Still, Mayweather believes his own hype. More important, he uses it to control his world. He turned down interviews with magazines (including SI) because they would not promise him a cover. He declares himself the greatest, which sparks a media debate, which keeps him relevant. Mayweather needs to be relevant. His vitriolic rant at Pacquiao was posted during Pacquiao's press tour for his fight with Antonio Margarito. When the media jumped on Ortiz's tragic backstory, Mayweather called it boring and said black athletes go through such struggles all the time. When De La Hoya revealed his battles with substance abuse, Mayweather tweeted that De La Hoya was a "drug user, dresses like a drag, committed adultery and drinks alcohol and Ortiz looks up to this guy."
Words from the man or from Money? At this point, who knows? If Mayweather beats Ortiz on Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the character will live on, free to tout his superiority, flaunt his wealth and hold hostage a world awaiting a showdown with Pacquiao. Lose, and a $50 million payday from a Pacquiao bout will be flushed and a big part of the character along with it. Money Mayweather, the undefeated king, will be no more. Of everything at stake for Mayweather on Saturday, nothing matters more.
For previews and analysis of Mayweather-Ortiz, go to SI.com/boxing and HBO.com/boxing