using gay slur in introspective moment

Floyd Mayweather works out in front of media at his gym in Las Vegas

By Kevin Iole

LAS VEGAS – Several large men milled around the door at 4020 Schiff Drive in an innocuous strip mall in the Chinatown district of this gambling mecca, watching over empty parking spaces in front reserved for the boss’ gleaming white Rolls Royce.

Inside, the sweltering boxing gym was packed shoulder-to-shoulder with boxers, trainers, media, publicists and assorted hangers-on, each of them eager to get a glimpse of the impending show.

Floyd Mayweather arrived fashionably late and quickly set about the task at hand. He’s going for his 50th win in his 50th fight, a mark that would allow him to surge ahead of the legendary heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano, who retired at the peak of his powers in 1955 with a 49-0 record.

He’s about to face another unbeaten boxer, though that comes with a caveat. Conor McGregor, the UFC lightweight champion, is unbeaten in the ring because he’s never boxed. Nevertheless, he will be standing across from Mayweather at about 9 p.m. PT on Aug. 26 at the T-Mobile Arena in what could be the largest-grossing fight in history.

Mayweather was cool, calm and collected in answering a number of questions while holding court with the media. He was reflective, a guy who knew the end of the line was near. He’s 40 and has made his share of mistakes. He’s learned from them, he insists, and strives to be better.

Off the cuff, he apologized for using a gay slur during the press tour that kicked off the promotion of the fight with McGregor, and he spoke of how he was bothered by what he perceived were racist remarks coming from McGregor.

“There are certain boundaries you just don’t cross,” Mayweather said. “In the press tour when I said something toward lesbians or gays when I said something toward him. I apologized, but him calling us monkeys, you have to realize, we went through years and years of up and down. Black Americans went through a lot. But I’m a strong individual. We live and we learn and hopefully after Aug. 26, he won’t be speaking that same language.”

Leonard Ellerbe, the normally cool CEO of Mayweather Promotions, was far more agitated and excited than his fighter.

He railed at those who questioned that the bout is not a sellout, and he praised Mayweather’s vision and instinct for promoting.

Mayweather, though, was different than he’d been at times in the past. In the past, he’s stomped around the VIP Room at the MGM Grand and lectured a reporter about the dangers of boxing and the risks of brain trauma fighters face.

He spoke evenly and without a hint of anger or resentment. The only time his temper seemed to raise a little is when he was asked about meeting McGregor in New York. McGregor had gone off on Mayweather the day before at a news conference in Toronto, and Mayweather said he approached McGregor, almost as if to test him.

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