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)

VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
Ricky Gervais at a screening of 'Muppets Most Wanted' in London last month
tvRicky Gervais on the return of 'Derek' – and why he still ignores his critics
Sport
Luis Suarez of Liverpool celebrates his goal
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Homer meets Lego Marge in the 25th anniversary episode of The Simpsons, set to air on 4 May
tv
Arts & Entertainment
James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men on Broadway
theatreReview: Of Mice and Men, Longacre Theatre
Life & Style
Infant child breast-feeding with eyes closed
healthTo stop mummy having any more babies, according to scientists
News
news
Life & Style
Going down: Google's ambition to build an elevator into space isn't likely to be fulfilled any time soon
techTechnology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Arts & Entertainment
film
News
David Cameron sings a hymn during the enthronement service of The Most Rev Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury, at Canterbury Cathedral last year
news
Life & Style
From long to Jong: Guy Pewsey gets the North Korean leader's look
fashionThe Independent heads to an Ealing hairdressers to try out the North Korean dictator's trademark do
Extras
indybest10 best smartphones
Arts & Entertainment
tvCreator Vince Gilligan sheds light on alternate endings
Life & Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 63rd anniversary of the Peak District National Park
tech
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal