Floyd Mayweather Jr. doesn’t read for a living.
But if he did, he’d be pretty good at it, the second coming of Walter Cronkite, reciting from a teleprompter with no issues, he said.
But he doesn’t work as a news anchor, so his reading doesn’t have to be flawless.
It’s his boxing that must be near-perfect, the 37-year-old said in a conference call on Wednesday.
The top boxer in the sport was responding to questions about his literacy in the wake of suggestions by the rapper 50 Cent and a New York radio station that he can’t read very well last month.
“Reading will not define my place in boxing history,” Mayweather said on the call to promote his Sept. 13 welterweight rematch with Marcos Maidana at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Showtime pay-per-view. “Will God not let me in heaven because I didn’t read like a news anchor? Look, I would be perfect at reading if it was how I made my living and fed my family.”
“I’m not a news anchor, never claimed to be,” Mayweather added.
In typical Mayweather fashion, he was discussing a topic other than boxing.
Just days before his majority decision win against Maidana in May, Mayweather accused his former fiancée of having an abortion - even posting what he claimed to be a picture of her sonogram on his official Facebook page.
But even in the celebrity-filled, TMZ’d world of Mayweather, where nothing is seemingly out of bounds, suggestions that Mayweather can’t read seemed particularly disrespectful.
“What I do for a living, I’m a boxer,” Mayweather said. “But I didn’t get to where I got to be [by] not being able to write, read and do arithmetic,” he went on. “And I’m going to say it once again: Intelligence and education are two totally different things.”
Up until now, Mayweather (46-0, 26 knockouts) has been largely mum on the topic of his own literacy, though he did post on his Twitter account a picture of two exorbitant checks paid to Mayweather Promotions on Aug. 23 with the caption, “Read this $72,276,000.00. God bless.”
He’s said in the past he dropped out of high school to pursue boxing, and he’s risen to become the highest paid athlete in the world.
He’s also become one of the most divisive figures in sports.
He was sentenced to 90 days in jail for domestic violence in 2011, serving two months.
But recently Mayweather has absorbed a barrage of insults about his education.
“When you’re dealing with pay-per-view you have to read at least 60 to 70 teleprompters and I don’t think they could choose a better person for the job than myself,” Mayweather said, defending his ability to read. “I go out there and I do it with no problem.”
In what resembled a high school spitting match, 50 Cent challenged Mayweather to read a page from a “Harry Potter” book in a video posted on the rapper’s Instagram account on Aug. 21.
The Queens-born rapper followed that recording with another video, his third of the day in which he further makes fun of Mayweather’s ability to read.
“We don’t want to put pressure on you,” the rapper, a former friend-turned foe of Mayweather, said. “We know you can’t pronounce those words in that ‘Harry Potter’ book, so we’re going to let you read ‘Cat in the Hat.’”
The flames were further fanned on Aug. 22 when Charlamagne Tha God, a disc jockey for Power 105, released uncomfortable footage of what he described as “unedited audio” of Mayweather stumbling through a radio “drop” normally used in between segments on WWPR (105.1 FM).
It’s cringe-worthy stuff with Mayweather tripping over his words, enough so that Mayweather’s own publicist, Kelly Swanson, came to his defense and released her own video last month to the media, showing him reading a promo for CBS Sports in an email titled, “In Defense of Floyd Mayweather - Yes He Can Read.”
“I don’t get paid to read radio drops,” Mayweather said of the footage of him tripping over his words on the radio. “I’m capable of having a bad day. I’m not perfect. You know as well as I know, they edited the tape how they wanted to do it.”
Mayweather said he was offended by the implication he’s not literate.
Who needs to read when all you do is count money …...