Boxing: Floyd Mayweather returns with his mind on the money
Fight game's supreme craftsman is back after a prison term to open his account in $200m deal
Sunday 28 April 2013
For a man whose middle name is Joy, Floyd Mayweather Jnr has never exuded sweetness and light. Until the recent advent of the equally narcissistic Adrien Broner, his reputation was unrivalled as the nastiest piece of work in boxing and he relished every moment of the opprobrium.
Mayweather used to be known as Pretty Boy but now calls himself Money, no doubt because it is a commodity he loves above everything else – apart from himself.
Next Saturday boxing's supreme craftsman, eight times an unbeaten champion in five different weight classes, returns to the ring in Las Vegas seven months after serving a 90-day jail term for assaulting a girlfriend and threatening to harm two of their children.
He meets Robert Guerrero, a typical Mexican-American hard nut, in a WBC world welterweight title fight that will enrich one of the world's highest-earning sports figures by some $30m, the first instalment of the six-fight $200m (£130m) deal he has signed with TV company Showtime and adding to his already accumulated $213m.
So Mayweather has money to burn – and he has done so literally, setting fire to $100 bills for a bit of a giggle in an Atlanta nightclub. Aping this tasteless public profligacy, Broner recently released a video showing him flushing greenbacks down the toilet. But his bills were of the $20 dollar variety. Cheapskate.
Mayweather's life has been embroiled in violence, in the ring and out. He was involved in a dispute with his father Floyd Snr, a former fighter, famously brawling with him in the gym. The wounds of their relationship are deep-seated, tracing back to when Floyd Snr allegedly held up his baby son as a shield during a gangland shoot-out in the late 1970s, a claim he denies. His father, who trained him for a time, is back in his corner for this fight.
Of his jail term Mayweather Jnr says: "Better men than me have been there. I'm pretty sure Martin Luther King's been there, and Malcolm X. I have taken the good with the good in life so I'll accept the bad with the bad. It's just an obstacle that's put in your way. I can get through anything."
He may have been accused of many lapses into notoriety but as a boxer he is unblemished and ruthless in his dedication, for all his bling and braggadocio. His is a consistent masterclass in the art of backfoot boxing. No opponent has yet fathomed him out and it will be a big ask for Guerrero, a 30-year-old southpaw with only one defeat in a 35-bout career, to do what a brutalised Ricky Hatton and 42 others could not.
Ironically Guerrero, a six-times world champion in four weight divisions whose wife is battling cancer, could be following Mayweather to jail next month following his arrest at JFK Airport in New York after a gun and three unloaded magazine clips were found in his luggage, a federal offence. Only in America.
Mayweather v Guerrero is live on BoxNation (Sky channel 437/ Virgin 546. www.boxnation.com
As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”
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