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Hartford resident and former welterweight champion shares thoughts about Mayweather-Pacquiao fight

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HARTFORD - A highly anticipated title fight this weekend between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao  is being billed as boxing's "Fight of the Century", but a local boxing legend isn't quick to that label on this fight.

"To me, it`s not an Ali vs. Fraizer fight. It`s not a Tyson vs. Spinks fight, but it`s a big fight," said  Marlon "Magic Man" Starling.

The Hartford resident won both the WBA and WBC welterweight championships after turning pro in 1979.

Starling  grew up on the streets of Hartford may have the closest local connection to the big fight.  Starling beat Floyd Mayweather Sr. both times they fought each other.

Mayweather Sr. will be the corner man for his son Floyd Mayweather Jr. during Saturday's fight.

"It's not an easy thing- short of Floyd and his father getting into fights, i got upset, I got upset many times at my trainer crews," Starling said.

Starling retired from boxing in 1990, and says he took home $2.5 million in prize money during his 11 year career.

The payout for Saturday's fight could be $120 million for Mayweather and $80 million for Pacquiao.

" The money these guys are making, can I come back?"  (Starling laughs).

These days, Starling spends his time training and teaching younger boxers, mostly at the Hartford Boxing Center on Franklin Avenue in the city's south end.

The boxing center, which opened in 2014,  has more than 500 members, and it's owners say the club is gaining popularity.

Starling sees an uptick in the interest among youth boxers, in part because of the popularity of Floyd Mayweather.

"Right now they don`t anybody but Floyd Mayweather, and if that brings them in, then good," Starling said.

Starling predicts Mayweather will win this weekend's fight.

"I have Mayweather by decision-- Pacquiao by stoppage. When I say stoppage, it can go early or it can go late," Starling said.