By Marc Livitz: The end is near for Floyd Mayweather and this time, he seems to be completely serious. It’s been nearly two years since we last saw him as fighter as opposed to promoter. In September of 2015, the then 38 year old Las Vegas resident effectively diced through Andre Berto in a one sided affair and in doing so, he equaled the unblemished record of the late Rocky Marciano. 49 wins against no defeats. By the time the night was over, Floyd’s boxing resume included 26 world title bouts alongside 24 contests versus either current or past world champions.
That’s tough to beat and enough to perhaps believe that Mayweather (49-0, 26 KO’s) was done, as in really done. However, social media, which may be the twenty first century’s equivalent of social pressure was adequate for his desire to lace up the gloves, as in 8 oz. gloves one more time. Most would not walk away from a nine figure payday. Mayweather himself has declared that once all the dust is settled and the numbers have been tallied, he will make over $300,000,000. That possibility coupled with opponent Conor McGregor’s take of somewhere in the area of $100,000,000 likely makes the August 26 bout at T-Mobile Arena the most lucrative event not only in boxing, but in the annals of general sports history as well.
All things considered, Floyd "Money" Mayweather has been the face of boxing for over a decade. Love, hate or admire him because it doesn’t matter. He’s never lost a professional fight and as long as he provided the necessary buildup and entertainment to effectively sell what he had to offer, lots of greenbacks would be there for the taking. Not many are giving Conor McGregor (MMA record 21-3, 18 KO’s) much of chance a week from Saturday. After all, he’s never participated in a pro boxing match.
As of this week, Floyd is a considerable (-450) favorite to win the bout, while McGregor (+325) is given more of a puncher’s chance because he won’t be allowed to kick or grapple. These facts were among the topics that Floyd discussed with the media on an international conference call on Thursday afternoon. He was joined by CEO of Mayweather Promotions, Leonard Ellerbe and Stephen Espinoza of the Showtime network.
Selected Highlights Listed Below
Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions: "We have a great event for next Saturday. This is the most widely distributed pay per view ever. We have normal, traditional methods available such as satellite and cable in addition to several other platforms. It’s also available on Sony TV, Apple TV, XBox and PlayStation."
Stephen Espinoza, Executive VP/Gen Manager, SHOWTIME : "There’s really no excuse for not watching this fight. This is an event that has captured the world over. It’s something we never expected to surpass after the Mayweather/Pacquiao event. This is a challenge to Floyd on a whole new level. There will be two world title fights on the undercard, highlighted by one of my personal favorites, Gervonta Davis."
"Lastly, we’re encouraging fans to buy the pay per view early. The activity will be high on fight day. To give you some specifics, when we post things on social media, it’s getting millions of views, so in order to avoid the rush, we’re encouraging people to buy early."
Opening Statements, Floyd Mayweather: "To every writer or blogger on the line, thank you. I appreciate you covering me for the last 21 years. We all appreciate you and just want to say thank you."
Floyd’s on if August 26 will be his last fight: "I thought that the Andre Berto fight would be the last weigh in or training camp for me, the last everything, but you never know what could happen. Now, we’re here with this big event. I gave my word to Al Haymon. I gave my word to my children and I’m going to stick to my word. This will be my last fight."
On becoming his own boss after leaving Top Rank Promotions in 2006: "I’ve never struggled. Al Haymon and I joined forces because when he saw me, he saw not just a fighter but a smart and articulate person. He knew we could be a powerful force together. When I fought Diego Corrales (2001) and Angel Manfredy (1998), I did good numbers. My team put everything into play."
Stephen Espinoza’s opinion on Floyd’s departure: The difference was Floyd getting out of the Top Rank contract. $750,000 and no guarantees. He was willing to take a risk and so he’s reaped the rewards."
Mayweather’s plans after prize fighting: "My real estate portfolio is truly amazing and it’s a huge part of my life. My children are going to college and education is very important in my home. I want them to be able to take the businesses that I leave for them to the next level. I started businesses for my children and my children’s children."
In his opinion, the best fights of his career: "At 130 pounds, it was against (Diego) Corrales. At 135, people like to talk about Phillip N’Dou. 140 was with (Arturo) Gatti because I wasn’t there that long. The fight at 147 with Ricky Hatton and 154 against Miguel Cotto and again at 154 with how dominant I was against Canelo. I feel differently on different days. It all depends on how I feel when I go out there."
Floyd on a possible pro-McGregor crowd: "It doesn’t have anything to do with the crowd. The only thing that matters is the two competitors. It’s just about giving the fans excitement."
On using 8 oz. gloves in the bout: "With the Ricky Hatton fight, we fought at 147 with 10 oz. gloves. From 147 all the way down, you fight in 8 oz gloves. From 154 all the way up to heavyweight, you use 10 oz. gloves. I want to make him feel as comfortable as possible. I don’t want him to have any excuses and I don’t want to have any excuses."
On videos of McGregor sparring with Paulie Malignaggi: "My thoughts were that it was interesting. A lot of illegal shots and shots behind the head. I’m pretty sure that the referee will be fair on both sides. Knockdowns don’t matter. All that counts is what happens under the lights."
Mayweather on fighting at the age of 40: "It’s not really the same, but with age comes wisdom and knowing your body. When you’re young, it’s fight, fight, fight and never let the body recuperate. I still work very hard at the age of 40 but I believe in rest. I have a team who helps keep my body intact."
If he’s slowed down since retiring: "I’m being honest. I don’t think that I’m the same Floyd Mayweather that I was 21, 10, 5 or even 2 years ago. I still have a high ring I.Q. and experience will always lean towards me. I’ve been in the ring at such a high level for so long."
On his influence on combat sports: "I don’t think there’s any fighter at all that hasn’t looked at one of my videos or fights. This is the Mayweather era. I think other fighters will pay attention because they want to be at that same level. They want to dominate with ease. I’m huge in boxing and MMA."
Floyd on what’s truly at stake: "I truly believe I’m taking the bigger risk. I have a 49-0 record. When a fighter has dominated for over 20 years and never lost, then everything is on the line."