Seems Floyd Mayweather was not afraid to fight Manny Pacquiao after all, huh? More significantly, it is clear that Mayweather is smarter than most anyone would like to give him credit. For, in the end, it was Mayweather who engineered what will be the richest fight in boxing history.
Rap mogul and one-time friend 50 Cent once joked about Mayweather’s possible inability to read, at least at a high level. If that’s true, let’s hope Mayweather is working on that.
But the man sure can count.
He is primarily responsible for the enormous wealth he enjoys—and the close to $250 million he could add to it after the May 2 Pacquiao championship battle. Yes, a quarter of a billion dollars.
For all those who bemoaned Mayweather for not agreeing to the match against the Filipino five or six years ago, consider that the take Mayweather will receive now is exponentially greater than what he would have taken then. Maybe he knew what he was doing all along.
Ultimately, he built his legacy by winning championships against challenging but not overwhelming competition. All the while, he became the best in sport, the one fighter enthusiasts wanted to see—and were willing to pay for it.
All he did was build the anticipation to a crescendo for what’s taking place in three months at the MGM Grand. The longer he “side-stepped” Pacquiao the more the boxing public wanted to see it. And the more he could demand when he finally agreed to it.
Mayweather owns his career. Not Bob Arum or any other promoter, and for that he deserves kudos. So many boxers have been subservient to promoters and managers, while they are the ones taking the beating in the ring.
Team Mayweather took over promoting his fights, cutting out Arum and anyone else and directing that huge cut of the financial pie to him, not them. Smart.
Sugar Ray Leonard handled business similarly. He teased people for years about fighting Marvin Hagler, and he was, like Mayweather, accused of ducking the brutal middleweight champion. But Leonard won all the battles that mattered—when the fight took place, the size of the gloves, the looseness of the ropes, the size of the ring.
They all were contributing factors in Leonard pulling off the upset.
Mayweather is in virtually the same position. Observers have indicated that Pacquiao’s skills are not what they were five years ago, making him less a threat against Mayweather, who has naturally lost some speed and quickness—the hallmarks of his brilliance.
Interestingly, none of this may have come to fruition if Mayweather had not encountered Pacquiao at a January 27 Miami Heat NBA game. The fighters spoke briefly, and Mayweather made a point of setting up a private meeting at a hotel.
It was during those discussions that the reality of the bout became a real possibility.
“I am glad my decision to meet with Manny and discuss making this fight happen helped get the deal done,” Mayweather said. “Giving the fans what they want to see is always my main focus. This will be the biggest event in the history of the sport.”
Giving the fans what they want on his terms would have been more accurate. Mayweather is a control freak, as well he should be. It’s his career, his life.
And as strange as it may be, Floyd (Money) Mayweather is serving as a role model for future boxers to command their careers and not hand them over to others who have a lot less to lose.
“Floyd is a great business man,” Evander Holyfield, the former four-time heavyweight champion, told Atlanta Blackstar. “He figured it out and has taken it to another level. If I had the business sense he has, I would have made a whole lot more money.”
Many are hoping to see Mayweather eat leather and lose to Pacquiao. Mayweather’s brashness can be irritating and his boxing style—defense first, protect yourself second, punch third—infuriates some, too.
But he’s already won the battles that lead up to May 2. And he expects to win the ultimate battle in the fight, too.
“Boxing fans and sports fans around the world will witness greatness on May 2,” Mayweather said. “I am the best ever, TBE, and this fight will be another opportunity to showcase my skills and do what I do best, which is win. Manny is going to try to do what 47 before him failed to do, but he won’t be successful. He will be number 48.”
That is not a given. But Mayweather’s take will number close to $250 million. That’s a certainty.