By now, most people who care know as much about Floyd Mayweather Jr. as they’ll ever need to know, thanks to the reality TV shows he stars in for every big fight.
There’s the fleet of exotic cars in three different cities, and the mansion where Mayweather and his entourage hang out. Rappers and other boxers drop in occasionally, and on payday Mayweather hands out stacks of $100 bills to the considerable number of people in his employ.
It’s big, flashy, and about as real as reality TV gets. But as Mayweather prepares for Saturday night’s fight against undefeated Mexican star Canelo Alvarez, we’ve learned even more.
Mayweather has a nickname, too, though it’s different than the one he had when he first started boxing professionally 17 years ago. He was Pretty Boy Floyd then, before America discovered him as the villain they would pay to watch and before he had the cars and the mansion on a golf course. He’s Money May now, and he’s the highest paid athlete in the country. On Saturday night he’ll make at least $41 million to fight Alvarez, bringing his take for the year in two fights to a whopping $73 million.
That’s a lot of cheeseburgers, and a lot of handbags. But Mayweather earns it because he has delivered wins in all 44 of his fights. People who don’t like him will pay to see if he’ll lose, and his fans will reach into their pockets to cheer him on for another win.
The pay-per-view will cost a record $75 this time, leading promoters to boast that this could be the richest fight ever, surpassing the 2007 bout between Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya. That may or may not happen, but the idea that Alvarez might be the one fighter with the stuff to finally beat Mayweather has made this one of the most anticipated fights in years.
Mayweather was a less-than-fashionable 37 minutes late to the final prefight press conference Wednesday at the MGM Grand hotel casino, not that it mattered. It was such a low-key affair that even those on the dais seemed to want to be somewhere else. “I’ve been here before. I know what it takes,” Mayweather said. “I was born to be here, born to be at this level.”
Oddsmakers make Mayweather a 2½-1 favorite against Alvarez, the 23-year-old redhead who is Mexico’s biggest sporting hero. He’s undefeated in 42 fights, but the level of his competition is nowhere near that of Mayweather and he will be fighting at a catch weight of 152 pounds, 2 pounds below the 154-pound mark where he holds his title belts.
“I’ve studied a lot of his fights,” Alvarez said. “I’m not just ready, I’m ready to win.”
Mayweather’s whopping guarantee is made possible by pay-per-view sales, and ringside seats that sell for $2,000. Still, promoters say they hope to get near the 2 million mark from pay TV,, helped largely by the Hispanic market backing Alvarez.
In the end, though, it is Mayweather who is the star of this fight, just as he has been for almost every fight of his career. “I feel like I’m the last of my breed,” Mayweather said.