Mayweather: Boxing’s polarizing pound-for-pound king
LAS VEGAS, United States – Floyd Mayweather, the world’s highest-paid athlete and self-styled “Money Man,” will hit the Las Vegas jackpot once again when he puts his unblemished record on the line to fight Manny Pacquiao on May 2.
“This is not my first dance. You got two future hall of famers and a mega fight. I have done record-breaking numbers before,” the American said, in typically nonchalant — many would say arrogant — fashion.
Mayweather’s team likes to portray the undefeated boxer as a man of the people — someone you are just as likely to spot rolling up to a fast-food drive-thru at midnight — as you are at a Michelin-starred restaurant.
The truth is the 38-year-old Mayweather is a much more complicated and polarizing figure than that.
Fans love him for the beauty of his fight game, his ability to dodge and weave and befuddle all that have faced him.
But he has a darker side that has largely gone unnoticed in the frenzied build-up to the fight against Pacquiao.
Mayweather has multiple convictions for assaulting women over the past dozen years and served two months in jail for the most recent.
Unlike millionaire athletes in other sports, such as NFL star Ray Rice, Mayweather has never been suspended or sanctioned by one of boxing’s governing bodies for his violent past against women.
His latest legal trouble began when some fellow boxers, who work out at his Las Vegas gym, sued him last year over training conditions which allegedly included making fighters go 31 rounds without a break.
Mayweather, who often posts pictures of himself on social media surrounded by piles of cash, lives in a giant mansion. Million-dollar luxury cars sit in his garage that he has never driven and he surrounds himself with nine security guards.
“You might see Floyd pull up in the Taco Bell drive-thru in a half-a-million-dollar car tomorrow,” said Leonard Ellerbe, chief executive of Mayweather Promotions. “That is just how he is.
“He wants to be in the hood. Where the most popular spot is. Where everything is happening.”
‘Just his toys’
Mayweather is routinely described as boxing’s “pound-for-pound king” and according to Forbes Magazine he also dominates the money rankings in world sports.
In 2014, he earned $105 million for his fight against Canelo Alvarez and has pocketed at least $25 million for each of his past nine fights dating back to 2007.
“An everyday car for him is a Rolls-Royce. He has 18 luxury cars. He has incredible homes in a number of major cities. He flies around on an aeroplane. He has made incredible investments,” gushed Ellerbe.
“When you go in the garage you see Bugattis, Ferraris and you see Lambos. You would think you are at a luxury car dealership but those are just his toys.”
Boxing’s two biggest draws will finally clash when Mayweather puts his unbeaten record on the line to fight Pacquiao at the MGM’s Grand Garden arena in a welterweight championship showdown that is expected to shatter box office and pay-per-view records.
It is the biggest boxing spectacle in recent memory and will go a long way towards determining who is the greatest fighter of their era. Both fighters are expected to make well over $100 million.
Ellerbe said Mayweather can hang up his gloves now — even before the Pacquiao fight — and not have to worry about money.
“He is set for the rest of his life. He could retire tomorrow and have nine figures in the bank,” Ellerbe said.
But Mayweather’s father, Floyd Sr., is a rare voice of reason.
He is worried his son could fritter away his purse from the bout on cars, vacations and women.
“Do you know how many millionaires went broke? It looks like a tall thing right now, but believe me, look down a few years that (expletive) be gone,” said Floyd Sr. a former boxing contender turned trainer.
“When you got that kind of money people going to be stealing it, you going to be giving it to people, going on trips, buying cars and buses… every damn thing.
“If you are not controlling your money, it is going to go.”