JUST FOLLOW THE MONEY: Floyd ‘Money Mayweather is shown here with his security guard during a promotional tour in New York. The 37-year old undefeated boxer carries around wads of cash in a backpack wherever he goes.
In his quest to continue to rake in more money than any fighter in the history of the sport of boxing the Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather money machine will roll out again on Saturday May 3 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Mayweather’s (45-0) climb to the pinnacle of a sport whose combatants are men from the darkest pockets of poverty has not defied logic, but how he manipulates his talent and with whom he occupies in his circle is defining.
Black fighters have for years endured financial success in the sport of boxing from the days of Joe Louis and throughout the years Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns, Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson and most notably Muhammad Ali.
However, only Leonard and Ali were transcending cross-branding and commercial stars with broad appeal outside of the sport.
Each of those fighters made their market share of the money and even more. Ali is still a lucrative brand today, but the others are relatively broke after they are done.
Legendary Jewish promoter Bob Arum had a hand in both Leonard and Ali and was instrumental in launching the career of Mayweather.
Iconic Black promoter Don King also promoted those fighters at some point and time, but received criticism and ridicule for basically following the same rules that applied to Arum.
There is a double standard in the sport of boxing, one for Blacks and another for Mexicans and non Blacks, which is why Mayweather is such an anomaly.
Since cutting his umbilical cord with Arum in 2006, Mayweather has made more money than any fighter ever, and is one of the richest athletes in the world.
He set out on a new blueprint in boxing, becoming his own promoter. It’s a risking business that has not paid off for many fighters and while few claim they are promoters it is basically a loosely used moniker to enhance the brand of the fighter.
Oscar de la Hoya was the first successful one, but he brought in Swiss Banker Richard Schaefer to take the lead.
Mayweather join forces with a relative unknown in boxing circles at the time, he hired Al Haymon as his manager/advisor.
Back then Haymon was just a fly in the ointment as promoters throughout the sport ridiculed him.
A Black man, Haymon had something that none of the other promoters did. No bad Baggage!
A Cleveland native like King, Haymon is Harvard alum like Arum and an economist to boot.
He made fortunes in the music industry for the likes of MC Hammer, the late Whitney Houston, Mary J. Blige and was influential in the rise of Eddie Murphy.
The networks, most notably HBO the big fish at the time relished the opportunity to work with a novice, anyone was a relief from the traditional power brokers they thought.
Little did they know that Haymon would out wit them at they own game. He leveraged his relationship with Mayweather to secure other fighters, shrewdly negotiated deals for Mayweather that was cutting edge and game changing.
It was a match made in heaven, and while Mayweather flirted with doing business with King throughout the years even taking a half-million dollars as a down payment for an agreement, he has been steadfastly loyal to Haymon.
Perhaps his brief negotiation with King was an act-right jab at Haymon, who has since leveraged Mayweather against HBO and took him to rival Showtime for a record braking $200 million six-fight deal.
Boxing has always come easy for Mayweather, according to his father he was throwing jabs from his crib at 9 months old.
Another has said that while living in Grand Rapids as a teen, he told a woman who bought him a pair of sneakers that he would be champion of the world one day.
A blind man could see the pedigree, the Mayweather clan from father Floyd Sr. to uncles Roger and Jeff it was either become a boxer are get beaten by the street life of drugs and drug dealing all elements his family had succumb to.
“I was born to be a fighter,” said Mayweather during a teleconference call with reporters two weeks before the fight.
“I think about winning in life. Boxing is always going to be important to me and it’s something I love,” he said.
His undefeated record of 45-0 will be on the line when he takes on hard punching Argentine fighter Marcos Maidana at the MGM Grand.
It will mark the first of the final four fights during an illustrious career, one that as it coils down is being evaluated.
He is as he likes to be called TBE (The Best Ever)?
“I think that he is certainly among the best ever,” said his father and trainer Floyd Sr.
What Mayweather has become really good at is promoting, selling the public something and making them believe what they are buying.
It worked when he came back against Juan Manuel Marquez. They bought it when he took on Victor Ortiz and Guerrero.
They went bonkers when he polished off red headed Mexican sensation Canelo Alvarez.
Maidana? He dominated the copycat Adrien Broner and the public went to twitter and asked for whom should fight Mayweather instead Amir Kahn who was losing traction as a popular choice.
Fight fans will get all of them on this Pay Per View card.
It is the most expensive undercard in the history of boxing, according to Showtime spokes holes.
That too might be debatable since few had greater undercards in the history of the sport than King.
Chances are you would not have compiled such an undercard if the public were buying the Maidana mismatch.
Nonetheless, it will justify plucking down almost $80 bucs to see Money.
Regardless what anyone says about Mayweather, he’s worth seeing and as a Black athlete worth admiring.
The majority of all of the people working for Mayweather Promotions are Black. Including among them CEO Leonard Ellerbe.
“People don’t know this, but Leonard had a good paying job in DC. That he would leave his six figure paying job and pay his own way to come and support be as trainer and working security says a lot about who he really is,” complemented Mayweather.
“I wasn’t paying him what he was worth at first and we’ve been through a lot. Today he’s a multi-millionaire.”
Ellerbe is not the only Black on the team, nearly all of his security detail is Black and other members of the training and promotional team is African American.
It says a lot about who and what Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather believes in, and it is a page that other prominent Black athletes should pay attention to.