Steve Bunce on Boxing: Mayweather all set to make $30m, then serve his time

 

On 1 June Floyd Mayweather will finally arrive at the county jail, a few miles from his luxury home in Las Vegas, to serve 87 days for assault. This Saturday he will make $30m (£18.4m) when he fights Miguel Angel Cotto inside the MGM in Las Vegas, which has been the venue for modern boxing's most memorable nights.

Mayweather is officially the sport's most popular fighter with astonishing pay-per-view sales, including his share from beating Oscar De La Hoya in 2007, which generated $134m in PPV alone; De La Hoya is the king of PPV, with a total of $610m generated from his 18 PPV fights. De La Hoya, by the way, promotes Saturday's fight.

In Las Vegas they are getting ready, with a dozen ballrooms on the strip converted into giant cinemas for the fight and as many as 40,000 tickets selling for $75 each. The MGM's Grand arena sold out before a ticket went on sale. The drop at the casino vaults – which is the real bottom line – will be heavy by dawn on Sunday morning and that is why Mayweather's prison sentence was delayed a couple of months: May is a boxing month and nobody wanted to see the little saviour of this sport incarcerated during the boom month. His victim, Josie Harris, mother to two of his kids, is understood not to have objected when the sentence was deferred for the good of the city's economy. Trust me, I'm not inventing this.

It is, however, a terrific fight in prospect and not just the biggest so far this year – it also has the potential to be a little bit special. Mayweather is certainly a bit special even if at times his ego rules his senses and he talks nonsense. He wanted Barack Obama and rapper 50 Cent to walk him to the ring, has placed himself above Muhammad Ali in a list of greats and openly abuses his father with outrages of pure hate that inspire chuckles from his entourage. The men he pays handsomely to say "yes" neglect their duty too often and really should pull him back on occasion.

Mayweather's excesses away from the ring have traditionally been overlooked because of his outstanding ability inside the ring, and there appears no end to the fascination that the sporting public has with him. Amazingly, he has fought only seven times in six years and with each tiny sabbatical, which incidentally he spends in his own secret gym, his popularity has soared. The landscape of adoration would be different if an alternative boxing idol had emerged in America in the last decade but Mayweather, in many ways, is the last American idol left fighting.

"I'm old-school in every way," said Mayweather, who is now 35. "I belong with the greats, I can walk with them. I study the game and I belong with all the sport's greatest fighters." Mayweather is unbeaten in 42 fights and has won world titles at five different weights.

The last time that Mayweather fought he connected with a legal sucker punch to leave Victor Ortiz in dreamland. It was a brutal reminder that, behind the perfect smile and appearances on the American version of Strictly, there lurked a ruthless fighter; the prison sentence followed a couple of months later to shatter the mirage of respectability. Mayweather will never be adored like De La Hoya, a fighter who is now battling the demons of cocaine addiction and a flirtation with cross-dressing step-by-step, but he rules an expanding flock of fans. Both Mayweather and De La Hoya refuse to have documented the millions of dollars that they annually donate to charities.

On Saturday, Mayweather will need one of his finest displays to beat Cotto in a fight without any damaging clauses limiting the weight of either boxer. Cotto's big loss to Mayweather's nemesis, Manny Pacquiao, happened in a fight where Cotto was made to lose weight. The light-middleweight division suits Cotto and is a genuine added risk for Mayweather, but he is clearly relishing the challenge. He is, as he says, "old-school".

Mayweather v Cotto is live on BoxNation (Sky channel 456)

News
people
Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam