Unbeaten Floyd Mayweather fired back Wednesday at rap music star 50 Cent over his video taunt about the boxer's reading skills, as a title rematch against Marcos Maidana looms.
Mayweather, 46-0 with 26 knockouts, meets Maidana, 35-4 with 31 knockouts, on September 13 to defend his World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association welterweight titles, and his WBC light middleweight crown, after taking a majority decision over the Argentine in May.
But the 37-year-old American took more verbal jabs at 50 Cent, real name Curtis Jackson, over an Instagram posting in which the rapper vows to donate $750,000 to charity if Mayweather can read one page of a Harry Potter novel without stumbling.
"Making fun of a person because they can't read is not funny. It's tragic," Mayweather said. "If I couldn't read, it would make my accomplishments that much more impressive.
"The circus is for clowns. My job is to focus on boxing. I could (not) care less."
Mayweather posted a photo on Twitter of two huge recent paychecks with the message: "Read this $72,276,000.00. God bless."
The reading issue erupted after a radio station released a tape of Mayweather struggling to read station promotions, known as drops.
"I don't get paid to read radio drops. I would be perfect at reading if it was how I had to feed my family," Mayweather said.
"I could have been up 24 hours. I could have just landed in New York City. People find ways to break people down. I'm going strong. I'm happy."
Mayweather noted many instances where he has been forced to read copy off teleprompters, much the way television news show hosts do.
"I'm not a news anchor. Never claimed to be. But I didn't get where I am not being able to read and write and do arithmetic," Mayweather said.
"Reading do not define my place in boxing history. Will God not let me into heaven if I didn't read like a news anchor? Will it change my legacy in boxing if I can't read?"
Mayweather said the reading taunt from someone he once counted as a friend has not been a distraction as he prepares to defend his unbeaten record once more, moving nearer the iconic 49-0 career mark of Rocky Marciano.
"I don't focus on clown stuff. That's for the circus," Mayweather said. "I got where I am by being smart, making smart moves, doing what's best for Floyd Mayweather."
- Champ wary of dirty moves -
Mayweather also tossed in a few digs at Maidana for dirty tactics from their earlier fight, saying the Argentine inflicted head butts and low blows and attempted to knee and tackle him.
But he also expressed confidence in fight referee Kenny Bayless, who did not officiate that bout.
"I can't prepare for that. I'm going to let the referee do his job and take care of that," said Mayweather. "I'm pretty sure Kenny Bayless is going to be watching both sides extremely close.
"My health is more important than money or anything else. I truly believe in having a career after the sport of boxing is over."
Mayweather backed down from earlier vows of knocking out Maidana after being pushed unusually close four months ago.
"I want to go out there and I guess get a knockout or win 12 rounds and look impressive, but also be exciting," Mayweather said. "I'm just going to let the fight play out like it plays out. If the knockout presents itself, I'll take it."